A day by day chronicle
Departure from El Cerrito, CA at 2pm. Drive north on I5 to Mt. Shasta
City. Follow the Everett hwy which turns East in the center of the town
towards Mt. Shasta.
Camped in McBride springs campground which is the first US forest
service campground on the left as you head up the mountain. Lovely sites
with a small creek near by and ice cold mountain spring water. Fee $10
We tried to climb Mt. Shasta from the old ski bowl parking lot. A well
established trail quickly climbs from 7700 ft to about 9000ft. There the
trail seems to end. To get to the top of the mountain cross the ridge to
the left where the trail meets the more frequently traveled trail from
Bunny Flat. We gave up at an elevation of about 10000 ft because Ruth’
hiking boots were locked up in our friends rental car and we didn’t
follow the proper route.
Instead we decided to soak our bones in a hot spring near Big Bend, CA.
The drive once again was longer than expected (2 hrs) but took us
through some remote areas of the Shasta National Forrest. Spent the
night again at McBride springs campground.
Hwy 97 and 62 is the route to Crater Lake NP. Klammath Falls is the last
opportunity to get supplies, there are more general stores along the way
but selection is very limited. Shortly after the Park entrance the road
follows Annie Creek which carved a 85m Canyon into volcanic rock
formations. The park entrance fee of $10 is collected shortly after the
turnoff to the lake. Crater Lake is a popular park and view points along
the rim drive are most crowded around Discovery Point. Nice views of
Wizard Island can be seen between the watchman and Hillman Peak. The
detour to the Pinacles area is worthwhile. We left the park through the
pumice desert and started to head east on Hwy. 138. An abundance of US
Forest Service campgrounds lines the North Umpqua river. We spent the
night at Lemolo lake near the inlet (first left turn of the road to
Lemolo lake). Fee is $5, no showers, clean pit toilets, large sites with
quiet atmosphere. Mosquito repellent is a good idea.
Umpqua hot springs can be accessed from the Toketee junction, follow the
paved road and watch for the signs (2.3miles right then park after
2miles). The warm water was a good opportunity to get rid of some dust.
Our trip continues all the way along the Umpqua river which keeps
growing in size and changes the pace. The temperatures gradually warm up
as we drop in elevation. Clear skies and warm sunlight with a touch of
fall make this drive a beautiful experience. Low clouds of evening fog
finally anounce the near coast. A herd of Elk is living in a lush meadow
just outside Reedsport along hwy. 38.
Because of the coastal fog we decide to setup camp a few miles inland.
The visitor center in Reedsport provides a map with all the campgrounds
of Oregon. The only possibility to camp away from the coast is some 30
miles upriver of the Smith river. The site is situated right along the
water between old growth forrest.
BLM campground Sulphur Springs, pit toilet, no water, no fee. This might
not be a very quiet place on weekends, it is used by local Budweiser
Our effort to get away from the coast is rewarded with a warm sunny
morning. We continue to head north on hwy 101, the extension of the
legendary coast hwy 1 in California. Soon a small road sign “mushroom
buyer” makes us aware that the season just started. Ruth passion for
mushroom hunting immediately changes any plans and the rest of the day
we make very little progress to go north. An increasing volume of
delicious chanterelle mushrooms is soon big enough for an entire feast.
In the evening our legs hurt from scrambling up and down steep terrain,
but the delicious gourmet meal makes it all worth while.
Florence is a charming little town with an old center. Small shops with
a great variety of merchandise line the streets and the atmosphere is
not as much geared towards tourism like many other places.
Many campgrounds line the Oregon coast, they come in all kind of flavors
but most of them are quite large and are more RV type places.
Soon after Florence the road gets narrow and winds it’s way along the
rugged coast. Sea Lion Caves is a cavern which has an opening towards
the sea and as the name says it is used by sea lions as a place to rest.
The property is privately owned and the entrance fee of $6.50/person is
pretty steep, but at least they will tell you ahead of time if there are
sea lions around or not. Another gem is only a few miles north. The
Heceta lighthouse is nested in the green forest and is said to be the
most photographed lighthouse in the world. What I thought was the way to
the beach, turned out to be a paved road along the creek. As we drove I
spotted another chanterelle on the roadside. The rest of the day pretty
much ended up just like day 5! Be sure to stop at Cape Perpetua to see
the spouting horn. Many state parks charge a $3 parking fee. Once paid
it is valid for one day. The fees can quickly add up, if you plan to
spend a few days. An annual pass can be purchased for $25.
No more mushrooms! It is time to make some progress, otherwise we will
never get to Yellowstone. Around Newport the traffic gets quite busy but
Hwy. 101 turns east and if you are not in a hurry there is a detour to
Cape Kiwanda. The road meets 101 again in Tillamook. A nice 2-3 hour
round trip hike leads to the tip of cape lookout, no fees required. We
didn’t hike the trail because we would have never made it to the cape,
instead we would have returned with another batch of mushrooms!
Progress! The state line of Washington is on the beautiful Astoria
Bridge, which spans the Columbia river. Coming from San Francisco this
compliment really means something. The late afternoon sun puts a warm
golden touch on the yellow grass. This is always my favorite time of the
Of Hwy 101 we spent the night at the Lincoln county campground. A few
sites overlook the Willapa Bay. In a spectacular sunset the last rays
said good bye to the coast.
Campground south of the town of South Bend, flush toilets, showers,
$11/per night for campers & $1/person for shower usage.
Today’s drive is the first leg of a long and sometimes boring trip east.
Hwy. 6 connects with I5 south and then Hwy 12 east. Hwy 12 is a good
connection to Mt.St.Helens and Mt Rainer NP. White Pass steadily climbs
up to 4500 ft and offers views of Mt Rainer and an impressive wall of
basalt columns, similar to Devils Postpile NM, CA. The east side of
White Pass drops down to 1066 ft and the vegetation changes from a lush
green to very dry. The city sign of Yakima says Palm Springs of
Washington. Local peaches are a must and the best we ever tasted! That’s
when the boring part starts and cruise control is set and not touched
for hours. I82 east to I90 east.
There are only a few places for tent camping along I90 between
Ellensburg and Spokane. We stayed at Sprague Lake Resort. The place was
crawling with bugs and spiders and what seemed like an old railroad
track got awfully busy at night. The nice park like setting right on the
shore could not change our minds, we simply didn’t like the place. Flush
toilets, showers, $15.06/night for campers and $0.25 for showers.
The treck east on I90 continues. I never thought much of Spokane as a
city to visit, so we keep driving. Around Coeur D’Alene the landscape
gets more interesting and the freeway follows an old route which was
used by Native Americans, then by fur traders and finally by trains and
cars. Lookout pass is the border between Idaho and Montana, only 4725 ft
high the scene looks alpine and there is a small ski resort. Our next
stop is Missoula, my truck needs an oil change. But there is no such
thing on a Sunday. Because an old friend lives in Missoula I got a good
insight over time. The town is the biggest settlement for 100 miles no
matter which way you go, so there is a nice airport, lots of hardware
and outdoor stores! The university of Montana is also here, the main
faculty is of course forestry. The atmosphere is very peaceful and
nobody bothers to lock homes or cars. So Missoula has it all, Hippies,
loggers, cow boys and movie stars. That’s right some of Hollywood’s
acting fame comes to Missoula to recover from fancy competition over
We have a late start and get the oil changed, it is Monday so all the
businesses are open. Near Missoula is the neat ghost town Garnet. It
used to be a mining town and there were as many saloons as residential
buildings. Our way continues on I90 past Bozeman and then hwy 287
connects to West Yellowstone. Louis and Clark Caverns State Park is also
along the way. We camp near the tinny town Pony, it is actually on the
map, in a beautiful forest service campground. This night we get dumped
on (rain would not describe it right) but in the morning, the sun comes
out and quickly dries up all the water from the night.
Potosi Campground, no fee, pit toilets, water, spacious sites along a
creek. Follow signs when you get to Pony.
Finally we manage to get to West Yellowstone. The mornings are quite
cool now so getting out of the warm sleeping bag is delayed till the sun
warms up the tent. Hwy 287 is a scenic stretch of road and the forested
hills change to wide-open valleys with cattle ranches. Yellowstone NP
announces it self at Earthquake Lake. A massive landslide triggered by a
7.5 quake blocked a creek and formed the new lake. This makes us aware
that we enter a unsettled region which causes all the natural wonders of
Yellowstone NP. Because of the central location we decide to stay at
Norris campground in the national park. Norris can be a very cold place
at night, even in the summer. It appears that Yellowstone has enough
camping space at this time of year that even a late arrival is no
Yellowstone Park is the oldest national park and started today’s park
system. A three-day visit is a must because of the size and variety of
the park, also the weather can be unpredictable with snow flurries and
hail storms. The three main attractions are Mammoth Hot Springs, the
Geysers and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Because there are many
books and guides about the park I list a few of my favorite spots and
Echinus (Norris Geyser Basin) erupts every 3 hrs and one can get quite
close to the action. The waiting is rewarded with long eruptions, so
once you got the shot in your camera there is time to enjoy the show. Be
careful with your expensive camera lens, the hot water has an acidity
which can ruin optical coatings. The Great Fountain geyser (Firehole
Lake Drive) is next on my all time favorite list. Eruptions are very
impressive with beautiful scenery in the background. This geyser
requires a great deal of patience, a sign tells you when the last
performance took place and the time interval for the next. Stop by early
in your park visit to find out when to come back for the spectacle. This
geyser is very easy accessible by car. Of course a very steady performer
is Old Faithful and leaving the park without seeing it wouldn’t be
right. The eruptions are short but high and on a 62 minutes schedule. A
natural event staged in an arena surrounded by buildings is the down
side of Old Faithful.
If you get sick of all the fences signs and people then it is time to
head out on one of the many trails into the backcountry. We hiked from
Keppler Cascades to Shoshone Lake, this a easy 11 mile one way trip
which can be done in one day. The trail starts as a bike path to the
Lone Star geyser and then continues through open meadows and forests to
the Shoshone Geyser Basin. From there it’s another 20 minutes to the
lake. Be prepared for some mud and creek crossings without bridges.
Overnight trips require a free backcountry permit. Wildlife is abundant
through out the park, Buffaloes and Elk are used to road traffic however
Moose are quite shy and more likely to be found of the beaten path.
Another couple who spends a lot of time in the park suggested the hike
to Fairy Falls and the Imperial Geyser Basin.
Places to stay:
If the weather turns to cold and wet I like to stay at the Wagon Wheel
Campground and Cabins in West Yellowstone. A cabin for two is about
$80/night and comes with full bathroom and kitchen, larger cabins are
also available. The cabins are very comfortable and cozy; everything is
immaculate clean. Look for the road sign of Hwy 20 at the entrance of
Campgrounds in the park are basically spots to park a RV or pitch a tent
and cost $12/night, the sites are cramped in a small space. If you plan
to stay near the South entrance try the Grassy Lake turn off at Flagg
Ranch; follow the signs to Grassy Lake Road and soon you will find big
spacious camp sites in groups of 2 to 4 along the Snake River. These
sites are free and have first class pit toilets but no water. Hey I
rather spend $12 on a bottle of wine than tap water!
Drive to Boulder Lake through Teton NP. Hwy 191 leaves Yellowstone and
follows the Teton Range on the east side. Lakes, streams and forests
compose pristine alpine scenery along the way. Because we are spoiled by
the Swiss Alps (they are of course even more magnificent!) we continue
to head south through Wyoming. The Rocky Mountains dominate the
landscape and there would be a lot more wilderness to explore in the
Bridger-Teton Forest. We love to wear T-shirts and shorts, so lets go to
Hwy 191 does not offer good camping possibilities, a few parking lot
style RV parks are not what tenters enjoy. Boulder Lake was a good
alternative, the forest service campground is spacious and free, however
the pit toilets were in bad shape. From Boulder follow the signs to
Boulder Lake Rec. Area. Graded dirt road.
As we keep moving south the climate gets drier and soon the polar fleece
and shirts get stowed away. After crossing I80 the road heads towards
the Flaming Gorge NRA. The lake is a large reservoir along the Green
River with a deep blue color and red rock formations along the shore.
Many dirt roads leave hwy 191 towards the lake and the gently sloped
shore is excellent for primitive camping. Recently fees are collected
for day use, Golden Eagle Passes are included. There are no ranger
stations and obtaining a permit is not very easy (local stores). A
strong wind kept us from staying for the night and we ended up in a
motel in Vernal. How ironic, we endured the cold and rain not too long
ago and now that the temperatures are much more pleasant we stay
indoors. Well we tried to camp along the Green River and found no nice
spot, then we were hungry and had dinner.
This day turned out to be a lot more interesting than I thought.
Dinosaur NM is close to Vernal and could be visited in a day trip. I
like the park much more for it’s landscape and the rivers than for the
ancient bones. Dinosaurs are so popular today that there are many
displays else where which are a lot more elaborate, the parks quarry is
depleted and excavations stopped a long time ago (well this is relative
when you talk about dinos!). So we started driving and I set the cruise
control and listened to some old tunes. In Duchesne hwy 191 takes a left
turn which we missed and we kept going on 40 instead. Backtracking
didn’t seem right so we connected through Strawberry and Timber Canyon
to hwy 6. This turned out to be a very scenic route with deep canyons
and a gradual climb to over 9000ft. Recent rainfall made the trail along
the right fork of the White River quite messy. This creek is inhabited
by beavers and dams are everywhere. It was good to see that these
animals had an undisturbed live without special protection. Good
camping, primitive as well as developed, can be found in the canyons.
The rest of the day we spent driving towards Moab, the central location
for Arches and Canyonlands NP. Moab also has many backcountry camping
possibilities. Exploring dirt roads should be done with proper
equipment, flash floods and thunderstorms are not unusual!
Arches NP is a must when you plan a trip to Utah. The red rock
formations are truly amazing and colors get almost unreal right before
sunset. Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch are the most impressive natural
bridges found here, both require some hiking, there is also a car
accessible viewpoint for Delicate Arch. A long day is probably enough to
see most of the park. There are also some interesting 4X4 tracks
starting near the Klondike Bluffs. We also spent some time in Moab to
get supplies for the next few days in Canyon lands NP. The Shaefer Trail
is a dirt road which winds it’s way along spectacular canyon walls with
views of the Colorado and ends up on top of the Island in the Sky
plateau. High clearence 2X4 usually works fine, I wouldn’t recommend
sedans. Follow signs to Potash when you head out of Moab, it takes about
2.5hrs to get to the visitor center. Here you can also pick up permits
for the White Rim road. I planed to take on this 90-mile trip for
several years now, but somehow never managed. The fee is $25 no matter
how long you stay in the backcountry, so two nights seems a good choice.
The first day of the White Rim road adventure. After a cloudy night the
sun is out and burns us out of the tent in no time! For breakfast we
have freshly backed croissants, had to try the latest addition to our
camping gear, an oven. The first stretch is well graded and comes to a
first view point right at the canyon rim of the Green River. If you
already mastered the Shaefer Trail then you are prepared for the next
few miles. The road drops down into the canyon with many switchbacks,
this part is still well graded and well traveled. The right fork leads
to Mineral Bottom, a boat ramp. This section of the road is still
outside the NP and there are primitive campsites along the river. Relax
and enjoy the smooth ride. Right after the Hard Scramble campsite the
road climbs very sharply and follows a tinny ledge, barely wide enough
for a truck. Once you get to the top it is time to take a deep breath.
Time to engage low range 4X4 if you didn’t earlier. The road gets
extremely steep and rocky and ends up at river level.
There are two side trips along the way, Taylor canyon a 5.2 mile drive
and Fort Bottom Ruin Trail, a 2 mile hike. Taylor canyon features some
interesting rock pillars and ends at a trailhead.
It looks like we passed the most challenging sections. From the Green
River we climb up onto the plateau which gave this route the name. A
hard layer of sandstone is exposed along the cliffs and forms several
100ft vertical drops. The Wilhite Trail meets the dirt road 11 miles
after Potato Bottom where we spent the night. Five miles of steep hiking
lead to the Upheavel Dome Area, but the more interesting feature is
right below the road. A short slot canyon can be explored and give you a
little teaser for much deeper and longer canyons found in Utah and
Arizona. Near the confluence point of the Green River and the Colorado a
short side trip takes you out to the White Crack campsite. A 10 minute
hike leads to a small peninsula with an incredible view of canyons and
mesas, the rivers are hidden not too far in the distance. Across the
Colorado is the Needles District, which has more interesting hiking
trails than the Island in the Sky. We camped at Gooseberry, an
unattractive site with no shelter against wind and rain. This evening
two thunderstorms hit us. Fortunately the tent dries very quickly in the
blazing morning sun.
Several natural bridges are along the way on our drive out, the road is
sandy and we make good progress. Lathrop canyon is a 3.5 mile long side
trip which leads to the Colorado, we decided to skip this one because by
now we are worn out by all the potholes and rocks. Even if you are tired
the Colorado overlook is a must. The Colorado meanders and only a thin
wall separates the loop.
The Shaefer Trail is the shortest way back to pavement and civilization.
The White Rim Road passes almost all the natural beauty of Canyonlands,
even tough the whole trip is more than 100 strenuous miles. For a day
trip I would recommend the drive from Moab via Potash road to White
Crack and on the way back Lathrop Canyon if there is enough time and
leave via Shafer Trail. Make sure to leave the backcountry in the late
afternoon. Thunderstorms are frequent in the evenings and turn roads
into slick mud tracks. Keep track of travel times, speeding is no option
(average speed 10 mph)! Camping along Kane creek Road, just outside
Moab, fee $5, pit toilets, many different sites, lots of space.
Today is the 13th and it is one of these days where we should have
stayed put and wait for the 14th! After the controlled adventure in
Canyonlands we wanted to travel from Moab to the Needles via Lockhardt
Road. I tried this adventure a year ago and sunk my truck in a mud hole
to the point where I was already thinking about explaining this whole
situation to my insurance company! So being scared and stubborn at the
same time we started again. To make things short, this track is a
serious Jeep trail and I came to the conclusion that it was not worth
abusing my truck.
Frustrated and feed up we leave Moab and the red crumbly stuff behind
and head towards Natural Bridges NM. Hwy 95 leaves Hwy 191. On this
detour are numerous cliff dwellings we want to explore.
We spent the night along Comb Wash, a dirt road heads south of Hwy 95.
There are a few nice sites with pit toilets, which are free (the sites,
you know what I mean). Most of the day we spend hiking in side canyons
and looking for cliff dwellings. There are also some ruins along hwy 95,
which are not nearly as crowded as popular places like Mesa Verde. The
valleys on both sides of the Comb Ridge have an inviting character and
we didn’t see anybody else all day. All the dirt roads were freshly
graded and with the exception of soft sand spots can be managed with
just about any vehicle. Natural Bridges NM is also near by, a different
flavor of the theme. The arches where carved out by water and wind and
span a canyon. Don’t bother with the NM overflow campground, instead
take 228 Elk Ridge Road which leads into Manti-Lasal NF.
We skip Natural Bridges this year and headed for the Valley of Gods.
This short loop leaves hwy 163 (look for the road sign) and ends at hwy
261. All the sudden we are back in prime tourist territory, this road is
mentioned in travel guides and rental cars come by quite often. At first
it appeared that there were no descent camp spots here, but we managed
to pull a few hundred feet away from the road in an area with some
It always amazes me how early some tourists manage to start the day;
well before 9 am the first rental cars showed up on the dirt. Definitely
not my idea of a good vacation! Our next stop today is the Monument
Valley, the ultimate western movie scenery. Monument Valley is part of
the Navajo reservation and Native Americans live here. Following the
example of federal and state parks the Navajo established their own park
with a $2.50 admission fee. A dirt road takes you up close to the rock
formation and gives you a much better feeling for the region. At first I
wanted to leave this place as quickly as possible because of all the
tourists, dust clouds and dozens of souvenir stands everywhere, but then
we got to artist’s point with a great view. My thoughts trailed off into
the wide-open space ahead of me and I started to enjoy the scenery. The
best time to visit is early morning, try to beat the big crowds. We left
at noon and the tour buses started to roll in by the dozens.
Angel peak national recreation site lies in the north-western corner of
New Mexico and is the destination for tonight. First we need to get some
supplies in Bloomfield because once again this is the only opportunity
along the way. Well there must be some advantage to get up early, we
arrive after dark and camping doesn’t get easier at night. No fee, pit
After a chilly night we wake up surrounded by the badlands of New
Mexico. Our tent site is right on the edge of a cliff, the boundary of
the eroded area. The badlands are comparable to formations in the
Dakotas but more interesting in their coloring. The experience is
disturbed by countless compressors, which are running 24 hrs a day to
exploit natural gas. Instead of spending more time here we decide to
move on to the Bisti-De-Na-Zin Wilderness. There are countless dirt
roads in the area and no landmarks. From 44 which some maps show as 550
take 57 west at the Blanco Trading Post. Follow the road for about 3
miles, at the y-intersection take the right leg, then follow that dirt
road (west) till you come to a T. This is the boundary of the Wilderness
area. Make a left turn and look for the trailhead parking area. There
are no trails once you get into the badlands. Quiet and solitude is what
I treasure in the desert and that’s what we found here. Petrified wood
is everywhere and fossils can be found as well. Unfortunately this area
is also threatened by gas exploitation.
Along 57 is a mission with an Indian craft store. We got a lot of
insight into the live style of the Navajos and we were assured that most
of the store’s income is passed on to the artists. Some trading posts
have mark ups of a factor of 10 and that doesn’t seem right. The prizes
might be somewhat lower than big trading posts.
Camping at Chaco Culture NHP, fee $10, water, no showers. We liked some
of the tent sites, which are nested between big boulders in a small side
canyon. Arriving late is no problem in mid September, we found several
Time to explore some more ancient ruins. Chaco Canyon flourished around
1000 AD and like many other settlements this one also was abandoned for
unknown reasons. Unlike other ruins the buildings here are free
standing and 2 to 3 stories high. Masonry was done in a very precise and
skillful fashion, some walls even show built in patterns. I like Chaco
Canyon because it is of the beaten path and there are so many ruins and
trails to see that it never seems to be over crowded. This might change
however because BBC is shooting a documentary and the resulting
publicity might increase visitation. It takes a day to explore different
sites and hike a couple of trails. We kept the camp spot from last
Against all recommendations we leave the park through the south
entrance. The dirt road was a bit rougher than CR7900 and rain could
make things really messy, but the signs “extremely rough road” are flat
out stupid. Hwy 371 or 509 quickly connect to I40. We took a detour
through Cibola NF via Milan, 568 FR108, FR178 and 612 to pick up some
firewood. It was good to see some real forest and clear creeks after all
the shrubs and mud holes! We spend the night in a motel in Flagstaff,
needed a shower and some thunderstorms are also in the area. Chez Marc
is the French restaurant in town, food was excellent from start to
finish and the ambience was very nice as well. Expect to spend $50-75
Oak Creek Canyon is a very popular attraction and hwy alt89 runs right
through the canyon. White and red sandstone eroded to towers and spires,
which are in color contrast with the green forest. Temperatures rapidly
climb as the road gets deeper in the canyon. Sedona is the gateway on
the southern end, a town with the sole purpose of tourism. Motels, gift
shops and restaurants line the main drag. Most of the backcountry is
protected by wilderness areas and can only be explored on foot or
horseback. There are numerous off road tour operators, which take you
out towards Secret Mountain Wilderness. Excellent views can be seen on a
loop which starts at Red Canyon Rd, right on FR152c/Boyton Rd, right on
FR152/Long Canyon Rd. The signs suggest high clearence 2wd, but we have
seen numerous rental cars as well. We drove the other way round and had
the scenery in the rear view mirror, camping is restricted but there is
a short stretch along Red Canyon Rd where camping is allowed. No
services, no fees.
What a crazy night! The atmosphere was rather unsettled and dumping is
not even close to what we got last night. A slow morning with hot
temperatures helps to recover and dry all the gear. We return to alt 89
and drive towards the Black Hills. Jerome is an old copper mining town,
actually more a ghost town. The houses are precauriously perched on
steep hillsides and a winding road slowly works it’s way up the
mountain. The drive is beautiful but does take some time. On hwy 89 we
head north again and turn east towards Perkinsville. A lot of forest
roads crisscross the Kaibab NF, but there are also good road signs.
Because it is late and we don’t feel like searching for a nice spot we
decide to camp at White Horse Lake. The Campground is nearly empty and
seems much too big for the little lake, a classic case of over
development. Our site has a nice view and the elk bulls are ….. Well
they are horny and very vocal about it!
Fee is $10, no showers, high tech pit toilets, drinking water.
After the camp host’s generator hummed for hours last evening we think
that the campground was not worth it, especially after we start driving
towards Sycamore Canyon. Large meadows with blooming flowers are
spreading warmth and friendliness. The viewpoint over looks the canyon
to the north and south. A pristine wilderness lies in front of us and
even backpacking would take days to explore only a small portion.
On well-graded dirt roads and I 40 the drive to Flagstaff doesn’t take
much time. Once again the truck needs an oil change, unfortunately I can
not recommend the place (Econo Lube, Flagstaff). At Lee’s Ferry, Glen
Canyon NRA (north on hwy 89) we stop for the night. What a difference!
Evening temperatures are still very pleasant and the landscape is lit by
Fee $10, water but no showers.
Over night a storm moved in and now the sky is grey. Lee’s Ferry is the
place where rafts set into the Colorado and start the journey through
the Grand Canyon. The Paria River runs into the Colorado here and some
small rapids form. Even though it is really hot today we don’t fell like
swimming, the water temperature stays very cold year round.
We head east on hwy alt 89 and shortly after the Cliff Dweller Lodge
make a left turn towards Marble Canyon. The dirt road is poorly
maintained and it seems like nobody ever goes this way. It takes almost
an hour to get to the canyon rim. The view is quite impressive and we
get a first idea of the Grand Canyon. Rain quickly comes closer and we
need to leave in a hurry, otherwise we will be stuck for a while. Our
plans to explore the Paria Canyon are also dead now; hiking in slot
canyons requires unconditional sunshine!
This night we end up staying in a motel in Kanab. Nedra’s in Fredonia is
a mexican place which serves excellent food and also tells you about the
many movies which were filmed in the region. Even Clint Eastwood once
had dinner there. The waitress is a true Cowgirl and knows a lot of
interesting stories too. We had dinner for less than $15.
For breakfast we chose Emilie’s Café in Kanab. The place is decorated
with attention to details and we enjoyed the genuine hospitality. It
seems like most of the storm passed by now; time to explore the
backcountry of the Arizona Strip. We have a special place we like to go
back to. There is so much to see and discover and there are
extraordinary places to camp. No services out there, so you need to
bring everything yourself. Rain turns the roads into mud holes.
Time to see the real thing, we head for the North Rim of the Grand
Canyon. Even though this NP is visited by 11 mil tourists every year
there is still some room for uncrowded view points
Coyote wash camping
Page fix flat. Coral pink sand dunes SP.
Burr Trail Boulder water pocketfold. Camping towards Lampstand
Waterpocketfold Bulfrog babsin…..Sssslot canyon Camping Lake Powell,
Glen Canyon NRA
Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley to I70.
Mono Lake, Tioga pass, Home sweet home