An Adventure En Route to Flagstaff

From Pipe Springs, I returned to Utah so I could take route 89 through the southern edge of the Grand Staircase – Escalante Monument, an area famed for its beautiful multicoloured hills. I pulled over at an information sign that indicated that the ghost town of Pahreah and an abandoned movie set from the 1930s, as well as the Paria cemetery lay six miles away in an isolated valley. The sign warned that the road is only passable to high clearance vehicles in dry conditions. Well, this was certainly not something I could do with Miranda or my old toad, a subcompact Accent!

Off I went down the twisty clay road and it was good going at first, but the road became very twisty and steep. I came down one twisty slope into sandy and got the first niggle of worry that maybe my plan wasn’t such a good idea. This is the kind of feeling I was expecting to get on the Angel’s Landing hike, but never felt once. I continued on for a long while and finally got to something, a sign indicating that the ghost town lay ahead and that the old movie set had burned down and what’s there now are replicas. There was also, to my surprise, a clean pit toilet.

I continued on and found the cemetery. There were names and dates on a plaque, but all the gravestones were unmarked.

Shortly after the cemetery, there was a sign that said, ‘High clearance 4×4 vehicles strongly recommended beyond this point.’ The ugly feeling returned to my stomach with a vengeance. It was surprising to feel it there and not at all on the hike the other day. The scenery down into the valley had made the drive worthwhile and I made the decision to trust my gut. It was late and I didn’t even feel like walking the route to see what I might be getting myself into. I had to reverse almost a quarter mile before finding a place to turn around. I have no idea why the sign was placed where it was. 🙁

The trip back up was something! Sure enough, I came this close to getting stuck at the bottom of that steep sandy slope. It was really tricky because I had to make a run up the hill in very low gear and turn at the same time to avoid going over the edge of a cliff. After that, it was smooth going.

Even though I did not make it to the ghost town and movie set, I am very glad I took the detour! The scenery was so beautiful and I got to see what my truck is made of!

From there, I pushed on to Page where I got fuel and discovered that… someone stole my brand new gas cap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I bought fuel yesterday before going to Kolob Canyons and I most certainly remember putting my gas cap back on. I am not impressed. 🙁

Page has a really impressive dam. There was even places to park around it for photo ops.

From Page, route 89 was closed and I had to take a detour that was very, very, very slow going . I was glad when I reached Flagstaff as I was started to feel a little faint from hunger. I pulled into the Cracker Barrel at 5PM local time. BTW Arizona is like SK in that it does not change the clocks, so right now it’s on Pacific Time. Cracker Barrel is a guilty pleasure and this was only the second one I encountered on this trip. I enjoyed their apricot glazed pork chops with pecan wild rice, the special of the day, which made for an inexpensive meal.

It wasn’t even six when I got done with dinner and the evening stretched on ahead. I found a Starbucks where I did the last blog post, but didn’t realise that they closed at seven! I thought to go see a movie, but Flagstaff has only one cinema and there was nothing appealing playing. It was way too early to crawl into my bunk for the evening.

So I went to Walmart to kill some time and picked up some fleece pants since it’s going down to almost freezing tonight and all my warm PJs are in the laundry basket. Yes, it wouldn’t have killed me to wear smelly PJs tonight, but I could afford $8 for a clean new pair. 😉

From Walmart, I drove around for the better part of an hour looking for an overnight spot. Flagstaff has a dizzying amount of motels and hotels, but finding one that met my requirements took ages. I’m happy with what I found, although the train that passes frequently might be an issue.

I’m not sure what I’m doing tomorrow. There’s a few things in Phoenix that are of interest, so I might head there. There isn’t really anything around or in Flagstaff that I particularly want to stick around for, plus the weather here is quite cool since we’re at almost 7,000 feet of elevation and I put away most of my warm clothes! 🙂

Pipe Spring National Monument, Arizona

I left Hurricane just shy of 11:00 this morning, with no destination in mind. I pointed the truck towards Colorado City and from there pushed on towards Page. In less than an hour, I saw a sign announcing the Pipe Spring National Monument. I pulled off the highway and drove the 1/4 mile to the site to see what it was all about and found a museum, outdoor exhibits, and a guided tour of a fortified house that took up almost two hours! I was able to use my interagency pass to gain access.

Pipe Spring is essentially an oasis in the desert, a source of reliable water, but in insufficient quantity to build a settlement upon it. Paiute natives farmed, harvested, and hunted in this region for centuries. Mormon settlers grazed herds of tithing cattle and established an administrative post and telegraph station here. It was a busy, popular stop on the ‘honeymoon’ trail to St. George where Mormons would marry.

It was a very informational stop and I’m glad I pulled in!