We are camped off exit 18 on Rt. 15, 20 miles south of St. George on a bend in the Virgin River in the Virgin River Canyon National Recreation area - BLM property where the camping costs us $4.00 per night (1/2 price of normal since we have a golden eagle park pass) We arrive at camp around 3:00 after an aborted attempt to camp earlier at Valley Of Fire State Park in Utah just north of Lake Mead. After stopping to consider the registration station there, and contemplating how we would spend the remainder of the day in temperatures hovering around 100, we opted for another hour in the car, and its glorious air conditioning. As it was, we arrived at this bluff above the virgin river, found shade and sat unmoving for a few hours while the sun dipped below the mountain's rim, and the air became breathable again. Once the sun set, we ventured down off the bluff to the cool river itself, and disturbed two canadian geese lounging in an eddy. The knee deep water was rushing fast, and very refreshing, and a cool breeze was being funneled down the canyon bottom just above the water. We investigated the many animal tracks in the sand and lingered as long as prudent before hiking back up the rocky trail just before it got too dark to see.
The drive from yesterday's camp has taken us past Lake Mead, and along Lakeside drive, a meandering ribbon of two lane blacktop that skirts the shore of the deeply fluted lake. We stopped at a few hot springs along the way, but none seemed to beckon us into the water with such hot air temperatures. As the road winds around the lake, it climbs and drops around a growing set of foothills, cut deeply by erosion. Where cut, the almost burnt desert crust reveal bright orange and red veins of underlying striated rock. We roll on, listening to a story on the CD player about running in the Copper Canyons of Mexico, a place not too dissimilar to right where we are.