We check in at the BLM’s Grand Staircase Escalante Visitor’s Center in Cannonville. The Bureau of Land Management has done a nice job here. The Visitor’s Center is beautiful and informative. We also find out that the Cottonwood Backway to Grosvenor Arch is actually closed beyond the arch, but the road to the arch is currently wet and not suitable for passenger vehicles. Darn. So close.
Under gray skies the colors in the formations aren’t spectacular, but they are nice enough and there is a pleasant walking trail with information on local vegetation. (Plants rank right up there with rocks in my book.) It is a nice walk and we have it almost all to ourselves, meeting only a few European visitors as the morning passes. (How do French and Italian tourists find this place?)
Later we watch for lightning while eating lunch at a picnic table by the nature trail. However, the rain seems to be hung up in the nearby hills – it appears to have remained in the same spot all morning. We decide to risk getting caught in the rain in order to take the Angels Palace Trail to the top of one of the smaller formations. The trail is pretty primitive (“Do you think it goes up there or over there?”) and there are a couple of scrambles above a wash that would be problematic if wet. But it doesn’t rain and we have nice views along the way and at the top.