We left Pocatello facing sunny skies and headed to Salt Lake City. Now the road from Pocatello to Ogden Utah is a mountain road – I would not suggest doing it at night in the winter. Very slippery patches, gusting winds and snow covered lanes make it rather tricky. In the daylight we had no problem and arrived in Salt Lake City in a couple of hours after leaving Pocatello. The coolest thing about Salt Lake is that you can see Temple Square from the highway and it is quite an imposing building. The drive from Pocatello to Salt Lake is stunning. Snow capped peaks and at this time of year everything was coated with a thick layer of snow and frost. The deciduous trees were stunning with a sparkling layer of hoar frost, the pine shrubs and bushes looked nearly edible as the thick snow looked like royal icing – the type that coats gingerbread villages at Christmas. With tea and snack in hand I felt like I was sitting on the sofa watching Frame or a National Geographic travel show – the sun brought up stunning clarity and colour to each and every living thing. I was riveted and thankful to have witness such overwhelming beauty. This display lasted until Salt Lake City and the temple was my last glimpse of such overwhelming beauty because for the rest of the day we watched an epic battle unfold. At Salt Lake City a wall of low cloud descended bringing snow, wet snow and rain… yet… the sun was in no way ready to give over the day so until darkness fell, we witnessed the elements duke it out in awe inspiring display. The sun fought to be seen from behind storm clouds creating such magnificent colours that not even the camera could detect the subtle beauty caught with the naked eye. In the high elevations we hit snowy white out conditions, in the valleys we had slush and then every hour or so we would be bathed in warm sun with endless blue ski. This schizophrenic weather show, while impressive, made us rethink our Grand Canyon destination. Checking the weather it was clear that it was a universally crap day all over the world; Vancouver had snow, Poland was in negative digits, even Korea was experiencing exceptionally cold temperatures and while this research made us feel a lot better about our slushy/snowy/wet/cold/sunny predicament, we knew it was time to look forward to a better tomorrow- but where would tomorrow be better? Well with the help of the Weather Network and our own intuition we recognized that there was only going to be one sunny morning in the pocket of the world we were in and that place is where the sun seldom sleep…Palm Springs! So set the navigation unit and off we went in search of sun. The drive to Vegas from Utah was amazing- this is a drive we had done last May in the dark so this was a whole new world to us. The snow covered peaks gave over to a softer red mountains that looked warm and inviting. We travelled through the Virgin River Gorge- Oh my Goodness- this is so stunning. The gorge is actually part of north western portion of Arizona carved out by the virgin river. The Interstate 15 runs through the canyon affording drivers a stunning view- have your video camera at the ready, we didn’t see any pull out areas but I understand that there is one just past the bridge going southbound—I was too busy looking up and around but will keep my eyes peeled next trip through. Since I didn’t think to video it- but I found a great post on you tube. We will be driving back through again in May so I will I film then (in HD) and will have my own to post.
For climbers the gorge is noted as some of the scenic and difficult climbs in the world while also boasting some of the best rock in the US, these climbs though, I am told, are not for the beginner climber so use caution. For me the gorge is a highlight of the drive to Vegas and I look forward to many returns. From there the drive to Vegas is a hop skip and jump through dessert that is anything but desolate; dotted with snow capped mountains and red rocks Vegas pops out much like a neon flashing mirage and well Vegas my friends….that is a whole other post!