Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Grand Canyon

Heading south through Monument valley there were a couple of route options to consider.  Straight to the south west would take us to Flagstaff, and then perhaps Sedona.  But at Kayenta, the right turn option won out and up to Page, Arizona we went – hoping a bit of lower elevation would result in a rise in temperatures.  While there we drove down towards Lone Rock (actually across the line back in Utah), and found a couple of promising boondocking sites for next time.  Heading south out of Page, I thought there would be another choice of heading across southern Utah and northern Arizona, but the road was blocked (I think RV Sue commented on this a few weeks ago?), which resulted in a rather long detour on the way down towards Flagstaff.

IMG_6195 I hadn’t really intended to go near the Grand Canyon this time (it is November, you know), but the small strip of national forest land between the Navajo reservation and the park looked like it might provide some good camping.  It did, but the elevation was getting up there again, so it was just a quick overnight before heading into the park.  First thing in the morning, the fog was rather thick, and I wondered if they had moved the canyon to somewhere else!IMG_6184IMG_6185

But even as it was clearing, the local wildlife was putting on a show of their own.  Two young bull elk were having a test of strength and will as they pushed back and forth, squealing all the time.


A bigger, older bull watched the show from the sidelines, but neither he or the local bunny seemed to concerned.


Part way along the south rim drive we exited the park into the Kaibab national forest again to visit a fire lookout tower I had seen in the past.  There were good boondocking spots there as well, so we spent the night.  Thoughts of perhaps having a campfire were drowned a bit later when sheets of rain, blasts of hail and gusts of wind greeted us.



Carrying on in the morning, we took in some of the usual tourist view points and joined the crowds for a bit.


They must have heard that Hailey was in the area, as they put up a sign to announce her arrival.IMG_6224

She doesn’t like the crowds, but I made sure she could have a good look into the canyon as well.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Getting the Boot from Canyonlands

Well actually, it is called the Wooden Shoe formation, but you get the idea.IMG_6158

Still in the Needles area of Canyonlands National Park, the hike from the end of the road ends up on a point overlooking the canyon.  It looked like a great place to have some lunch, so I found a nice rock on the edge with a great view.  It wasn’t till I was done and walking around when I realized that I had been on a 30 foot overhang!  It’s been like that for a million years give or take a millenium, but that didn’t stop me from walking softly when I went back to pick up my pack.



I was reading Edward Abbey’s ‘Desert Solitaire’ which is based in this general area at the time, so it was quite fitting to be travelling in some of the same places and seeing the things he describes.

Eventually it was time to hook up and head out, so reluctantly we did so.


Several well weathered structures were along the road as we headed back out to the highway and Monticello, where a grocery and propane stop was in order.IMG_6164IMG_6163

Continuing south we stopped in at Goosenecks State Park (Utah), and were disappointed to see that they are now trying to get money out of those who stop there.  Really? There is nothing there but a great view, a single parking lot, pit toilet.  The lot is so small that big rigs would have difficulty turning around.  As for camping, there are a half dozen lonesome picnic tables and a fireplace or two on the rim.  Seriously, it would take most people longer to find the money and fill out the envelope than they would spend enjoying the view.  I’m sure it’ll be popular for tour buses to stop here – at around $10/minute for the stop


Don’t get me wrong, these are great boondocking sites (if the wind isn’t blowing), but I’ve camped in far better places charging $3-4.  Not sure if the unpaved, wide open space down along the canyon rim is in the ‘park’, or if it is still open BLM camping?

Moving south across the San Juan river we were heading down into the Monument valley.