USA 3 – Utah’s remote wilderness….The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

May 2014 – In 1996, Grand Staircase Escalante became Utah’s newest National Monument.  Located on the Colorado Plateau, this huge and remote area in Southern Utah, spans nearly 1.9 million acres of sandstone canyons, plateau, colourful cliffs and unique sandstone formations.  Summer temperatures can soar to over 100 degrees F, and in the winter, can be below freezing.

Millions of years ago, this area teemed with dinosaurs and since 2000, numerous dinosaur fossils have been unearthed, including sea creatures that once lived in the ancient seas that covered this landscape……hard to imagine!

From Arizona we cross the State border into Utah and take a dirt road off Interstate 89, which takes us through this remote and rugged terrain.

 

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Grosvenor Arch is well worth a visit, slowly carved by wind and rain and set high atop majestic, pink sandstone cliffs.  Originally called Butler Arch by early settlers, it was renamed Grosvenor Arch in 1947 by a National Geographic expedition.

 

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It’s a slippery climb to the top but we are rewarded with magnificent, far reaching views.

 

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Even in this dry, desert environment, it’s still amazing to discover that delicate and colourful plant life can still survive, as well as more hardy plants that help shape the landscape.

 

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We meet Linda and Scott here, also admiring the Arches and have an interesting chat.  Many thanks for the information on Death Valley that we hope to visit in the near future and in particular for the North American Road Atlas, which we know will come in very useful.

A local guy also arrives in his pickup, his guns in the back.  He tells us of how in the winter he was out here hunting, saw a bobcat in the snow and took aim but then decided to film it instead.  Not sure how he could even think of shooting such a beautiful and rarely seen animal and it’s difficult to get our heads around the freedom of being able to own so many guns and the shooting of wildlife unless it is for survival.

We find camping here for a few days at a KOA campground at Cannonville in the Bryce Valley so that we can also catch up with many necessary jobs and watch the sunsets lighting up the cliffs of the nearby Grand Staircase Escalante.   Our next visit will be to Bryce Canyon and from the many pictures and photographs that we have seen it will surely once again, have some stunning scenery.

 

 

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