Pleasing Plateau Passage

“The landscape everywhere away from the river is of rock-cliffs of rock; plateaus of rock; terraces of rock; crags of rock; then thousand strangely carved forms.“ (John Wesley Powell)

We’re heading north through the high plateau region of Northern Arizona on our road trip today along U.S. route 89 and into Utah for our final destination at Springdale Utah, west of Zion National Park. Leaving the town of Flagstaff, we entered a mountainous region of dormant volcanic cones and craters. At Sunset Volcano Crater National Monument, we conducted a short walk amid a cinder cone region that remains heavily scarred and blackened by the latest lava blast that took place there 1,000 years ago. Passing east of the Grand Canyon, at higher elevations we stopped to photograph spectacular panoramas of the barren Marble Canyon plateau below dotted by deep river canyons and massive, horizontal mesas. As the Colorado River in the distance slowly came into view, we descended into Page, Arizona for a second time look at the geologic wonder of Horseshoe Bend. Turning west into Southern Utah, we passed through the rugged red rock region of Grand Staircase/Escalante National Park in Southwest Utah but in the interest of time, did not stop for a closer look. Turning onto route 9, our Zion entry would take place via its eastern entrance in late afternoon. Tomorrow , we will utilize the shuttle bus system from the Zion National Park Visitor Center to access designated hiking areas of interest.

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