Category: Ten-X Campground, Kainab National Forest

Move to Monument Valley

We have been in a lot of places without cell coverage or WIFI, so I am 21 days behind! We have been in some spectacular places. Our national parks and monuments are great places. For the next 12 days, we should have good service, so I should catch up.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

We packed up at Ten-X Campground, with one more visit by our elk. Suddenly, there were barking dogs. I looked up to see a couple of mixed breed medium-sized dogs running after the elk. He took off at a big trot, leading those dogs to who knows where. Soon a young lady came after them, calling futilely. She may never see those dogs again, depending on how long they chase the elk, and if they have any sense of finding their way back to the campground.

 We hooked up and headed east, making one last stop at Lipan Point for some spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. Once down the mountain, we turned northeast on Rt. 160 toward Monument Valley. We were a little concerned about the heat, as we had been very comfortable at Ten-X. Except for the yellow jacket invasion, I would rate the campground a 9 or 10. As we drove out, we saw traps that were working well around the fresh water spigots. 

It was about a 2.5 hour pleasant drive to Monument Valley KOA campground. Once settled, we went to the Visitor’s Center. Although open, it was pretty stark inside. We wandered around reading signs and looking at pictures. A young foreign couple asked an employee about maps and trails. She was very curt. “All we do is sell maps. We don’t take credit cards. This is an all-cash park.” She gave them no information or help of any sort and should be relieved of her position immediately. The Welcome Center was not very welcoming.

We drove through the traffic circle to Goulding’s Lodge and Trading Post to look around. Harry and Leone (called Mike) Goulding came here in the 1920’s, starting the trading post, hotel and bringing people here to see this great place. They were influential in bringing John Ford here. Ford would later film “Stagecoach” here. That would start a long history of movie-making in Monument Valley.

Back at the KOA, a big, black storm was approaching from the north. With monuments right on the other side of the street, we headed out for some pictures. It made for some very dramatic shots.

Western Rim Hike, Grand Canyon National Park

Friday, July 22, 2022

We caught the red line bus to the western part of the South Rim Trail, most of which is unpaved. We walked along the rim for an hour seeing very few people. No cars are allowed on this section, so bikers took advantage. Early in the morning it would be a great bike ride. We passed a small group that were on a bike tour. 

We caught the bus, went up a stop or two, then walked the last mile to Hermit’s Rest. I love this building that blends in with its surroundings. It has the most incredible fireplace!

Back at Ten-X Campground, we had to stay inside the Airstream. Yellow Jackets have infested the campground. They don’t sting you, but they buzz all around you and whatever food or drink you carry. 

We have been fortunate to have elk in our camp almost every day, mostly three males. Patty educated me on what males are called. they are spikes until their horns branch. Then they are called bulls. 

Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon NP

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

We hiked Bright Angel Trail to the 1.5 mark, where there is a spring and a restroom! It was certainly easy enough walking down. It was about 7:30 when we started – not early enough! there were a lot of people already at the spring when we got there, and I had to stand in line to go to the bathroom. 

As we started back up, we talked with a nice lady ranger. I asked how far it was to the edge of the mesa below. We could clearly see the trail below us, and it didn’t appear to be a bad walk. She said, “It is 6.5 miles to that overlook. You have been a mile and a half.” I quickly acknowledged we could not hike back up 6.5 miles. She said a lot of people walk down to Indian Garden, a green area we could easily see. They would often spend the night there, walking out to the end in the evening. Then hiking back up in the morning. 

Martha asked about shade going back up. She said it is mostly shady in the morning, so round-trip hikers will sometimes walk down Kaibab Trail, spend the night, then hike back up Bright Angel, taking advantage of shade going down and coming back up. She said we were smart to start back up. 

We might have been considered smart if we had started at 7:00, or even 6:00, but it got hot as we made our way back up. We had to stop many times to rest and catch our breath. I had soaked my shirt in the spring water before starting. By the time we got back to the top, we were exhausted by a tough 3-mile walk!

We went back to Bright Angel Lodge for lunch and a lot of water! Then back to our campsite for a nap. It was very hot, so we turned the air conditioner on, set to 85 degrees. It cut back on in 20 minutes, and we did that for three hours. We were not plugged in, so this was an extreme test for our batteries. It ate up all of the charge, by the time we turned it off in the evening. I hoped the Arizona sun would help regain power tomorrow. 

In the evening we went to Grand View to watch the sun set. It was interesting to follow guides, listening to their talks. I cringed as parents crawled over the wall with their kids too get to a “better” spot. One guide noted buzzards circling below us. He said someone probably fell down there. “It happens all the time”, he said. They might have a broken bone or worse.

We decided to leave a bit early to beat the crowd. Driving back, the whole sky lit up! 

It was too hot to cook, so we went out to dinner. It was just OK, but it beat cooking on a hot day. Fortunately it had turned cooler and was fine for sleeping. Worried about battery power, I cut off the fan at midnight and closed the vent. It was 60 degrees when I got up!

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. ( One sign said it is the largest example of erosion in the world. 

Three beautiful bucks came to visit
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