So, after a fitful night’s slumber at the Mesquite Best Western, we were awakened by the next door neighbors thumping their wheeled transport bed against the door jamb as they maneuvered an adult quadriplegic out to their van. This woke up the dogs in the room on the other side. Certain they were under attack, they set up a vicious pretense of defending the home front. We slipped into our best robe and slippers and headed for the free breakfast…well, perhaps “free” isn’t quite the word. A room next to the freeway, with a pool in the parking lot, for $180/night (with a senior discount), probably factors in the cost of the self-serve waffle machine. The staff at the front desk didn’t even blink at the sight of Karen’s chartreuse, ostrich feather-trimmed peignoir with matching stiletto-heeled slippers. At sixty-five, she can still pull it off.
The charms of the hotel breakfast buffet, not withstanding the automatic waffle machine, could not deter us from pushing on to St. George, where we hoped to drop off our bags at our next night’s lodging and find more interesting breakfast options. The short drive up the Virgin River Gorge provided a tantalizing preview of the spectacular scenery to come.
Our host’s instructions on how to locate the Inn on the Cliff were evidently based on the erroneous assumption that Southern California was east of Utah and directed us to exit the freeway at the east end of town which required us to traverse the entire length of St. George. This turned out to be a propitious error because we spotted an eatery on a side street with locals lined up out the front door. Standing room only is always an indication of food worth waiting for, so we made note of the location and came back to it after dropping off our bags.
The food and service turned out to be well worth the wait and the artwork on the walls of the hall leading to the restroom was worth the price of admission. I’m not normally a fan of cowboy art but I was forced to examine the prints while I waited for the single stall restroom to become available. The more I scrutinized the prints, the more I giggled. Check it out; you don’t even need to be a golf aficionado to appreciate the humor. http://www.russellhouston.com/
Springdale was crawling with tourists and the road, the only road through town, was under construction. “Expect long delays” we were advised, and we were not disappointed. Parking, always in short supply, was nearly nonexistent but we eventually found a place to park within walking distance of the free tram. We clambered aboard with our National Park Old People passes and squeezed in among throngs of youngsters, all chatting at the top of their lungs. The informative narrative being broadcast over the PA system was inaudible. We were happy to exit at the Hidden Canyon trail head…along with 45,235 other tourists. Undaunted, I assured my companions that we would soon leave most of them behind as the trail climbs rather steeply for about a mile which generally weeds out a large number of them, especially the larger of them.
Since the girls hadn’t cried uncle yet, we jumped on the tram again, riding it to the end of the canyon, where we walked up the paved trail to The Narrows. By this time it was growing cold and we were anticipating dinner at the Cliff Rose Restaurant; so we called it a day and headed back to St. George where our room with a view awaited.
Dinner at the Cliffside Restaurant was everything we had hoped for. The waiter kindly opened the bottle of Justin Cabernet Sauvignon I’d brought from Costco and it was delicious with my farro, mushroom risotto. I love restaurants that have interesting vegetarian options! We walked back to our room and collapsed into bed…only to be awakened by the clunking noise of the in-room refrigerator. I considered defenestration (how often does one have to use THAT word?!) of the offending appliance, but was too comfortable in the luxury linen of the obviously expensive mattress.