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Utah, dams, desert, and the way to Zion
Utah is associated with Mormons and the Great salt Lake, but is an amazing and distinctive place. It's southern end is desert, and one of the driest and most sparsely inhabited parts of the lower 48. This section contains the so called Utah grand circle, a 700 mile ring of incredible parks, and natural wonders. These include Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Rainbow Bridge, and Arches national parks. Just outside of this loop is monument Valley, where all of the old John Ford westerns were filmed.
The Glen Canyon Dam. This pretty much divides Utah from Arizona, and forms Lake Powell from the overflow of the Colorado. The chalky leached out rock along the river shows what the water level usually is. We came amidst a dry spell. cars are no longer allowed on the dam, nor are people allowed near without being searched. The dam was built in 1963. 
The bridge that brought us here.
Off in the distance we are looking out across the Painted Desert in Utah. This is true desert, though it seems little different from the area we have been in since entering Arizona.
More of the desert and rock formations of Utah. The water in the foreground is a bit of the 180 mile long flooded out Colorado River, known as Lake Powell.
The look of the land in the Painted Desert. Though the Painted Desert Monument is far to the south in Arizona, the desert itself extends quite far north.
Stereotypical desert landscape. No dunes but plenty of aridity. Even the classic desert sage and cacti are in short supply here. 
Though we have left the Grand Canyon, hundreds of miles back, the canyon series of rocks are still with us. These are the same formations, though eroded to a lesser extent, that we saw so colorfully exposed in the canyon.
More eroded peaks. Considering the utter lack of rainfall in these parts (less than 8" a year) the action of erosion is much in evidence here. 
These are some pretty desolate areas, as can be seen here and in some of the photos below. Fortunately, my car was no longer acting up. 
More fantastic shapes in rock, and more desolate roads below. 
The bedded red rock almost make it look as if we are back in New Mexico.
More red cliffs, and desert flora.
A mound of solitary rock sits surrounded by it's self formed talus. Without the talus these would be sheer cliffs.
I can't imagine what the Mormons must have though while being led through this state. Doubtless they imagined they were being led to their deaths.
Other than the occasional phone pole, and split rail fence, there is little sign of habitation out here. 
A few peaks, some fencing and an advertisement. We will soon be in Kanob, and then enter the wondrous area of Zion. The desolation is now broken by occasional glimpses of civilization.
The rock faces are changing and becoming more solid. We are still well within the Grand Canyon series, but are approaching the 800 mile loop of scenic parkways in Utah.
A tourist attraction on the road between the Grand Canyon, and Zion. Indians have not lived in teepees in over 100 years, but tourists expect to see them here. 
A vacation cabin in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, but then where else would you go to get away from it all?
Kanob Utah was hosting an old car rally through the desert, and through the Zion Park area. Note the cacti in the planter near the bottom of the photo.
Kanob Utah is a very busy little town, and functions as the eastern gateway to Zion National Park.
Nedra's Restaurant. I recommend this place, if you are ever in the area. The food was great, and not really very expensive. There is a list of famous people who have eaten here, including actors on location shots. Nedra's has it's own web site.
Leaving Kanob and going up into the highlands. Utah is virtually all mountains, with hardly a flat spot in the whole place.
Up in the mountains, and heading towards Zion National Park.
Bits of Zion National Park can be seen off in the distance. We are only a few miles, and a couple of turns of the road away.
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