Day 5: Moenave Dinosaur Tracks & Cameron Trading Post

Image: Dinosaur Tracks

Our second night at Escalante awarded us with a crispy 28-degree morning. Hot tea and breakfast helped us stay warm until sunrise. We packed our tent, table, and other camping accouterments and started driving west on highway 12. We will be covering a vast desert that can be a playground for geologists, paleontologists, and archeologists alike.

Image: map from Escalante campsite to Moenave Dinosaur Tracks
The first part of our drive from our campsite at Escalante to Cameron with a stop at Moenave Dinosaur Tracks.

Vermillion Cliffs

We passed Bryce Canyon City, the place with great memories, and turned south on US Route 89. The road took us back to Escalante National Monument through the striped rocks of Vermillion Cliffs. It was a nice farewell area before leaving Utah and entering Arizona.

Image: Vermillion Cliffs
Vermillion Cliffs

Arizona greeted us with its own version of Vermillion Cliffs. What a beautiful new page in our travel book!

Image: Vermillion Cliffs and Canyons
Vermillion Cliffs and Canyons

Moenave Dinosaur Tracks

We drove through the land of the Navajo Nation and turned east on highway 160 toward Tuba City. Our first destination of the day was Moenave Dinosaur Tracks. This area took us 200 million years back to the early Jurassic period. Fossilized footprints can be found everywhere. This place looks like a busy rendezvous spot for ancient species.

The local guides carry water and fill the tracks for a better view.

Image: Dinosaur Tracks
Dinosaur Tracks near Tuba City
Image: Dinosaur Tracks
Our guide is posing with the dinosaur tracks to demonstrate how large they are.
Image: Dinosaur Tracks
The footprints can be found all around this place. The guide pours some water to make them more visible for the pictures.
Image: Dinosaur Tracks
Dinosaur track without water in it. Quite an impression.

Cameron Trading Post

As mealtime approached, we wrapped up our tour at Moenave and headed to Cameron. The restaurant at Cameron Trading Post was not a new dining experience for us. Having dined here a few years ago, we knew exactly what we were going to order, Navajo Taco. Pulled meat with beans, lattice, onions, and melted cheese on top was placed on crispy fry bread. The memories of our meal evoked even more hunger in our bellies.

Image: Cameron Trading Post
The restaurant at the Trading Post in Cameron, AZ.

The restaurant looked exactly the same in 2008 as we remember it. Decorated with Navajo rugs and photos for sale, the place has a comfortable and relaxing ambiance. The Navajo taco, however, was a bit of a disappointment this time. The fry bread was soggy, the veggies were mealy, the cheese was tacky, and the chicken meat was scant. We could not finish our meal. It just did not taste good. Oh, well. Let’s hope, they return to their old standard.

Photos above the fireplace at the restaurant:

Image: Native American
Image: Native Americans

After the meal, we continued our journey south hoping to find a campsite somewhere west of Flagstaff.

Image: map from Cameron to the south of Ash Fork
Map from Cameron to our campsite south of Ash Fork.

Our drive to the new campsite was accompanied by beautiful weather and gorgeous sunsets. Having visited the volcanoes around Flagstaff, we bypassed Sunset Crater and other familiar sites. This time, we are blazing new paths.

The campsite we found was very comfortable and flat. This is quite unusual for this area. Our ship cat ran out of the minivan and ran around while we were setting up the tent. She ended up collecting an enormous amount of prickles and all sorts of vegetable matter. I spend a good hour that evening brushing and combing her hair.

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