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  • From Torrey we take the One – Million – Dollar – Road (built during The Great Depression), Scenic Highway 12 South, one of the most gorgeous highways in the US. First we go crazy photographing the change of the leaves right and left. Then we visit another breath – taking Canyon on Burr´s Trail and finally we reach the town of Escalante.

    First on the right a huge High School greets us and then a handful of houses, I am surein Escalante don´t live more citizens than inTorrey, which proudly announced 176 inhabitants. Why they need such an immense High School? I guess kids from all the surrounding farms attend. This Highschool and the Mormon Church are the biggest buildings I can see.

    I want a cappuccino that is announced on a colorful sign. But when I reach the entrance door to the café there is a sad CLOSED – sign in the door. Beside is Thrift Store announcing its final sale.

    My husband is hungry for lunch and on the other side of the main road there seems to be a restaurant. But getting there we again are confronted with a huge sign announcing that the restaurant is closed, so are a gallery, a souvenir – shop and a few other businesses beside what once seems to have been a restaurant. Now there is no furniture in any of these establishments anymore. Empty and broken windows stare at us. The whole row of businesses seems to be a falling down ruin.

    We spot a flag announcing guides and tours into the many canyons of Escalante and run over there, but – can you believe it? –we are received by another battery of signs: CLOSED, CLOSED, CLOSED!Everybody has told us that this is the absolute high tourist - season in the región.

    Where is the bed and Breakfast we have booked??? We cannot find it on our GPS and nowhere there is any sign announcing it on the Main Road.

    Suddenly I discover a sign OPEN, on the first side of the main road we had walked along. It belongs to a General Store. Inside we ask for our Bed and Breakfast, the cashier points to a sign above the entrance door where Canyon – Bed and Breakfast is announced under the announcement it says in huge letters: THIS BED AND BREAKFAST IS FOR SALE!

    Our hearts sink. Where have we ended up? The landscape around us is absolutely gorgeous but this town is dying!

    “I need lunch!” exclaims my husband.

    “Is there a restaurant in town?” we ask the cashier.

    She has to think for a moment, then with a very friendly smile she answers,” I believe there is a restaurant around the next curve, but I am not sure, I always see tables out on the terrace, but you see, I never much go to restaurants!”

    Having left the store my husband turns to me wondering,”Even if this lady never goes to a restaurant, in this town of 4 streets and maybe fifty houses, how can she not be sure if there is a restaurant or not?”

    The day before we watched a stupid movie about ghosts and now I wonder if maybe we have ended up in a town of ghosts?

    We do find a bank that is closed and a gallery which is open, but also for sale. The post office is open. What a relief!

    We do find the restaurant. The food is good, the waiter´s name is Greg, he is a stocky man in his mid – forties, a happy man, he has worked as a military and sports – photographer and now he owns this restaurant, the Camping Ground, he prepares the Crème Brulée. He organizes photography courses and takes people into the local slot canyons, all the pictures on the walls of the restaurant are his photographs. They are not the best images, as they have a lot of highlights in them, which I have learnt are not good, but he is so enthusiastic that he lightens our mood immediately.

    Greg resembles the trunk of a strong and ancient tree, he seems to be the motor driving the whole of Escalante from sure Death back to Life or so it seems to me.

    He tells us where our Bed and Breakfast is and we do find and like it. There is a huge tree in front of our room and I can lie in the hammock under it. The weather is wonderful.

    And when everything just seems to fall into place we get the news that all the following National Parks we are planning to visit are closed because of the US – Government Shutdown!

    Adventure - Adventure...
    _______________________
    Photographs on Highway 12 Scenic Byway South by Kiki
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