Tuesday, June 1st ‑ Salt Lake City, UT to Kanab, UT
In order to avoid the morning commuter traffic, we were on the road by 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Our ride would take us south on Interstate 15 for several hours. About 50 miles south of Provo, we stopped in Nephi, Utah, for a good old country-style breakfast at Lisa's Country Kitchen Restaurant. I discovered that western biscuits are not the same as southern biscuits! You simply cannot get a biscuit to rise when you are cooking them at 6,000 feet elevation.
We continued south on I-15, with the posted speed limit varying between 75 mph and 80 mph. At those speeds, you can cover a lot of distance and we were able to travel the 315 miles from Salt Lake City to Hurricane, Utah in about five hours driving time. We reached Hurricane, Utah, around mid-day and stopped for a sandwich before heading into Zion National Park. Because of the number of annual visitors, and the fact that the park is essentially one road that extends into a canyon, the National Park Service runs a shuttle bus ferries visitors into and out of the canyon. Unfortunately, my pictures cannot portray how beautiful the canyon was.
One especially interesting spot was the Weeping Rock. This was a cliff where water was dripping out of the cliff side. Rain percolates through the sandstone layers at the top, until the water encounters a layer of shale. The shale forces the water to travel laterally until it reaches the edge of the cliff , where it rains down on the area below. The dripping water has allowed for a variety of plant life to grow on the nearly vertical rocks. It looked like a sort of Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
After touring Zion National Park, we continued westward on UT 9, through an approximately one mile tunnel that was built as part of the WPA projects of the 1930s. For safety reasons, they only allow traffic to pass through the tunnel one-way at a time. Emerging from the tunnel, we passed some amazing sandstone formations where you could see all types of folding of the rock layers. Unfortunately, there were limited safe spots to pull of the road to take pictures of them.
Later, we turned onto US 89 toward Kanab. Along the way, we stopped along the highway to admire the scenery.