Utah 2013

Utah 2013 Day 1: OC to Kayenta

Monday August 12, 2013

One day Daniel was looking at a map and said we should visit Bryce Canyon National Park. I mentioned back that I wanted to visit Arches National Park, also in Utah, and we devised a plan to visit the “Mighty 5” National Parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. Looking at the map we decided to head for Arches first and then work our way back to California. One thing we had to consider is that we had limited time for the trip and we wanted to avoid the busy weekends during the summer to limit crowds.

Heading east on I-40 in Arizona

We set off before dawn around 5am and picked up Daniel’s mom who was going to join us for the trip. Since we were driving in Daniel’s Prius, he got the first shift of driving. Around 9am we pulled into a gas station off of I-40 near Essex, CA for a pit stop and to switch drivers. I took over behind the wheel and we set course for Arizona. Around 11am we arrived in Kingman, AZ and stopped at the Cracker Barrel restaurant. We ate lunch there and did a little bit of shopping (Daniel’s mom loves the country home aesthetic) and before long we were back on the road.

The Road to Kayenta from Flagstaff

A couple hours later and we were in Flagstaff and stopped at the local Wal-Mart to pick up supplies. Since we were going to be in some remote areas we stocked up on water and snacks for the ice chest and then resumed our drive to Kayenta. I had been on this route before back in 2003 with my parents when we went to Monument Valley so I knew the route fairly well. We reached Kayenta around 6 in the evening and over a quick bite to eat decided to try and get to Monument Valley before sunset.

West Mitten Butte in Monument Valley

We had planned on visiting Monument Valley tomorrow, but were excited to get some sunset photos. The area did not disappoint as we managed to get some great photos from the visitor center before the sunset. Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel the Wetherill Inn and crashed for the evening. After the long drive we were all exhausted, but wanted to make sure we got up fairly early tomorrow for the drive to Moab.