Phoenix to Ogden, UT – 698 miles

Today was the first of our two-day journey home following the same route we took returning from Sedona in 2011. Except this time it’s the middle of winter.  The first 400 miles to Long Valley Junction were uneventful with clear skies, dry roads and little traffic.  Once again in northern Utah we got a glimpse of the incredible Vermilion Cliffs escarpments off Route 89 south of Page, UT.  This little niche of the U.S. is just so fascinating.  Looking to the west from the highway you know the eastern end of the Grand Canyon is just 70 or so miles away, Bryce and Zion lie just about 100 miles north, and the road passes right between the Vermilion Cliffs and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. It’s a geologic wonderland of every imaginable shape. As I had done for the outgoing trip, I checked the weather forecast for cities along the way and everything looked great.  I forgot that that little 40-mile section of Route 14 between Long Valley Junction and Cedar City is a major mountain pass with elevations around 9,000 feet just south of Cedar Breaks National Monument.  So we did have to navigate about half an hour of snow but the road surface was mostly well-cleared or sanded.  Once through the snow squall, we began the descent toward Cedar City with absolutely stupendous views of the surrounding rock formations and valleys shrouded in fresh snow.  It was breathtaking. Photos (19)…

Route 14, just outside Cedar City, UT

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