Traveling in southern Utah means navigating around Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. You either swing west on US 89 through Kanab, or east on UT 261 and UT 95 through Hanksville. With a bit more
time, of course, you can cut across on Cottonwood Canyon Road, but with lingering monsoon storms, we did not want to risk that route's justly
famous Bentonite clay surface.
So we hooked west on 89, stopping for a wonderful lunch at the Rocking V Caf in Kanab, a cute tourist town dressed up in its signature Navajo sandstone. All around were thrilling landscape — so many places
I'd like to explore with a bit more time. We turned east on UT 12, which would take us across the northern end of Grand Staircase-Escalante. We had intended to camp at Red Canyon, but the campground was right next to the road and every spot was occupied.