Month: July 2022

Hike to Ooo Ahh Point, Grand Canyon National Park

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

We went to watch the sunrise at Yaki Point. Others had picked their spots long before us, some bringing chairs. 

We then went to the Kaibab Trail Head, opting to walk .9 mile to Ooo Ahh Point. There are other turn around places, but we didn’t want to push our luck. It was a pretty morning, maybe 75 degrees and shady. Walking down in easy enough. We followed three girls, one videoing the whole thing on her phone. At Ooo Ahh, they took turns taking pictures of each other standing on a rock.

The walk back up wasn’t terrible, so we rewarded ourselves with coffee and huevos ranchos at Bright Angel Lodge. Elk were trimming the bushes all around the lodge! Walking behind the lodge, we went to the geology museum on the edge of the canyon. A little further west we came to the Kolb Studio and museum. The Kolb brothers came in the late 1800’s and spent their lives here, exploring, photographing, filming a trip down the Colorado through the canyon, and did a lot to bring visitors. Incredibly brave, it is amazing what they accomplished.

Outside the museum we saw a riders coming up the trail on the famous mules. We followed them to the hitching rail where the mules were given water. They were good-looking mules and happy to get their sweaty heads rubbed. A guide said it is a two hour ride down and 4.5 hours back up. The riders looked tired as well. I would like to take that trip!

Back at camp, a beautiful elk buck came to visit, lying down in the shade just behind the picnic table. It was a good day!

Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center and South Rim Trail

Monday, July 18, 2022

What a change! From 107 degree highs with little escape to 59 degree low in Ten-X Campground in the Kaibab National Forest 10 miles south of  of Grand Canyon National Park. We went to sleep with all the windows open after a lovely stir-fry dinner while watching three elk bucks wander through the campground. 

I was awakened by talking and laughter outside our front window. A group of young campers had come in and were setting up just across from us at 11:30. Speaking Chinese I think, they were having a big time, but with no regard for their neighbors. I resisted the urge to go out in my underwear and tell them to consider others.

We slept relatively late. There was an unexpected time change, as Arizona doesn’t recognize daylight savings time. As we got ready for the day and tried to find Martha’s lost iPad, I slammed my car door several times. I wanted to honk the horn, but Martha said I would wake our nice neighbors to the right. They had come in yesterday afternoon in a big camper with a young boy and girl. After setting up, he came over to introduce himself. They are from Michigan and have been on the road for a couple of weeks. It was cool to watch the whole family do their part of the set-up. Then the little boy hopped on his bike and explored the campground.

There is a small city at the south rim around the Visitor’s Center. There are stores, restaurants, coffee houses, hotels, two campgrounds, a services center, everything you need in a maze of roads. Like Zion, the Visitor’s Center is mostly outdoors, using sign’s to give you information. Angel’s Landing hike in Zion gains 1600’ and is considered difficult. The Bright Angel Trail here is 5,000’ change in elevation and 25-20 degrees in temperature. You would have to carry a gallon of water and four sandwiches for each direction.

We opted to walk the rim trail, which is really a road. It was fairly crowded, and most people were nice. One big group however, decided to take 30 pictures at a big overlook with no concern for others. Like Zion, people come from all over the world, speaking many languages.

Martha pointed out a lady taking pictures of goats. I quickly turned around to see her. She smiled and pointed to a rock platform where there were five or six goats. Of course I had a 35-70mm lens, but she was shooting with a phone. She went ahead along the rim to get closer and I followed. She left the rim, going down the side to get closer. At first I refused, but seeing it was a well-worn path, I followed, and we got some pretty good shots. We have been looking for goats for a month. Then they show up in numbers right below the busy Rim Trail.

I looked through several stores for a 30 amp breaker switch with no luck. Our air conditioner has been tripping that breaker, and the top three breakers get very hot. Worrying about a fire, I shut it down for a couple of hours. In Zion, where high temperatures were 104-110 every day, it was torture. We finally learned to nurse it by setting it to 84 at night, and gradually lowering it through the night.

Martha Googled RV electricians and called one. The secretary said he had stepped out and would call us back. The next day Jeff with a southern accent, called. I explained the problem to him. He said it sounded like a breaker problem, so I asked if he could come and help us with it. He asked where we were, and I told him Watchman Campground. I was surprised when he said he never heard of that. When I said it is in Zion National Park, Jeff said he was in Arkansas!! We both got a laugh, then he proceeded to tell me what to do. I could barely hear him, but I thanked him profusely. 

I then emailed Lew Farber, who did all my solar work. A quick reply said it was strange it didn’t trip the 20 amp air conditioner breaker. He recommended replacing the breaker and see what happens. 

A man told Martha there was a hardware store in Valle, 20 miles south. Otherwise, it’s an hour and a half to Flagstaff.

Move to Ten-X Campground

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Back on Rt. 89 going south, it was hot, very hot. Our 4.5-hour drive was at first very pretty, but then became more of a desert. we stopped at the very nice Glazier’s Market in Kanab, Utah and stocked up. They gave us a receipt for 15% off at their gas station.

Crossing into Arizona, we stopped for lunch at an overlook of the Colorado River and Lake Powell, which is now at 27% capacity. It was a nice spot for lunch under a covered picnic area.

The next two hours was desert, and the land looked like a giant gravel yard with gravel mountains. As we began to climb the mountain into the huge Kaibab National Forest, it became more green and temperatures dropped from 105 to 88 at the top.

We entered Grand Canyon National Park, showing our Senior Pass, and drove south on Rt. 64 to Ten-X Campground in the national forest. Two reasons led me to Ten-X. first I couldn’t get a site in the park, and second there were pictures of elk in the Ten-X campground. It is also in a forest, and well-shaded.

We liked our campsite fortunately, because we would be here for a week. Ten-X got its name because it is 10 miles from the south entrance to the park. We hope to visit the north rim later, but we will still be in the Kaibab National Forest.

We took a drive up to the Visitor’s Center, which has moved outside, using big signs to introduce visitors to the park. We walked along the South Rim Trail for a while. It is so immense, it boggles the mind. The Colorado travels 277 miles through the park, is about one mile deep and 10 miles across. At the narrowest point, it is 600 yards across. The river’s average width is 300 feet across, although it narrows to only 76 feet wide at mile 135, where the river, 85 feet deep, is also at its deepest. On average, the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon is 40 feet deep. (https://www.gcex.com/grand-canyon-trivia/) One sign said it is the largest example of erosion in the world. 

Three beautiful bucks came to visit

Canyon Overlook Trail, Zion National Park

Friday, July 15, 2022

On our last day with Karen, Josh and Melissa, we drove north through the tunnel to hike the Canyon Overlook Trail, the shortest hike in the park that provides a view of the canyon. It has some unique features that keep it interesting, but the views are spectacular. 

People were lined up to come up as we were going back down. It’s a very small parking lot, so a lot of people park along the road, which makes driving hazardous. 

Martha asked me recently what my favorite park has been on this trip. I don’t know that I have a favorite. They are all spectacular in their own way, or they wouldn’t have become a national park, but Zion has to be the most photogenic! 

Back at camp, Karen and the kids packed up, and we drove to St. George Regional Airport. It’s a small, but very modern airport. Karen said no one was at the counter when they went in, but it all worked out, and they arrived home the next morning safe, but very tired. 

At 5:30 PM

Angel’s Landing

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Much has been written about Angel’s Landing Trail; how difficult it is; how scary it is and how dangerous it is. There is a narrow section to cross at the top where two steel cables give you something to hold onto. I told Karen I would give it a go, but reserved the right to turn back at any time. We couldn’t get tickets to take the last part, but we could hike to an Scout Lookout just before the crazy part, which was fine with me.

An excellent, paved path wound up and around the mountain, gaining 1,100′ in altitude. I had to stop to catch my breath a number of times, but we made it to the Lookout along with a bunch of others. I was surprised to see bathrooms up there! It is, however, the most popular and highly-rated hikes in the southwest. the views were spectacular, but I was happy we weren’t going the rest of the way. My legs were shaky enough from hiking up, and cliffs and steep fall-offs scare me to death! If I made it, I’m sure Martha could have made it too.

The Watchman Trail, Zion National Park

Wednesday afternoon, July 13, 2022

It has been hot, very hot, in Zion National Park. Temperatures soar over 100o in the middle of the day. Our air conditioner can’t keep up, often tripping the 30amp breaker to the Inverter. Makes us all a bit grumpy mid-day. Our routine is to get out early and hike, come back for lunch, quiet hour, then an afternoon hike.

The afternoon hike was The Watchman, for which our campground is named. The trail winds around a canyon and to the top of a mesa. Two REI tour guides were giving a tour, so we got to listen to the comments. The mountain is called The Watchman because it is the last in line and looks back up the valley at all the other mountains that make up Zion National Park.

As we stood admiring the scenery, a man in his 60’s came for his afternoon run, jogging past the people, down the mesa, back up, then down the trail! It is a beautiful spot and well-worth the effort.

Emerald Pools Hike, Zion National Park

Wednesday morning, July 13, 2022 

You cannot drive on the Scenic Drive, so we took the bus. They come every five minutes or so, and are very efficient and polite, often giving the weather report and offering advice for the each stop. Zion is a very busy park, but they do a wonderful job of managing it.

We got off at the Court of The Patriots, where magnificent mountains surround a small cove. Then we set out to hike the Emerald Pools Trail. The pools weren’t in their full splendor, but the scenery was magnificent. I took a video of a showering, 200′ waterfall, but it requires more data than I have on my phone to upload. I put this on my “Favorite Hikes” list. With a waterfall (and another when it rains), pools and spectacular scenery, what better way to spend a couple of hours!

The Narrows, Zion National Park

July 11/12, 2022

Featured picture by Karen Human

We drove north from Cannonville, through Tropic and Bryce on Rt. 12 and turned south on 89. I read an article called “Everything’s Fine on 89”, which I can’t find now. From https://usroute89.com: “Tour seven National parks, fourteen National Monuments and three Heritage Areas all on one road. It runs north/south from Canada to Mexico, named #1 Drivers’ Drive in the World by National Geographic.” There is a Road Trip Map Book on US Route 89. We have driven it several times on this trip, but I may have to make a point of driving all of it.

We stopped at the Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel so the tunnel could be cleared for us to drive the 1-mile tunnel right down the middle. Having ripped off the air conditioner from my trailer on a covered bridge, I am a bit sensitive about tunnels and bridges. This one is pretty cool though, and an incredible engineering feat. Zion’s mountains are breath-taking. 

We stopped for lunch at an overlook, taking pictures on both sides of the road. I talked to a man who parked his brand new Bronco behind us. It’s a pretty car with some great features. He said he had waited seven months to get it, but it was worth it. He loves it!

We wound our way down the valley walled by incredible, towering mountains on both sides. We turned into Watchman Campground and backed into a nice site, B20 and set up. It was hot, very hot, so we walked down to the Virgin River, a beautiful, clear stream and stepped in. There is a toxic Cyanobacterium Bloom in the river, so we are warned not to submerge your head or drink the water. 

Upstream, people sat in chairs in the water while their dogs romped up and down stream. Too bad because the stream is a great relief from the heat, and we want to hike The Narrows, which follows the river up a narrow canyon.

Our air conditioner can’t keep up with this heat. It trips the 30 amp breaker to the Inverter, which gets very hot. I have to let it rest a while before trying it again. Between cell phone reception and heat, our guests’ nerves are getting tested. The kids have been on a number of trips with us, so they are pretty familiar with the Airstream. This is the first extended trip for Karen, so she has a lot more to get used to. I admire her resolve. Our routine is to do a hike in the morning, come back, have lunch, take a nap and another hike in the evening.

We set out the next morning to hike The Narrows. I went in my fishing boots, while Martha and Josh rented wading boots. We all rented walking sticks. It’s a cool hike, not unlike trout fishing where you wade from one side to the other, or along a path on the side as you navigate upstream. The man at the rental center said it gets up to your chest in places, so I didn’t bring my camera. It never got up to my waist. especially coming back down, Melissa happily walked right down the middle of the stream, enjoying the cool waters.

Karen and I commented on the crowds not being so bad, but as these things go, around the next corner, the hoards came upstream, carrying dogs and babies. 

It’s a cool hike to where the stream splits. Going further would eliminate 96% of the crowd, but we turned around at the fork.

by Karen Human

BRYCE WILDLIFE  OUTFITTERS ATV & OHV Rentals

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Karen set up an ATV self-guided tour at Bryce Wildlife Outfitters. Martha opted out for this one, because they only seat four in the vehicle. Jeff got out a map and asked who the navigator was going to be. Josh said he was the navigator. Jeff has a great way of explaining as well as keeping the attention of a boy. Josh has always been good at directions, and he was paying full attention. I guess they have had all kinds of experiences over the years. He showed a picture of a recent wreck when someone was going too fast. We had two hours to do our tour, go up this road and say hi to the prairie dogs, then go up here and hug some of some very old trees. Come back and visit the prairie dogs. “At the reservoir, you can take the short way or the long way around, but watch your time.”

Jeff and another man led us up a gravel road to the first turn and wished us well. Karen drove very well, and I was surprised how well it took the bumps. Sure enough we stopped at the prairie dog village admiring the cute little critters. On up the road Josh hugged an old tree

After the tree-hugging area with a view, Karen let me drive. I have never driven one before, and I liked it. All the wheels can move up and down, smoothing out the ride. These are Honda machines with good engines. I think Jeff said they go for $13,000. I can see how people get attached to them. They just make too much noise. Maybe when they make electric ones.

Whenever we came to a turn, Josh looked at the map and made the right decisions. We saw a few deer and some cows and took the long way around the reservoir. I gunned it a couple of times for fun, but quickly remembered my precious cargo. We made it back to the outfitter with the red roof a little late, but not bad. It was fun, and I thank Karen for handling everything. It was a nice change.

It was late for dinner at the campground, so we stopped at Rustler’s Restaurant for dinner. I called Martha to see if she would like to join us, but she had already eaten. They do an outstanding job with good food and good service. I had a nice red trout, whatever that is, and good vegetables.

Cannonville and Tropic are nice, little towns outside the park, with good stores, gas stations, food and ice cream. Nice! I like it here! I also like our Bryce Canyon RV Resort, that used to be a KOA Journey, but has been recently bought. They are doing a great job. My air conditioner continues to trip the breaker though. I have to baby it!

Kodachrome Basin State Park

Sunday, July 10, 2022

We took two hikes through Kodachrome Valley State Park. It is described as a basin within a much larger basin. Once filled by the Cretaceous Sea, these basins were filled with water when the seas receded. So many of the southwest’s unique rock shapes, colors and forms were created by these seas and sometimes raging rivers. It is hard to imagine now in these dry lands, but it was much different 170 million years ago.

It was overcast, which made for a perfect day for hiking, but the colors don’t show up unless the sun is shining. Still, it was cool. We were surprised to find two campgrounds, a visitor’s center, and even a laundry! The park was named by a National Geographic expedition that photographed the area in 1948 and published an article.

At a crossroad, we read a sign pointing the way to Escalante National Monument, 45 miles on a gravel road through the Grand Staircase on a gravel road to Rt. 89.

We were all a bit worn out, so we took a break the rest of the day. I finally had time to fix a small leak under the sink and looked into the drive to Zion National Park tomorrow and through the Zion 

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