A solo hiking mission in the American Southwest at Utah and Arizona, USA.
This post will cover travel on the first day and a half of another Grand Canyon adventure.
Travel begins from Calgary, Alberta to the first staging location in Panguitch, Utah, USA. Trip objectives are to hike Red Canyon in Utah, the Glen Canyon / Lake Powell area in north-eastern Arizona and new trails at the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
This adventure is being enjoyed solo. Calgary appears in the rear view mirror shortly after 3:15 AM. Past Great Falls, Montana, the land of buttes, mesas and mountains is bathed in the sunrise. The section of highway through the Big Belt Mountains and along the Missouri River is breathtakingly beautiful as the road rises and falls, twists and turns through impressive canyons past Little Prickly Pear Creek, the Montana state capitol of Helena, and Wolf Creek.
In this area, through Lewis and Clark and Teton Counties, there is a great deal of French influence from early pioneer exploration of the American West. The incredibly beautiful landscape is an infinite mosaic of changing color and texture created by light, trees, brush, grass and rock.
The journey continues south over the Continental Divide past Butte, Silver and Dillon. The drive over 6,870 ft. Monida Pass morphs into the flat, stark, high-desert terrain of northern Idaho on highway as straight as an arrow. The drive continues past the Camas National Wildlife Refuge, through massive lava fields to finish the first day's driving at 3:30 PM in Idaho Falls.
There is time to walk both sides of the downtown, scenic, green belt area along the Snake River, to enjoy beautiful gardens and the impressive Mormon Temple which dominates the skyline.
Departure from Idaho Falls begins at 5:25 AM to continue south on I-15 in darkness on the nearly empty express-way before stopping at 6:00 AM in Pocatello for breakfast. At 6:45 the drive south continues at sunrise through alternating sun and cloud. There are huge lightning storms ahead and to both sides. When rainbows appear against a clearing sky, it becomes important to stop along the expressway and capture photographs of surrounding dramatic weather.
The journey becomes increasingly rolling and rock-bound, like a slow motion roller coaster and as the journey to the desert passes over the Malad Pass north of Salt Lake City, where the great corridor of national forests and tall, magnificent mountains to the east will be a companion for the remainder of today's drive. The familiar stop in Beaver, Utah satisfies the car's need for more fuel.
At 1:30 PM, arrival in the very familiar and historic town of Panguitch, Utah is a welcome event experienced many times before and followed by reservations at the comfortable and historic Blue Pine Motel.
The temperature is 90 deg F.
Total return trip - Calgary to Grand Canyon to Calgary summary:
- Distance driven: 5,720 KM (3,575 miles)
- Distance hiked: 198 KM (123.8 miles)
- No. of trails hiked 36
- Photos taken: 1,062
Are you ready for the incredible terrain and hiking experiences in the American Southwest?
On the right margin of this blog's home page, scrolling down and selecting categories for Utah, Arizona and Grand Canyon will provide lists of the adventures for this trip.