We’re still walking. Utah is still surprising us every day.
After staying in Bicknell (and scouring the map for two days) we walked up and over a plateau of open range, full of twisting dirt roads and possible wrong turns. Everything turned out better than expected, and we came out the other side two days later into the tiny town of Antimony.
In Antimony, we met a group of brothers from Holland, camping in an RV during their yearly elk hunting trip. Two of the brothers live in Cedar City, and the rest come over every year for the trip. Marty told me that he has been coming over for 20 years, and has never shot a thing. They gave us beer and a fresh perspective on politics – and how we’re pretty much screwed all across the world. Their candid and welcoming attitude was very refreshing.
That was also the day I had a horrible headache. And I got stung by a yellow jacket. And then I walked my shin into a metal pole the next day. Fun.
Also, it got a lot colder at night. We slept poorly and woke up to frost and frozen water for three nights. As we passed through Circleville, a couple of locals told us that once we got up and over Dixie National Forest to Cedar City, the temp would be 10-20 degrees warmer. We hoped that was true, and tried to walk faster.
I can’t really find the words for the beauty of camping in the sage brush. In some places, it grows up bushy and high like a forest, and stretches out in all directions. It smells AMAZING. Well, the leaves and flowers smell amazing. The wood smells like a turd on fire when you light it…on…fire.
Our walk up and over Dixie National Forest was a great day. The valley is wide and beautiful, all blue peaks and yellow-green sage. We walked through Bear Valley, marveling at the landscape and appreciating the great weather. We found ourselves on a section of the Old Spanish Trail – a network of old east-west trade routes. As we made our way up and over and out of the valley, the rock and foliage changed abruptly, back to the crumbly red and evergreen we have seen so much of in this state. Max and Jenny ran wild up and down the road. All. Day. We humans walked 25 miles that day, but those two probably ran an extra 5-10 just because they felt like it. Even Grace ran and played while she thought no one was looking.
At one point, Max and Jenny dropped down a steep bank to the creek below for a drink and cool down. When we called them, Jenny sprang right up the steep bank, but Max couldn’t quite make it. He stood sadly at the bottom while we called encouragement at him, and suddenly I dropped my trusty Tilley hat down into the creek. I tried to get Max to bring it up to me, but he just sad-stood in place. I did a ninja slide down the bank, which of course ended with me standing in the creek. With wet boots and muddy hat in hand, I led Max on the treacherous climb back up to the road.
We camped the night in Parowan, before heading out to Cedar City the next day. We passed the Cedar Bowling Alley and Kait said, “we need to do something fun.” She ducked in, and came back out with 4 free passes donated by the owner. We walked on to the local KOA, before doubling back in the car for some good old recreation. We all suck at bowling.
After a good night’s rest, we took the mutts over to Emeritus at Emerald Pointe Assisted Living for a therapy visit. We socialized with residents in their common area, and told them stories from the road, while the dogs worked their magic and charmed everyone.
Today, we walk out of Cedar City with the goal of reaching St. George in 3 days. From there, we have a very exciting detour planned. We are going to pile into the car and drive to Kanab, to spend a day volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. If you don’t know about Best Friends, check them out. They are doing amazing work, and we are very excited to help in our own small way. More updates coming soon.