Sep 9, 2013

Exploring the back roads of the Grand Canyon, Part II

We woke up and Twin Point and decided to head off and do some exploring. The rain continued and it caused just enough alert in the back of my mind to remember countless times mired in mud with hours of work to get out. I was not looking to add another to the list.  photo IMG_3145.jpg Thankfully even though most of us had migrated to All Terrains over the years, we weren't disappointed. The mud was watery enough to keep from packing in and turning the tires into racing slicks.  photo IMG_3146.jpg Slow, but consistent progress.  photo IMG_3147.jpg Kevin checked the crossing with his muck boots. This crossing dropped off just beyond that point to an unknown depth. We decided to turn around since the mud here was different and slick as snot.  photo IMG_3152.jpg Fender flares have an amazing ability to keep a truck clean. Jon did not have any. :-)  photo IMG_3153.jpg There was even a little fender flare carnage. I guess it wasn't made to have an extra 50lbs in mud hanging onto it.  photo IMG_3155.jpg The preferred method to explore muddy remote terrain. Of course.  photo IMG_3157.jpg The old (new) Mt Trumble Schoolhouse. It was rebuilt by volunteers after the original burnt down.  photo IMG_3158.jpg Taggart was having a blast.  photo IMG_3160.jpg We were all discussing how bad the mud would be on the way down the road from Mt Trumble. We were very happily surprised. It was all rock and sand, no mud.  photo IMG_3164.jpg I love Ocotillo's. They grow in the strangest of places and add a little green to otherwise barren landscape.  photo IMG_3167.jpg Now this was a great fire pit locale!  photo IMG_3168.jpg Hiking down tot he water.  photo IMG_3173.jpg This lava formation was directly beneath the firepit I posted above.  photo IMG_3177.jpg The formation is amazing. Similar to the Devil's post pile in California.  photo IMG_3178.jpg Very cool.  photo IMG_3179.jpg Finally made it down. Actually, it was a pretty quick and easy hike.  photo IMG_3182.jpg Sitting in the river enjoying a brew. All is right in the world. All is numb as well since the water is COLD.  photo IMG_3184.jpg More amazing formations across the river.  photo IMG_3185.jpg Yes, not a bad campsite.  photo IMG_3189.jpg Rock leveled campsite.  photo IMG_3191.jpg The next morning we headed out for higher ground!  photo IMG_3209.jpg Some tourists getting a very nice and very expensive ride to their awaiting rafts.  photo IMG_3212.jpg Yes. Yes, is all I can think of. This picture makes me want to live right here. In this very canyon. Not 30 minutes from the river and in an amazing little valley all it's own.  photo IMG_3213.jpg After a lot of low range climbing along a seldom used road we made it from 2500 up to 6000 feet in elevation.  photo IMG_3214.jpg  photo IMG_3219.jpg We decided to head into Fredonia to gas up and head east towards some of the higher elevation, but also more busy parts of the North Rim.  photo IMG_3223.jpg It's a nice transition to be back in the pines!  photo IMG_3224.jpg Once again, not a bad camp.  photo IMG_3226.jpg The next morning we headed to pavement, aired up and started the drive home.  photo IMG_3229.jpg We had to stop at Lee's Ferry. Why, just because it's a great spot.  photo IMG_3234.jpg Some rafters and fisherman heading downriver.  photo IMG_3236.jpg It was another great trip and this one served to remind me that many more trips are "needed" to find all of the good secret spots of the North Rim.  photo IMG_3240.jpg

Exploring the back roads of the Grand Canyon, Part I

The North Rim. The only Rim! Well, geographically that may not be entirely true. It is 100% true in my mind though. The South Rim is Disneyland AZ. It's where you take kids and family to see the postcard view of the Grand Canyon along with 5,000 of your friends in motor coaches, station wagons and life sucking minivans. Alas, there is a solution. It's hard to get to and the roads are all dirt, rock and... mud. We started by meeting up in Mesquite, Nevada. It was hot! At least it was beautiful.  photo IMG_3076.jpg It was a warm night, but this spot was easy to find, meet and start off the morning journey. We ran by Terrible Herbst gas station in Mesquite to play the "how many times can you top of your gas tank" game. I choose Terrible Herbst every time because as a kid I watched the Herbst family race their Truggy in every desert race I went to and that thrill is well worth given them back a few bucks every time I get a chance. Oh, and it was the cheapest gas in town... that helps. And now for something completely different... How do you not check out a Nash when you get the chance.  photo IMG_3077.jpg He was headed to a classic car show from Vegas. He also head said it CAN hit 65MPH. "It hasn't in a long time, but it has..."  photo IMG_3078.jpg  photo IMG_3079.jpg Okay, back on topic. The crew:  photo IMG_3080.jpg Right from the start things get exponentially more pretty as you head south and get more remote.  photo IMG_3081.jpg  photo IMG_3082.jpg Coming down from the top of Lime Kiln Pass.  photo IMG_3088.jpg  photo IMG_3089.jpg The terrain is constantly changing. Every time you think you know what the area is going to look like, as you head south, it changes. This area was like a homecoming because I spent a few months(camping) and working here a few years back.  photo IMG_3091.jpg  photo IMG_3093.jpg  photo IMG_3094.jpg And then it starts changing again.  photo IMG_3096.jpg We decided to take a side trail on the way south and do some exploring.  photo IMG_3097.jpg And it changes again.  photo IMG_3100.jpg The mud just kept on getting more and more soupy!!  photo IMG_3104.jpg Heading down to Twin Point.  photo IMG_3107.jpg Twin Point is "remote" in some sense's, but in actual miles and time from pavement it's not that bad. Well worth the added effort. Just pull your truck up to the edge and relax.  photo IMG_3110.jpg Then, grab a camera and/or a book and soak it in.  photo IMG_3128.jpg This little fell the size of the palm of my hand was scurrying along. Pretty neat to see.  photo IMG_3115.jpg  photo IMG_3120.jpg So many sites along the rim.  photo IMG_3123.jpg So many great views that you have to keep getting up to take yet another picture. It's a good problem to have.  photo IMG_3125.jpg  photo IMG_3132.jpg In the morning, grab a cup of coffee and repeat.  photo IMG_3137.jpg  photo IMG_3142.jpg On day two we were headed for a much lower elevation spot with hopes of swimming in the Colorado!