This post will cover travel on the first day and a half of another Grand Canyon adventure. My travel is from Calgary, Alberta to my first staging location in Panguitch, Utah. 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. I am doing this trip solo and leave Calgary at 3:15 AM.
After passing Great Falls, Montana, I approach the land of buttes, mesas and mountains. 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 colour and texture created by light, trees, brush, grass and rock.
Continuing south over the Continental Divide, I roll through Butte, Silver and Dillon. The drive over 6,870 ft. Monida Pass takes me into the flat, stark, high-desert terrain of northern Idaho on highway as straight as an arrow.
There is time to walk both sides of the downtown, scenic, green belt area along the Snake River, to enjoy the beautiful gardens and the impressive Mormon Temple which dominates the skyline.
I leave Idaho Falls at 5:25 AM to continue south on I-15 in the darkness of nearly empty express-way before stopping at 6:00 AM in Pocatello for breakfast. At 6:45 I’m back on the road at sunrise and driving alternatively in sun and cloud. There are huge lightning storms in front and to both sides of me. When rainbows appear against a clearing sky, I am compelled to stop for pictures.
The journey becomes increasingly rolling and rock-bound, like a slow motion roller coaster and as I pass over the Malad Pass north of Salt Lake City, the great corridor of national forests and tall, magnificent mountains to the east will be my companion for the rest of today’s drive. I stop in Beaver, Utah for gas.
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