I hate to ruin the magic of blogs for everyone, but my entries usually lag behind real life by about a week. Usually. As of late, it has been closer to two weeks. With this entry I am attempting to narrow this gap a bit more. We zoomed through northern Arizona. Yes, we had to give up the majesty of Saguaro and the southern sights; however, it was hot. Incredibly hot.
We stayed out at Vermilion Cliffs, where I ran (okay, I am out of shape these days—I trundled) by way up 2.2 miles of trail that ascended 1,700 feet. Along the way, I did the math and figured the average grade to be more than double that of my Pikes Peak marathons, which only made me feel a little better. I did not take my phone, but you can probably imagine that the views were worth the climb. We saw the famous Navaho Bridge, balancing rocks, and visited the orchard that somehow survives in the valley.
From there we barreled into Nevada on the I-15. Yes, we took the highway. Yes, the highways are still a rough go in a 43-year-old bus. Yes, we turned off the highway at the first opportunity and returned to our beloved side roads. These side roads in particular took us through the Lake Mead Recreation Area—a desolate and beautiful 60 miles of curves and passes and views galore.
But it was hot. So hot. The locals kept agreeing, saying, “Yeah, it’s warm. But it’ll get warmer!” Warmer. It’s like saying that the lava pools in Hell are slightly more than tepid. We were roasting. We attempted to drive in Las Vegas to see the glitz and glamor, but between my ever shortening patience and the gridlock of traffic, we just needed to leave. So we turned tail and made haste for California. For Death Valley in particular.