After leaving Homolovi Ruins State Park, we headed north to Bluff, my favorite town in southeast Utah. We had planned to camp at a BLM campground on the banks of the San Juan River, but rain, rain and more rain had turned the site into a quagmire of mud and muck. So instead of cheap, off-the-grid camping we ended up at the Cottonwood RV Park in downtown Bluff.
Being in Bluff meant that dinner would have to be Navajo tacos, which consist of beans, salad fixings and cheese atop a fry bread bed. There are two places in the neighborhood to get decent Navajo tacos. The closest choice, the restaurant at the Twin Rocks Trading Post, was closed. There was a big Navajo event in Shiprock, so the owner gave his Indian staff the day off so they could attend.
That meant we would have to drive 20+ miles down to Mexican Hat and get dinner at the Olde Bridge Grille located in the San Juan Inn. The commute gave us the opportunity to photograph the cliffs and clouds as the storm broke.
The next morning, as research for a Utah Life story, we talked to and bought a t-shirt from the folks about the Bears Ears National Monument at the Friends of Cedar Mesa information center.
From there we headed north for a four-night stay in Capitol Reef, my favorite Utah national park. I needed to do some final research about the pies the Natural History Association sells for an upcoming Utah Life story about the park. Eating pies for as story research is tough work, but I do it because my readers need to know.
Besides pigging out on pies, we had hoped to drive south along the length of the Waterpocket Fold through the park, but the road is dirt and the rangers advised us that it would not be a good thing to do after the rain. So we stayed in the main Fruita area and squeezed in a few short hikes.
Our next destination is the Grand Canyon North Rim where we have a premium, rim-side campsite for four nights. On the way there, we stopped for two nights at Utah’s Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. I envisioned a nice, quiet state park formed to protect the sand dunes. That’s not what we got. Ninety percent of the park is open to ATVs, and they were out buzzing around the dunes like a swarm of locusts devouring a wheat field.
To escape the dune drivers, we fled to Zion National Park and hiked a few miles up the East Rim Trail where we saw only a handful of fellow trail traipsers. It was then back to camp where we followed dinner up with yet another Capitol Reef pie we brought out with us, all in the name of research.