Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Back to nature
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
BEAVER, UT – Exactly two months ago today, we left on our wonderful holiday. Today, as we left Las Vegas, we began our journey back home to Ottawa. I can’t exactly say we were sorry to leave the glitz and glamour of the big city, although we enjoyed it thoroughly. But once we were out on the open road again, with wide desert plains and distant mountains and a big blue sky over our heads, it felt great.
We headed north on Highway 15, toward the northeast corner of Nevada and then clipped Arizona for a 20-mile stretch before entering Utah. At Littlefield, just into Utah, the mountains were no longer distant; in fact, it looked like we were going to drive straight into them, until the highway entered a long, curving pass with high rocky walls on either side.
Each turn in the road revealed new vistas of mountains, striped with sedimentary layers and varying in colour. As the pass descended, we caught sight of a muddy brown torrent coursing at the bottom of the ravine, the Virgin River that feeds into the northern end of Lake Mead.
When we got out the other side, the desert scenery changed to agricultural plains with more mountains in the distance, some of which were capped with snow. Fragile wildflowers billowed in the wind by the roadside in clumps of orange and yellow, and there were some expanses of pale purple in the grassy fields beyond.
We passed signs for Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, but we had to postpone visits to those spots for a future time. We can’t see it all! Besides, it will give us something to look forward to in addition to the sites we hope to revisit from this trip.
When we left Las Vegas it was already a warm 72 degrees, but by the time we got through the pass, it was down to the high sixties. It will undoubtedly continue to get cooler as we travel eastward. Tonight we will resume our freeze-proofing exercise, turning off the water and draining the taps before we go to bed. Those hot, summery days are with us no longer – at least till summer hits Ottawa.
Beaver, Utah is a small town of just over 2,000 people, and it’s the birthplace of Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of television, and Butch Cassidy of cowboy outlaw fame. Our campground is lovely, with tall trees, spacious sites and the snow-capped Tushar mountains to the east as a backdrop. There are some dark clouds on the horizon and the wind has picked up. We’re hearing rolls of thunder as well, so we might get a few raindrops overnight. No problem, the truck could use a wash anyway.