We were able to get only one overnight backcountry permit on the White Rim Road for October 20 to 21. The 100-mile White Rim Road loops around and below the Island in the Sky mesa top, and this road was on our bucket-list of adventures. The White Rim Road was constructed in the 1950’s by the Atomic Energy Commission to gain access to the uranium deposits in this area. However, the mines produced very little uranium and were soon abandoned. The road gets its name because it traverses the top of White Rim Sandstone, this is the layer of rock that sits right below the mesa of Island in the Sky. We started our adventure on the Mineral Springs switchbacks and drove along the Green River to the Labyrinth campsites, our stop for the night. The road along the Green River was very narrow with a drop off into the river. If you have a fear of heights, you might want to skip this drive. We made it to our campsite and set up camp next to the Green River, a spectacular setting and so surreal. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset before heading to bed. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
We finally were able to get reservations at Spanish Trails RV Park in Moab for 5 days in October. The town was packed with tourists and cars everywhere. We went to Arches National Park and saw the North and South Windows Arches, Turret Arch, and Double Arch across the parking lot. They are still fantastic to see up close, and to be able to climb around and under the massive red rock arches was so impressive. We drove the 4WD road out to Tower Arch which we had not experienced before because it is a long way from the main road. The 4WD road was very rough and took us quite some time to go 3.2 miles, but what a blast! Once we arrived at the parking lot we could see Tower Arch, and we walked up to the viewpoint to get a stunning view of the 92-wide span and its namesake Tower that rises behind to the north of the arch. We scrambled up the slick rock ledges to the inside of the arch where we had a terrific view of the La Sal Mountains to the east. We went back on Salt Valley Road watched the sunset as we reached the paved road and back to the RV. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
Sunrise from Toroweap Point
On October 3-5, 2020, we went on another great trip while staying in Kanab. A three day car-camping trip to Toroweap Overlook (also known as Tuweep Overlook or Toroweap Point), a viewpoint within the Grand Canyon National Park on the North Rim. The overlook is the only viewpoint in the National Park from where the Colorado River can be seen 3,000 feet vertically below the rim. We got a two night Backcountry Permit at the Tuweep Campground, the only campground at the North Rim’s most remote viewpoint. We drove the 61-mile 4WD road out to Toroweap Overlook, and got the best campsite at the Tuweep Campground. After setting up camp we drove 1 mile to the Toroweap Overlook, and it is truly THE most spectacular view in all the Grand Canyon, because the canyon is less than a mile wide. Toroweap Overlook at an elevation of 4,600 feet, is on a broad platform called an Esplanade, with the Colorado River clearly flowing 3,000 feet straight below. Continue reading
September is the perfect month to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon because the fall foliage is so colorful. Our first trip was the drive out to Sublime Point on a 4WD road. The drive begins a couple miles from the North Rim’s Grand Canyon Lodge, along a dirt road in the Kaibab National Forest. About 4 miles in we came to an impressive meadow, where bright-green ferns and deep-orange Ponderosas mark the passage and many young-quaking Aspens. At about 12 miles, we stopped at the first view we could see of the Grand Canyon. The next 4 miles we were in the woods and then it opens up with sheer drop-offs close in on both sides of the road, and Point Sublime at the end. Stunning, spectacular, sensational, and sublime are the words that come to mind on our first view from Point Sublime. We were sorry that we could not get camping permits here but we stayed and enjoyed lunch taking in the amazing sight of another of Mother Nature’s handiwork, the Grand Canyon in all its glory. We left Point Sublime and looked for a campsite in the Kaibab National Forest on the way to the Rainbow Rim Trail. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
The Witch’s Hat
Coyote Buttes North which holds The Wave is well known, but there is another nearby area that has just as fascinating formations and is much easier to get permits, Coyote Buttes South. Today we got permits to visit Coyotes Buttes South, located in just a small part of the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. It supposedly has some of the most visually striking geologic sandstone formations in the world. We drove 11.5 miles to the Cottonwood Cove Trailhead which accessible only by 4WD vehicle due to extremely sandy conditions. When we finally arrived there was only one couple there, we had the whole place to ourselves as we explored all the sandstone formations. Such as, the Control Tower, the Witch’s Hat or Sea Horse, and the Teepees in the distance. We followed the Alltrails map so we wouldn’t get lost in the middle of Coyote Buttes South, and we finally made it back to the Jeep. This is definitely a must visit area and it would be fun to come back and camp for 2 nights. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
Finally after six days of trying to get a permit for The Wave I was successful with lucky number 12, on Saturday, June 20th. The Wave, located within the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, is the premier photographic destination in the US Southwest. Only 20 permits per day (10 on-line and 10 walk-in) are available and demand far exceeds supply, so I was ecstatic when number 12 was drawn on my sixth day of getting up at seven to be there early to pick my lucky number. On June 21st, Father’s Day, we were heading out to see The Wave at 6 am from Kanab. We watched the sunrise as we drove along US-89 to the turn off for House Rock Valley Road, and drove 8.4 miles to the Wire Pass Trailhead, which is the gateway to some spectacular scenery and hiking, including The Wave and Buckskin Gulch. It’s a six mile round trip hike in required to get to The Wave, and there are a small number of cairns along the way. We started our hike to The Wave by signing the trailhead register and crossing House Rock Road to follow the Wire Pass wash for a half mile to a sign marked Coyote Butte North on the right. It took us about 90 minutes to get to The Wave, and the light was still perfect, you want to be there just after sunrise, to get great photos of all the beautiful sandstone formations and colors in The Wave. We were fortunate to have The Wave all to ourselves for a short time, and then there were only six other people who showed up while we were there. Continue reading
On June 13th, 2020, we arrived at the Grand Plateau RV Resort, Kanab’s newest RV Resort, in Utah, for an extended stay of 3 weeks. Every morning I went to the gym in Kanab to try and get permits to the Wave and when I wasn’t successful we went to discover other beautiful places in the area. One day we drove to Alstrom Point, “The Path less Travelled”, in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. From Big Water, Utah we drove the scenic 4×4 dirt road with Hoodoos and other geological features along the route before reaching the last 3 miles, where the fun began, as Bob guided our Jeep on a technical 4WD rocky section arriving at the remote Alstrom Point. Alstrom Point has a magical view overlooking Lake Powell. The blue water of Lake Powell contrasts with the red rocks and the canyons all around us, as far as you could see makes for a special place. At the overlook we enjoyed the sweeping views of winding Lake Powell and wind-eroded sandstone formations like hoodoos, we couldn’t get enough of this magnificent view. Continue reading
Gunnison River at the base of Black Canyon of the Gunnison
We left Cedar City, Utah, on April 18th and drove to Grand Junction, Colorado, the drive through the mountains along Highway 70 was really beautiful. We checked into the Junction West RV Park for a week. Our first sight to explore was the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, where we saw the steepest cliffs, oldest rocks, and the craggiest spires in North America. The Black Canyon is so named because its steepness makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate into its depth, and parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day. At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40ft wide at the river. However, we were there on a cloudy day so it was mostly grey in color from deep in the gorge to the sky above. The Black Canyon was officially discovered by Captain John Williams Gunnison in 1853, who was leading an expedition to survey a route from Saint Louis to San Francisco. He was killed by the Ute Indians later that year, and the river they named the Grand was renamed in his honor. In 1881, William Jackson Palmer’s DENVER and RIO GRANDE Railroad, (a narrow 3′ gauge rail line) had reached Gunnison from Denver to provide a link to the burgeoning gold and silver mines. And on August 13,1882, the first passenger train passed through the Black Canyon and continued service until the route was finally abandoned in the early 1950s.
“Such a feat of railroad engineering probably can not be found in the world”.
Arrived in Flagstaff, AZ and staying at the J and H RV Park just north of Flagstaff for a few days. Spent a fabulous day driving to the Grand Canyon East Entrance from Cameron along the Desert View Scenic Drive. The views along the way were beautiful and we stopped at several lookouts before arriving at the historic Watchtower. The Indian Watchtower at Desert View, is a 70-foot high stone building, and the four-story structure was completed in 1932. The tower was designed to resemble an Ancient Pueblo Peoples watchtower. The main space is the Kiva Room in the base structure, and features a fireplace with a large picture window directly above where the chimney would ordinarily go. The tower is decorated by bold murals by Fred Kabotie. The small windows in the tower’s shaft let beams of light into the space as we climbed up the small staircase. The upper floors serve as an observation deck from which we can view the eastern portions of the Grand Canyon. The views were spectacular from this vantage point. Click on thumbnail to view image Continue reading
From Albuquerque we drove to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, created in 1907 as Chaco Canyon National Monument, in 1980 became the Culture Center, and in 1987, a World Heritage Site. The Chaco people made this high desert valley the center of their world 1,100 to 1,200 years ago. They began to build here on a grand scale in the mid-800s, and ruins of the great houses of Pueblo Bonito, Una Vida, and Penasco Blanco are still intact today. We started are tour at the Visitor Center then drove the loop road exploring the magnificent houses of Pueblo Bonito and Chetro Keti. We were fortunate to get on a guided tour of the Pueblo del Arroyo, Spanish for “village by the wash”. We crawled through tunnels and into small dark rooms where they stored the food. After the tour we did the Pueblo Alto Loop Trail hike, 5.4 miles R/T, where we had spectacular overlook views of Pueblo Bonito and Chetro Keti. We explored the sites of Pueblo Alto and New Alto and passed by the Chacoan stairways, the Chacoan “road” system. The roads linked the great houses in the core of Chaco Canyon to far-off communities. Whenever the Chacoan road builders encountered a cliff, stairways or ramps were constructed to continue to straight road alignments. The panoramic views of the San Juan Basin was breathtaking. Chaco Canyon is well worth the visit as it is one of the most amazing places in the country and one day is not enough time to explore the entire Canyon and Culture. We hope to return and camp for a few nights Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading