Return to Kanab – Outsiders Part 1

Great Basin Highway by David Scott.

In April, Liddy and I drove the one thousand miles to Kanab, Utah, to attend the Outsiders Photographers Conference. This would be the reboot of the conference that was cancelled by the outbreak of COVID-19 last March. Unlike last year where I purchased an overnight tour to Ahlstrom Point, this year we had no commitments beyond the conference. The goal was to go, learn, and enjoy the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and other nearby locations like Bryce Canyon National Park.

We were away for two weeks and had a lot of fun. Because we had had the opportunity to explore the wider area last year, we focused on some that we thought bore closer inspection and avoided some of the more popular locations we got to last year.

In this post I will share with you some images and thoughts captured on our way south through Oregon, Nevada, and Utah. Please, come along for the ride, and let us know what your experiences have been in these places.

Oregon

As seems to be the case lately, we were late getting away. The plan was to leave on the morning of April 13th, a Tuesday. We did get away on the 13th, but not until late afternoon. We were waiting for my EF100-400 lens to return from Canon. I had sent it out to be cleaned and serviced.

Anyway, because of our late departure, we were not able to take quite as leisurely a drive as planned. Instead of spending Tuesday night at Summer Lake, we camped by the Deschutes River in the Pelton Dam Turn Around near Warm Springs on US 26.

Volcanos by David Scott.
Between Madras and Bend Oregon, driving on US 97, you can see all of the big peaks: Mt Bachelor; The Sisters; Mount Washington; Three Fingered Jack; Mount Jefferson; Mount Wilson; and Mount Hood

Wednesday morning found us having breakfast in Madras and refueling in Bend before turning east towards Burns and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

US 20, The View West by David Scott.
Near Brothers Oregon, looking west towards Bend. In the background, Mt Bachelor, the Sisters, and Mt Washington

We skirted the east edge of Malheur. I had wanted to drive through, but we were running behind.

Steens Hwy by David Scott.
Oregon SR 78, the Steens Highway is a very picturesque drive through eastern Oregon. Here the highway passes through low hills giving us a wonderful view of the Steen Wilderness in the distance. Combine that with the great cloud patterns… A gorgeous view!

As you can see from these photos we were blessed with dry roads and great scenery.


Nevada

Leaving Oregon, into Nevada was a bit deceptive as the signs were small, and there was only a small weigh station on US 95, and it was off to the east. We continued south to Winnemucca, turning east on I 85 after topping up the tank. It’s wise to keep the tank topped up when travelling these highways as it can be over one hundred miles between services – oh and that includes cell phone coverage too.

Sonoma Peak by David Scott.
Heading south on US 95 into Winnemucca Nevada. Sonoma Peak towers high above the town.

From Winnemucca, we followed I 85 east to NV 304 south to Austin. The night was spent at the Bob Scott Campground which is situated at the top of a 7,200-foot pass on US 50. This was a nice spot that is worth remembering.

Sunrise on the Loneliest Highway by David Scott.
Driving east on US 50, the Lincoln Highway. Here in Nevada the highway is characterized as “The Loneliest Highway”. This mid-April morning, we dropped down from the mountain pass in time for sunrise coupled with a cloud inversion in the valley bottom.

We were up before sunrise and rolled out of the mountains to find a layer of clouds covering the valley floor. Above is one of my favorite photos from the trip.

Breakfast was at a rest stop somewhere about an hour east of here (Bean Flat Rest Area I think it was). It was cold. At the campground, it was below freezing when we left. Had to scrape the frost from the window so I wasn’t going to make breakfast until we found a warmer spot.

Snow Squall by David Scott.
Living in the South Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest, we don’t get much weather – rain and sunshine mainly. It’s also mountainous. Not a lot of wide-open spaces. So, when we saw these snow squalls sweeping across the valley, we thought they were quite impressive. Showing off another facet to this beautiful barren landscape.

As we drove, I thought we were going to be engulfed in one of these squalls that we could see out across the valley. Our luck held however, and we enjoyed clear, safe roads.

From in Ely, we picked up US 93, heading south to the village of Panaca where we turned east again onto NV 319.

Grafton Wilderness by David Scott.
A snow squall blows north revealing the mountains of the Grafton Wilderness in eastern Nevada.

US 93 is called the Great Basin Highway. It gets its name from a large hydrological formation that contains most of Nevada, Southeast Oregon and parts of California and Utah. More on that in a later post.


Utah

As I said, we headed east from Panaca on NV 319. NV 319 became UT 56 which put us into Cedar City. A large town on I 15.

Top up the tank, enjoy an ice cream cone and onward; this time on UT 14, the Cedar Canyon Highway.

Cedar Canyon Cliffs by David Scott.
This is near the entrance to Cedar Breaks National Monument which would have been a destination on our trip except it would not be open for another month. Something about snow in these higher elevations.

Cedar Canyon has a lot of places to stop visit and enjoy, at the top is the Cedar Breaks National Monument which was closed as there was still too much snow up here. May 15th is the opening date I believe.

Zion View Weather by David Scott.
Looking south from the vantage of UT 14, the Cedar Highway, you can enjoy great vistas south to Zion National Park, or snow squalls passing across the valley floor.

Near the top of the pass is Zion Canyon View where you can look south into Zion National Park. I enjoyed watching the weather blow across the gap below us.

Curious Pronghorns by David Scott.
Now this was a totally unexpected opportunity. As we travelled east on UT 14, near Navajo Lake, these Pronghorns were hanging out in the middle of the road. Needless to say we pulled over. While we were parked they became curious and came close to our Prius which got Liddy a bit excited. Meanwhile, I’m halfway through changing lenses so I missed some really nice opportunities.

The story behind these pronghorns is explained well enough in the caption.

Butt Shot by David Scott.
Once excited, Liddy’s herding drive kicks in and she creates quite a fuss. No, she wasn’t out of the car chasing the herd of Pronghorns, but they decided not to hang about in case she did get after them. Fat chance she would have of catching these guys. Fast as she was in her younger days, Pronghorns are way faster and such a pleasure to watch.

Pronghorn were on my list of critters for this trip. I’m sorry I wasn’t prepared when we happened upon this herd, but there will be other times and while I can’t share more with you, I did get to enjoy them.

Bryce Canyon Teaser by David Scott.
Utah 14 descends down from Cedar Breaks to US 89. I really enjoyed the way the light played against these cliffs on the east side of the valley. They stand up there teasing you and encouraging you to continue north on 89 into Bryce Canyon National Park.

Eventually UT 14 reaches US 89 and you have to choose: north to Bryce, south to Zion and Kanab. As our conference was in Kanab, that was the way we chose to go.

It was great to check in to our hotel, unload the Prius, have a shower and enjoy a king size bed.


On the map

I like to remember where I was when I take a shot.
Clicking on a thumbnail will open the image in the lightbox. Unfortunately, the meta-data will not show like it does for images referenced in the main post.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: