We called it Crouton Road all day, and the name seems to have stuck. It was brown and dry like a crouton, after all. We had been driving for a good portion of the morning and we were just starting Croton Road. It seemed to lead us into the middle of nowhere, and that's what we found. It was an experience!
Naturally, we didn't see anyone else on the trail. It didn't look like it saw as much use as Smoky Mountain Road, even though it paralleled it most of the time.
The Kaiparowits Plateau was very scenic, and when we came to a pull out we stopped. It ended up being a nice overlook of the plateau to the west.
We figured we'd be on the only trail all the way through, but we actually came to an intersection in the trees with lots of signs around it. Monica guessed and went one way and it ended up being the wrong way so she came back. After that, we all headed south along the correct road.
This trail was really, really remote. You definitely didn't want to be out here alone or without extra gas just in case. It was hot and sunny, with very few trees.
In fact, noon was approaching and we kept driving, looking for some sort of shade. We finally came up to some short trees and the tiniest bit of shade, so we all found our own bit of it. We were setting up, and a big jackrabbit hopped into the middle of our group. It looked at us like it had never seen people or Jeeps before. That wasn't very surprising.
Once we were in the Burning Hills the trail was twisty but smooth. There were spots with some great views. We soon started losing elevation fairly steadily, and it wasn't long before we popped out to the end of the trail.
We talked about options, and we all agreed that we didn't want to come that far without seeing Lake Powell at the end of Grand Bench. It was almost 2:00 and we headed farther in, enjoying our long and dry trip on the crouton.