Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
The day after the Antelope Canyon I woke up early and rushed to Kanab. The sky was amazing, and I made a quick detour through lake Powell for the sunrise. It took me more than an hour to reach my destination from the town of Page. The office, where the Wave lottery is conducted, is right at the beginning of the town of Kanab. I arrived at 8:20 and was happy to see not so many cars outside of the tourist information center – more chances of winning. Sadly, some more people arrived and in the end, the room was full. More than 50 people hoping to get one of the 10 available spots.
I filled in an application and received my number. All participants were informed that the permit, we are applying for, will be valid only for the next day. I didn’t win which surprised me because I consider myself very lucky. I decided that the early waking up and the absence of coffee have messed with my powers. I decided to give it a try again the next day when you try your chances in three different days, because the office is not working during the weekend. The next day was also my birthday, so in my understandings, you get the support of the Universe as well (:.
There is so much to see in the area – that even with a whole day ahead I was confused what to choose. I was, however, limited by the type of my automobile. Apparently, you need a 4x4 vehicle to go to many of the places. For starters, I headed to the Toadstool Hoodoos. Easily reachable and at the same time rewarding, they are only 20 minutes away from the Hwy 89.
I spent some time at the visitor center and got a map of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Not so many of the attraction can be found on Google Maps. I also had a cursory discussion with the rangers, which helped me a lot with choosing the roads where I will be driving. I ended up driving on a gravel road and crossing some rivers with my minivan, but I didn’t stick in the sand. That was the goal for the day. I quite enjoyed the water splashing when I was crossing the rivers, but I don’t think my Kia Sedona enjoyed it so much.
I visited Lick Wash, Bull Valley Gorge, and Willis Creek. The road to Cannonville from Willis Creek was recently remade (January 2017) and it is possible to reach the town without having to drive all the gravel road back. In both, Lick Wash and Willis Creek canyons the water in the river was frozen. I had to walk on the ice and I found it very amusing. Walking on the river is akin to ice skating. It is not nice to hear the sound of cracking ice, but there wasn’t so much water anyway (:.
I was told that to reach Bull Valley Gorge you need a special climbing gear, which wasn’t exactly true. If you walk on the trailhead until the gorge becomes not so deep, there is a point where you can enter. You won’t be able to walk the whole path down, but you can explore the beginning of the canyon and get back the same way out. Don’t go inside if you suffer from claustrophobia. I was hoping to see the famous stuck car there, but I didn’t manage to reach it, so I guess you probably need some ropes after all.
If you decide to go to Cannonville, the best thing to do on the next day would be visiting Bryce Canyon. I visited it at the beginning of my road trip, but it remained one of the highlights of my journey until the end.
I went back to Kanab hoping to win the Wave lottery on the next day and make my dream visiting one of the most incredible places on the Earth come true. Join me for that journey (:
All pictures are mine, except the ones I am visible. Those are someone’s else.
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