Canyons, Devil's Slide and the Thousand Mile Tree
Mrs Higginson provided an excellent breakfast and I was presented with a glass jar of honey to take on my trip. Lyne, the Higginson's neighbour, came over to see me off and gave me a good flask that doesn't leak.
My route was to take me into Weber Canyon and, from my trip planning, I'd been unsure if I'd be able to get into this due to there only being an interstate. The Higginsons said it should be fine as it was a short stretch and gave me directions for getting onto it. The start was quite exciting as it involved negotiating the slip roads on the 93 and I-84. I then had a headwind dropping my speed to under 10 mph. Handily, there were road works through most of the canyon so I was able to be in the coned off right-hand lane all by myself. Being in the works access lane was a lot safer than being in the single remaining lane of a freeway for 3-4 miles.
At Mountain Green I hit alternate roads and had a message from the Higginsons who'd driven through Weber Canyon to check I'd got through OK. It is so lovely to have locals checking that you are safe. The alternate road had the familiar L signs showing me I was back on the Old Lincoln Highway.
A few miles later I had to rejoin the freeway. At Devil's Slide there was a handy parking area where I stopped to view the rock formation and briefly talked to some drivers. One had a fishing rod and claimed the river had the best fishing in the state.
A little further on, after a sign for Croyden, I spotted a conspicuous tree. This must be the Thousand Mile Tree that Stevens had mentioned which marked a thousand miles of railroad line from Omaha, Nebraska. Actually, it wasn't the same tree because the one Stevens saw was close to dead after being filled with pot shots from passengers. It had died by 1900 but in 1982 the Union Pacific planted a replacement. Following track straightening it was now only 960 miles from Omaha.
Out of the canyon, and as I got back onto state roads, I was tooted and waved at by a biker gang driving along the freeway. I smiled and gave a cheery wave back. Out here in the West it seems there is a mutual respect amongst those on two wheels.
I stopped at a local mini-mart named Grumps (they're on Facebook!) for some supplies and carried on to Echo via Witch Rocks - named by a US army captain who decided they looked like a coven of witches. At the information point there was a handy sign telling me all about snakes. I took a photo of it for future reference.
At Echo there didn't seem much sign of accommodation so I carried on around the corner, under the freeway, and along the edge of a reservoir to Echo Resort. This was a "campground" but, as usual, it was for RVs. Lesley, a lady sat outside the reception, told me this part was stoney so I should go a mile or so down to the south site and just go around the locked gate. She didn't charge me and, if anyone asked, I was to say that Lesley had said it was OK. I didn't really know if Lesley had the authority to say this but followed her instructions anyway. I set up my tent 50 metres form the shore hoping this would be enough to stop the mosquitoes. With no toilet/shower facilities I had to bury my business in the sand. My old friend the I-80 had caught up with me again (I last saw it at Oasis in Nevada) and was on the other side of the reservoir. It could be heard all through the night.