Turning right from the exit of Kodachrome Basin, it was probably 2
miles before luckily saw from the corner of my eye the turnoff for Sheep
Creek Flat Road. The first 5 miles of this dirt road were quite
challenging and as the sun was finishing it’s last duties for the day, I
was getting more concerned. I guesstimated my return trip would be
slightly longer than the 35+miles and 90 minutes it has taken to drive
Cottonwood Creek road.
After 45 minutes I came across a family of men hauling dead
firewood….friendly enough and they confirmed that eventually I would
make it back to highway 89 on this road. After forever and then some, I
finally arrived at a “T” which I had not seen on a touristy map handout
and opted to go right. Now, my gas gauge told me I had about 60 miles
left and I felt confident I was close but still not signs, no lights
and no traffic.
This part of the road was still dirt but even so I was able to clip
along averaging 25-40mph which seems like I was hauling ass. It was
dark and the full moon had not offered up any of it’s illuminance yet.
As my fuel gauge was going down I was starting to panic. At this point
I thought maybe my turning right was the wrong turn and I now was
showing 20 miles left. I flagged down another truck of people with
Montana plates and they said I was also going in the right direction to
get to highway 89 and it was about 15 miles away. It turns out my right
turn got me driving northwest to 89 instead of southwest which would
have led me into Kanab. Instead, I got off the dirt road in Glendale
with a huge sign of relief as I filled up the gas tank in Orderville. I
am a veteran of road tripping and finding my way but I was a tad shaken up realizing that if I had run out of gas out in the middle of nowhere with no phone – I would have been jacked up big time!
Grabbing a quick meal at the Thunderbird Lodge at Carmel Junction, I
could hardly wait to get back to my little “home” of a comfortable cot
and tent and solid night of sleep. I was a little bummed as though I
had grabbed some snapshots, I had not tapped the home-run calendar shot
yet…Driving slower across highway 9 into Zion (deer populations are
rising as are the road kills), once I got through the Zion tunnel, I was
feeling a little bit of inspiration.