Dirt Roads & a Hole in the Rock

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At first glance, Hole-in-the-Rock appears unworthy of the bone-jarring miles you’ve traversed. But close-up it’s immense, and the magnitude of the project boggles the mind. While walking up Hole-in-the-Rock, Lake Powell emerges and you begin to understand the fortitude required to skid 80 wagons down this ravine. George, Sam, Lucy, and I hiked down, helping each other along the way. It’s steep and filled with boulders so you have to hang off to find footing. I was intrigued by chisel marks on the rock and the spectacular view, and we saw wagon wheel tracks carved into rock. We were over halfway on our hike but the going got steeper and the trail vanished. We settled for a picture.

On Friday, Phil, George and I went home while the others continued to explore. We took Utah 12 west to Cannonville, stopping at the GSENM Visitor Center there to ask directions to Cottonwood Road. That’s another adventure story, except one excerpt I’ll relay here.

The Visitor Center lady suggested we take in Grosvenor Arch. “It’s only a mile back and it’s beautiful,” she said. We got to the turn-off plenty early, so we cruised up the road to the dirt lot and parked next to a juniper tree and the outhouse. The weather was warm, my windows were down and when I stopped, I noticed bees hovering around the windshield and coming inside. Not a few bees, a LOT of bees!

My instinct was to move the Jeep, and I would have but as I saw my hand reaching for the shifter, it was covered with bees. They were in my hair too, so I freaked out and abandoned ship! Imagine this: my Jeep had been started and was running, the driver’s door was open, the windows were down, and there were bees everywhere. In it, on it, and on us!

I yelled, “Bees! Bees! Phil, move your Jeep.” He hurried to the road, and ran back, saying, “Diane, they’re all over you!” George said my back was teeming and started swatting me with a towel. We were at a loss, and everyone was afraid to approach the Cherokee. Then I developed a plan: George would wear Phil’s sweatshirt and gloves, drape the towel over his head, get in the Jeep, and MOVE IT! He suited-up, mustered his courage, jumped in, and with his left foot dangling out the door, he drove down the road. As he exited the parking lot, a wide-eyed family pulled in. No telling what their thoughts where when they saw this big, hooded, bee-toweled thing hanging half-way out of a moving Jeep but their SUV didn’t slowdown as they rounded the parking lot back out to the road. Soon the bees lost interest and left, and I ran back to photograph the arch.

Why an atlas would include dirt roads in Utah but omit two-lane roads is beyond me. But discovery of Hole-in-the-Rock, and the reconnaissance that ensued, justified my purchase and we’re already planning another trip next spring.

Related – A Trip to the Maze

* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

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