Despite the fact that Kanab, UT survives off tourism, during the winter months it goes into hibernation, so spending a couple of days in Kanab over the weekend was a nice way to relax and slow down the pace of our lives. The Saturday afternoon drive from Las Vegas is under four hours and even though it had been sunny most of the day, by the time we got to Hurricane, UT the skies grew cloudy in the late afternoon. At Hurricane you have a choice to make between two different routes that lead to Kanab. The northern route goes through Zion National Park, past towering peaks and through a mile long tunnel. The southern route dips into the slice of northern Arizona called the “Arizona Strip” because it cut off from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon. This way passes through a polygamist colony, an Indian Reservation, and vast open spaces. We chose the polygamists and the open spaces because it was already getting dark and that way would get us there quicker.
By the time we had made it to the Arizona state line it was already dark. Just inside Arizona is Colorado City, a town founded over a hundred years ago by a couple of men who were upset enough that the Mormon church told them they could only keep one of their wives that they packed up and moved everything just out of the church’s reach. The only things there are a cluster of houses, a convenience store, and “The Three Wives Cafe.” Beyond Colorado City, there is only the seemingly emptiness of the Kaibab Reservation before reaching Fredonia. The overcast night meant no stars and no moon and we drove on through complete darkness with only the halo of light from the headlights piercing the dark. The red distant glow of the tail lights of another lonely traveler miles up ahead was the only thing breaking the sense of complete isolation. So when the few lights of the tiny town of Fredonia came into view after an hour of driving, it was a welcome sight. It was only a matter of crossing back into Utah to reach Kanab.
A Saturday night in Kanab is not like a Saturday night in most places. Even though it was not late, the streets were already deserted and it looked a like a town in a Stephen King novel where everyone had been abducted. I could have taken a nap in the middle of the highway that runs through town and woken up rested and never had worrried about being run oveThe only business that showed any sign of life was the brightly lit cinema with a few cars in the parking lot. It looked like it could have shown James Dean’s movies when they were new. The movie showing on the only screen that night was one we could have seen a couple of months ago in Las Vegas. We had reservations at the Quail Park Lodge, an old roadside motel that had been recently renovated. So recent in fact that our room was not even finished and all of the other dozen rooms were full. So instead, we were given a room in a hotel just down the street that wasn’t even open yet but was owned by the same person who was looking to renovate it also. For the minor inconvenience we were given the room for free that night and offered a room at the Quail Pine Lodge the next night if we wanted to stay an extra day. Since everything was closed up for the night we went to our room at the closed hotel that we had entirely to ourselves.
Sunday morning we woke to a light snow falling. It had started overnight and there was a blanket of wet, heavy snow covering the ground that would quickly melt off as the morning got later. I stood out front of our room on the balcony and watched for any signs of life. The only activity I saw was a semi truck rolling past hurrying through to some other more lively place. If you are looking for tranquility, I couldn’t find a better place to recommend than a Sunday morning in winter in Kanab. The town was slowly waking from its slumber, but this was Sunday in Utah so nothing really changed from the night before. Most of the cafes and diners that were not closed for the season never opened for the day. If we had planned on doing any shopping we were completely out of luck. Not a single shop, store, or even the theater opens on Sunday. If we wanted to do anything, we had to leave town.r.