Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

April 26-28, 2019

We were able to book several nights in Wahweap Campground at Glen Canyon. The large, full hook up sites book up months in advance but we were able to get a no hook up site with only a week or so notice (portable solar panel to the rescue again). The entire campground is on a slope above Lake Powell so most sites have some view of the lake. It was pretty crowded with boaters and families but it quieted down at night and we had a relaxing time there.

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Lee’s Ferry & Marble Canyon

April 17-21, 2019

We headed east out of Grand Canyon National Park, skirted the beautiful canyons on the Little Colorado River and swung north and up toward Page. Before the climb up to that plateau we angled west on 89A toward Marble Canyon, Navajo Bridge, Lee’s Ferry and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. We were looking for a nice campground and heard that Lee’s Ferry just might fit the bill. Friends had been there just a few weeks before us and told us that they were thrilled to be mere feet away from California Condors resting on the bridge and flying overhead. This sounded perfect to us so we decided to camp out at Lee’s Ferry and make frequent visits to the bridge to enjoy the condor. Shortly before we reached Lee’s Ferry, we crossed the Colorado River via Navajo Bridge (in the picture below). This can be a little confusing. You aren’t seeing double. There are two bridges and BOTH bridges are called Navajo Bridge.

Original Navajo Bridge (right) and new auto bridge (left)

Navajo Bridge

The first highway bridge made the ferry obsolete and has itself become obsolete. A new, wider bridge was built next to the smaller one. Continue reading

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Grand Canyon National Park

April 9-17, 2019

Sunset at the Watchtower

John’s Writing Assignment: Compare and contrast your two visits to the Grand Canyon.

Glorious! Both times. There simply isn’t another word for it.

 

On my first trip I was with a Boy Scout Troop that backpacked rim-to-rim-to rim – 50total miles down the south rim, across the bottom, up the north rim, back down, across and up again… In six days… Carrying a 60 pound backpack… In 100+ degree heat! IN JULY! (Anyone that says, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” is lying. Dry heat, wet heat – it’s still HOT!)

Canyon View – Bright Angel across to North Rim

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5 Sites in 5 Nights

April 8, 2019

Many, many people are jealous of our wandering ways. Even others that full time or do lengthy part time stays in their RV marvel at our comfort with not knowing where we’ll be going, what we’ll be doing and (the biggie) where we’ll be staying. We have to admit it is REALLY cool to live this way and not stress over it BUT there is a price to pay.

We’ve had difficulty finding sites in the Southwest during Spring Break… which apparently runs pretty much all of March and April. This was a surprise to us. We were used to schools being out all at the same time either the week before or the week after Easter but what they call “Spring Break” in the Southwest seems to include elementary school, middle school, high school, college, Canadians, Europeans, Asians and tons of American “snowbirds.” In other words, EVERYONE is vying to stay and tour around in the moderate weather during those two months.

We seemed to always find a site but our last minute decision to visit Grand Canyon brought us to that title above: 5 Sites in 5 Nights. I managed to book three nights in Mather Campground right there in the heart of Grand Canyon National Park BUT it was on three different sites so every morning we drove the RV and the car out to a parking area, left them, hopped a shuttle, played for the day then returned to grab the RV and check back into Mather. It was inconvenient but no biggie. The biggest problem was that these were all dry sites (no hookups) and we were running on our batteries all night. We couldn’t really put our portable solar panel out in the parking lot each day so we had to run the generator to recharge our batteries… and I hate running the noisy generator.

But, I digress. Back to the subject at hand…

Our plan as we drove to the canyon was:

Night 1 – Mather campground, first site
Night 2 – Mather campground, second site
Night 3 – Mather campground, third site
Night 4 – NOT A CLUE (a Friday night, hoping someone cancelled and we got a spot- it was unlikely and it didn’t happen)
Night 5 – Desert View campground (first come-first served campground that opened Saturday for the season so we hoped to jump in, and did)

We were pretty much stranded for Friday night until I asked a Ranger out at the Watchtower and they told me about a National Forest disbursed camping area just 1 mile south of the Desert View Road. John and I wandered out there in the Subaru to check the condition of that dirt road, found it to our liking and returned with the rig on Friday. It was actually my favorite site at the Grand Canyon (AND we had awesome cell signal). We later discovered there were more disbursed NFS camping areas just outside each entrance of the park so we would have found something no matter what. Our motto is – no worries. I have an easier time with that than John does, but he’s getting better.

There was a serious silver lining to all of this. John has avoided going off into the National Forest disbursed campsites but he loved the site we found and happily settled in there. He no longer cringes when I nudge him to consider an NFS site so there will be a lot more beautiful, remote and random campsites in our future. I can’t wait!

H

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Meteor Crater – near Winslow, AZ

April 2, 2019

Meteor Crater Visitor Center

I wasn’t too sure about going to this site. First, it was privately owned and operated which makes me suspect that it was “just another tourist trap.” Second, being privately owned, how pristine and impressive was the crater? I shouldn’t have worried. It was spectacular and well worth the time, money, and effort to visit.

Aerial view of Meteor Crater

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Sunset Crater, Wupatki, and Walnut Canyon – near Flagstaff, AZ

April 1-3, 2019

Mother Nature keeps hitting it out of the park.

Sunset Crater

Sunset Crater

If you stand on a flat area and look around, every peak you see was once a volcano. The still snow covered San Francisco Peaks appear to be a small chain of mountains. It’s actually the remnants of a single volcano.

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Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Tuzigoot

March 27-28, 2019

It never ceases to amaze me what “primitive” peoples could accomplish. Those men, women, and children who built and lived in Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Tuzigoot were masters of how to live in harmony with nature. They used the skills passed down from generation to generation and what nature provided to create not only amazing buildings but amazing cultures. Everything they needed to sustain their society – land, water, plant and animal resources, and farmland were close by. Although their world may have been small, they were far from isolated. They did have contact with and traded between other cultures.

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