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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > A Tale Of Three Roads - Conclusion

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seldomseensmith

Flagstaff, AZ

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Joined: 09/18/2006

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Posted: 07/10/09 04:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

O.K., I said three posts, but there is just so much ground to cover (literally) that I need to make it 4. Forgive me if you can.

Cottonwood Canyon, Hell's Backbone, the really juicy parts of Highway 12, and finally..... Skutumpah/Johnson Canyon road. As I mentioned in the first post, I was told at the BLM office that July 4th rains had created impassable conditions on nearly all the Monument roads, and no one could tell me if I could get through. Despite some washouts and rough patches on Cottonwood Canyon, I had made it out just fine, and I was fairly confident Skutumpah would be the same.

Skutumpah (pronounced scoot-um-paw) is from the Paiute language, and translates loosely as "the place where rabbitbrush grows and the squirrels are found". Sounds about right. The road is 34 miles of dirt until Johnson Canyon, where pavement takes you the rest of the 16 miles to Highway 89.

To take the north-to-south route, begin at the Highway 12 junction of Cottonwood Canyon road in Cannonville.

[image]

[image]

The turnoff is well marked, and this dirt road rapidly begins to climb the hills to the west.

Like Cottonwood Canyon, Skutumpah used to be regularly maintained by Kane County and the entire road could be traveled by carefully driven passenger cars. Once again however the impasse between the Feds and local officials have created a situation where only high clearance vehicles can make the trip.

While I enjoy the solitude that comes with traveling the rougher backcountry roads, the lack of cooperation between these so-called public servants are doing a huge disservice to the people who elected them. The good news is that only the section from Cottonwood Canyon road to the eastern boundary of Deer Springs Ranch is badly damaged, so curious visitors can still see a part of this isolated and rugged country.

[image]

Once on top of the hills the pinon-juniper-sagebrush landscape so common to the area dominates as far as you can see.

[image]

To the north the Pink Cliffs rise above the horizon.

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Initially the road winds into and out of many small canyons.

[image]

The most famous of these is Bull Valley Gorge - one of the best narrows to be found in the area. This is not a canyon to hike when there are thunderstorms in the area, as the sheer walls offer no escape in the event of a flash flood.

[image]

Notice the logs at the top of the canyon - this is how high the water gets in flood!

[image]

[image]

Just as in Cottonwood canyon, evidence was everywhere of running water and erosion of the road. The biggest obstacle was near the beginning of the road at Sheep Creek, where flooding had carved a 3 foot lip entering and exiting the drainage. No big deal for a truck, a total no-go for a Chevy Impala!

[image]

As with other parts of the trip, wildflowers were in abundance. Here a Porch Penstemon waves in the breeze.

[image]

Paintbrush

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Skyrocket or Arizona Gilia

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After a while the road levels out onto a broad bench between the White Cliffs and the Pink Cliffs. Here you see the distinctive color and formations that make up Bryce Canyon to the north.

[image]

Yippie-Yi-Yay, Giant Sirloin Burgers!

[image]

Towards Johnson Canyon road things have smoothed out quite a bit, but washboards are still the rule.

[image]

Lava once flowed here - another part of the fascinating geologic history of the region.

[image]

Skutumpah Road ends here. You can turn north on a dirt road to reach the Glendale Bench, which gets you to the town of Glendale along north/south Highway 89, or you can turn south on the paved road to Johnson Canyon - precisely my idea.

Johnson Canyon is the natural access point through the White Cliffs, another step in the Grand Staircase. The white sandstone is striking in appearance and texture.

[image]

[image]

[image]

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Visitors without high clearance vehicles who want a taste of the beauty here can take a leisurely drive up Johnson Canyon and feel very satisfied with the experience.

[image]

[image]

The fields were full of Black-Eyed Susans from the recent rains, making a colorful foreground for the red and white rocks.

[image]

I spotted this "fixer-upper" along the way. Such a beautiful setting, it makes me wonder what happened to the previous owners.

[image]

This inconspicuous arch can be seen by eagle-eyed travelers if they look hard enough.

[image]

The road finally reaches Highway 89 east of Kanab, and the end of this particular journey. It is with sadness that I turn west, heading for home. However as I watch the red and white cliffs recede in my rearview mirrors, you can be sure I was already thinking of my next trip.

Happy Trails!

Testudo

Germantown, MD

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Posted: 07/10/09 07:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

[image]

I spotted this "fixer-upper" along the way. Such a beautiful setting, it makes me wonder what happened to the previous owners.


This is actually the remains of a movie set. They were never built to standards for actual habitation. There are actually a couple of such sites along Johnson Canyon Road and many in the Kanab region.


Testudo & Princesse Caribou
2012 FORD F-250 6.2L 4x4 EC SB SRW
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travelinglane

NH

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Posted: 07/10/09 07:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks so much for the great pics and your narrative! I so much miss living in the Western part of our country - all the beautiful vistas...

Looks like you had a great trip. Outfitters on the move! [emoticon]

COOLCHAS11

Hernando, FL

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Posted: 07/10/09 08:39pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fascinating! Thanks.

mranger1911

Sitka, AK

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Posted: 07/10/09 08:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"Forgive you if can" Are you kidding what an awesome trip. I have been looking forward to seeing all your pics. Great Job


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weymard

NORMANDY

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Posted: 07/11/09 03:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WOW ! Nice pictures, and the landscape is ... no words !
Thanks.


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France, Normandy

whazoo

Idahome

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Posted: 07/11/09 07:15am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Let's see, which one do I like best, parts 1,2,3 or 4...ALL OF THEM! Nice trippin there Seldom.





Murgatroid

Nevada City, CA

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Posted: 07/11/09 09:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome pictures! I need to go back there and explore the back country someday. Perhaps the Outfitter owners of rv.net should have a "caravan"? [emoticon]

-steve


2009 Northern Lite 9.6Q Classic
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BE

Alberta, Canada

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Posted: 07/11/09 10:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Terrific photos and trip report. I really appreciate the knowledge you provide about the area. Great job and thanks.
...regards, brad


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Nemo667

Louisiana

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Posted: 07/11/09 08:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

seldom, those were awesome posts and pictures thank you very much. We are itching to head back that way as soon as we are able. Nice to see Testudo posting too. Looks like whazoo has some competition...[emoticon]


2007 F-350 SRW 6.0L CC SB 4X4
2006 Outfitter Apex 8, 220W Solar and 3 AGM's
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