Another long and adventurous day lays ahead of us:
In the morning we drive past Panguitch Lake which is still solidly frozen and we see people ice fishing on it. We are lucky we don’t have to get out of the car into the cold (it is around 26 F / -3 C). The plan is to first visit Cedar Breaks at over 10,000 feet (3,000 meter) elevation, but at the intersection of SR143 and SR148 we suddenly stand in front of a 3 foot (1 meter) high wall of snow – the road is closed!
We park the car and walk on top of the frozen snow blanket to a view point from which we can see Cedar Breaks as well, just form a bit a different angle. Back at the car we turn around and continue on SR143 towards HWY15 and take the highway instead of the scenic route to Zion.
The weather meanwhile has cleared up again and the temperatures are in the upper 50s (around 15 Celsius)! Zion National Park is pretty packed with people but we enjoy the drive. Instead of joining the crowd, we turn left into North Fork Road about 2 miles after the park exit.
After passing some very nice vacation homes the pavement ends soon and we find ourselves on a dirt road (again), which, according to our map and the navigation system, goes all the way through to SR14, about 45 miles. The scenery up here is awesome, we are driving through forests and meadows – we see countless deers, some wild turkeys and pheasants. We frequently stop to take short walks and to take pictures. The creek with its clear water is sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right side of the road. The road itself is mostly dry in the beginning but the further up we get the more muddy spots we have to pass. Eventually, the muddy spots become bigger and bigger and Marco has to work hard to keep the car straight and on the road. Probably about 5 miles before we would have hit the paved road again, we have to give in and turn around – mud and snow have won!
It is late afternoon already and we are rewarded with the sight of literally hundreds of deers (we guess at least 300 hundred in total). It is amazing – they are very shy, the closer we get to civilization though the more trusting they are. We have never seen that many deers anywhere!
We arrive at the Chuck-A-Rama in St. George for dinner at around 8pm before we take a room at the Howard Johnson for a good night sleep.