Heading out of Williams, Arizona we take Route 89N (through Flagstaff) towards Page, passing by beautiful painted desert scenery bordered on the east by a huge Navajo reservation. We’re heading to Hurricane, Utah and eventually to Zion National Park.
Today we pass by completely deserted towns and extremely flat landscapes, as we venture into the “painted desert”. According to Britannica.com the name “painted desert” was coined in the late 1850s by a government explorer to describe the vivid bands of red, yellow, blue, white and lavender that mark the various deposits of minerals in the area. The Painted Dessert covers 160 miles and encompasses 93,500 acres in the Four Corners region of the USA, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah share a common border.
Following 89N we headed towards Navajo Bridge which rises over the Marble Canyon. The bridge was a great place to stop and get out, stretch our legs and take some photos. The Colorado River flowed emerald green below us. A small interpretive center and gift shop beckoned us, very nice. We pulled over for a roadside lunch outside of Marble Canyon, one of the many perks of traveling with our kitchen on our back.
Traveling now through Kaibab National Forest we pulled over for another photo break. There we met some folks from Wickford, Rhode Island who live half a year in Tucson and half a year in Wickford. He’s a photographer who shows his work at the annual Art Festival in Wickford…maybe we’ve seen his work during one of our many trips to the Festival?
We saw fires on the sides of the road – are they naturally occurring? Or are they managed by the Park Service authorities? Reaching Fredonia at around 3:30 pm (4:30 Utah time) we decided to soldier on for one more hour to reach Hurricane, Utah and the Willow Wind RV Park, a day ahead of schedule.