Belly of the Dragon Trail

Good morning, my friends. I'm happy to tell you that we checked off a big bucket list item yesterday morning. When we traveled to Colorado/Arizona in 2021, we'd planned to do this hike as we ended our trip. But then, the weather turned cold, and snow started to fall. We cut short the last leg of our trip and headed for home. Still, there is much in this southwest part of Utah that I want to see, and this hike was at the tippy-top of my list.

We drove about 16 miles north of Kanab to reach the trailhead. We saw some pretty scenery along the way.

This is the sort of thing you'll see during a visit to Zion National Park.

And that isn't surprising because that's Zion over yonder there.

Eventually, we turned off onto a dirt road and traveled just a short distance to a parking lot. I walked a little farther to a spot where I could see the opening to the dragon's belly.

The trail actually started higher up from where that picture was taken. So, let's go. Please mind your manners.

There's a short scramble down some rocks to reach the cave opening. This happens to be a drainage area under the main highway. The cave is a natural formation, however, some concrete reinforcement was poured at the opening at some point. We believe this was probably to prevent more erosion of the opening.

Looking inside, it starts as a narrow passageway.

And it continued to get narrower as we went. The information I had suggested the most light was inside the cave during the early afternoon hours. We were there in the late morning, just before lunch time.

It got very dark toward the middle, and we used the flashlights on our phones to make our way. Near the middle, the passage is a little tricky. Without light, we could have stumbled over the rocky path.

There was a father and son ahead of us.

Reaching the end...maybe one-tenth of a mile on...we could see the light at the end.

Beyond the tunnel was a short trail through a red sandy wash. Wildflowers were blooming along the way.

Also, we saw this huge horsefly. It was about the size of an almond. Those things bite. We encountered them when we lived on the East Coast.

This is our old friend Rabbitbrush. It's blooming in abundance in Utah.

My phone tells me this is "Sea Rocket."

And it tells me this is Evening Primrose. 

It tells me this is Broom Snakeweed.

We met a kindly old gentleman along the trail who guessed that this is Prickly Russian Thistle. He also reminded me that I could look up flowers on my phone. Duh. So this was an interesting plant. The flowers begin as thorns, and then open. They are tiny.

Here, you can see the flowers where they've bloomed and turn the plant purple. On the right, where it is green, it is still all thorns.

Continuing through the wash a short distance, one comes to a dead end. You might see a cable there, running vertically, just left of center. I suppose if you were a more intrepid person, you might climb up or down there. Not these hikers. We turned around and headed back the way we came.

Heading back to the tunnel, we went through and out the other end. We had some giggles wondering what it said about us that we entered the mouth of the dragon, passed through its belly, and then came out the other end. One of my Facebook friends suggested it was something along the lines of a colonoscopy tour. 

Heading back, it's only dark in the very middle where neither opening can be seen. At the beginning and end, there's plenty of light.

Some of these photos were taken with my camera using flash. Some were taken with my iPhone. The phone pictures make the lighting spookier.

This image gives you a better idea what it looks like inside.

After that, we drove back into town to take care of some life business. We needed to refill one of our propane tanks, and we needed fuel. Then we did our grocery shopping for the week. There aren't many grocery stores in the little town of Kanab. We selected this one, called Glazier's. The entire side of the store was painted in a mural.

I zoomed in a little at the beginning where you can see a depiction of this store when it existed as a "trading post."

Back at the RV, I finished up block number two for the Kittens quilt. There's a lot of stitching in these, but they're fun to do.

These are the two blocks I have for this quilt so far. Sorry about the wrinkles.

Next, I'll start on block 3...this one:

I realize I'm a few days early, but I'm still making this October's goal for

I'll link up there when the party starts.

We made good on our promise to walk to a Mexican restaurant just across the way. The food was good, and we got there just ahead of the dinner rush. Sadly, they had different Mexican beers and plenty of soft drinks, but they did not have a full bar. Even their menu apologized for the lack of margaritas. Oh well. We had our dinner and then headed back to the RV for post-prandial margaritas. Smitty joined us on the veranda.

Sadie stayed in her catio. She has appurreciated the purrivacy this tree affords her. Sometimes people come up and poke fingers and try to talk to her. It's extremely rude, if you want to know the truth. She's barely visible in there, and so people don't bother her.

While we drank our margaritas, we enjoyed a pretty sunset.

Day is done.

We don't have any other plans for this stop in Kanab, and so we'll take a day off today. I'll probably spend most of my day on my slow-stitching, but I'm tempted to bake us some cookies for two. There's no telling what else we might do. It's a cute little town, and if we're feeling very energetic, we might walk into town and see what we can see. Don't count on it, however. We're not above working on our lazy skills either. Napping is always a good idea.

So, off I go. Mike is waiting for breakfast, and my stomach is growling too. Time to get started on whatever else the day holds.


Barbara said...

I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now? ~ John Lennon

dgs said...

What an amazing hike and cave. It definitely is worthy of a bucket list life experience and now I want to do it too! These photos don't look as scary as some others you shared via Instagram. And the scenery in the area is lovely. Amazing the color is so late in the year, almost like Spring or early summer. Your kitty blocks are also adorable. It has been fun to watch them come together.

Christine said...

This is someone who has forty fits at the thought of Monte Bianco tunnel.... Duel carriage way motoring through....

I think you are incredibly brave..... I just could NOT do that... May as well be a real live dragon for me.
Thank you for the photos though.... The rock strata are so amazing. Enjoy your day off.

Jenny said...

Walking through that tunnel would be rather exciting, I think. You certainly needed a light to navigate the rocky path safely.

Cathy said...

That looks like a fun hike! I’d never heard of it, and am adding it to my list of places to visit in 2024. I’m sure enjoying your trip!

karen said...

Imagine..John Lennon

Magpie's Mumblings said...

You would not, under any circumstance known to man, get me to enter that cave. I was practically hyperventilating just looking at the pictures!

Anne-Marie said...

I wouldn't have been able to go through that cave either. Good luck with your goal and thanks for linking up.

grammajudyb said...

We’ve been to Zion and Moab and surrounding area. I heard of Belly of the Dragon, but we never visited! Thank for the tour and the adventure!

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Barbara, thanks so much for sharing the Belly of the Dragon with us. I've been to Zion and this sounds really great. Hopefully we can get there the next time we're in the area. Love your kitten slow stitching.