Grand Canyon,North Rim; July 20 - 27, 2013

mkitchen

Explorer
Or the alternate title of: Hey Mo, did you bring the umbrella?
It has been a long, long year at work. I don't know if the work is getting harder or is it just my rising years; both in longevity and being 29 years in jail (on the right side of the bars) but I was burned out. I had this time off originally set aside for the Relic Run but it got moved to August and I could not change the time off. So now I had a week and a half off and what to do. Should I go to Colorado? Should we finally get up to Utah?

I was so burned out that when I finally did get off, I didn't do anything. I actually sat around the house with a list of things to do and a list of places to go but I couldn't get the energy together to do either list. For three days I didn't accomplish much of anything. Finally on Friday afternoon I got it in gear and packed up Catsup and Muffin (our Tacoma and AT Horizon trailer). I took off and really didn't know how far we would get or how long we would stay out. I might have gone back home in a couple of days but I wanted to at least get out. Geez, do you sense a bit of a mope going on here?

Well we told the kids we might end up in Colorado, Utah or AZ. Not the best or safest way of letting someone know where you will be. We took off from Kingman and headed to Flagstaff. From there, up 89 to the turnoff to Jacobs Lake and the North Rim.

Stopping at Navajo Bridge.





We got to Jacobs lake just before the forest office closed and we got to use a bathroom and buy a map of the area. From there we decided that we would get off the pavement as quick as possible. So we headed south towards the North Rim and turned off on dirt, heading southeast as quick as we could. Our goal was to find a campground that we saw on the map, Indian Hollow. Not too sure why someone would put a campground out this far but hey, it's there, lets go see it. We got to Indian Hollow a bit before sunset and made camp. Really, here is a campground out in the far sticks, with a bathroom and developed campsites. Pretty darn neat. I guess that it is mainly for folks heading to the trailheads near there.

Some shots of the campground and the area around it.










From Indian Hollow, we headed to Monument Point and Crazy Jug. Note, forgive me if I get the pictures mixed up, I took lots and didn't note which were which. So if I screwed up, don't scold me. We did meet a couple of fellows camped at Crazy Jug and they were anxious to get out of the area. The storms kept them in their car for four hours hoping the the lightning would not hit them. It certainly did storm heavy that past night.

Some shots from Crazy Jug and Monument Point.








After leaving Crazy Jug, we headed east again. Our goal had become to see some of the points on the North Rim between where we were and the park proper. Each finger out to a rim has a road on it and many of them could be driven in my Honda Pilot. Not really a lot of fun so we kept looking for more challenging, narrow routes. We found that there was a seldom used trail that went over each ridge rather than out and then back in. This road was obviously seldom used and more to our liking. Alas, no shots on the road, but worth taking.








By taking the shortcut along FS 250, we were able to see a lot more of the different points along this stretch of the rim. We hit Fence and Timp point but no pictures till we got to Fire point. Fire point is actually in the NP so we did not camp there even though it was getting near that time. I have been stopped in the South Rim for camping without a permit and it can get costly. So we ventured back into the Kaibab for the night. I am truly glad we did too. When we got to a spot that looked like a good camp, we set up. We were both tired so Mo went up into the tent to nap, the dogs under the trailer for the same purpose and I sat down with my book and a cup of coffee. After about an hour of quiet, the dogs jumped up and started running and barking. I looked behind me and there were 13 wild turkeys about 10 feet from me. Little did I know that I was being stalked by a bunch of man eating turkeys and only saved by three vicious and protective Welsh Corgi's. Needless to say, no camera was about. Other than that near death experience, it was just what I needed and I was finally relaxing a bit and truly enjoying my time off. A great dinner and evening fire and the day was complete.





Two of the three vicious, killer Corgi's
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I take pride in knowing how to really rough it and get by with little in the wilderness. as the next shot will show, few are willing to do with so little or live so rough but some of us have to. This type of living in the outback with such limited provisions should not be atempted by most people.



Shouldn't I get a merit badge or something?

After that bit of mid day repast, we opted to see some of the more popular sites along the North Rim. We left the main part of the park (you do get a lot of questions from other tourists when you have such a different outfit and it is all dirty) and we went out to see Cape Royal. It has been 18 years since our last visit to the area and then we were skinnier and riding bicycles with lots of gear hung on them. So it was nice to get a refresher on what it all looked like.










After getting back to the main part of the park, we went to the back country office and got a permit for camping at Point Sublime. I had to laugh though, the gal at the BC office asked about our camping set up due to the weather and I told her that we were bringing our camp trailer. She said that a trailer would never make it out to Point Sublime. Then she looked out the window and said "Oh, I guess that one will " We got the permit and headed back to the Kaibab for the night. We also intended on taking a back way into the park and to Point Sublime.

I am going to close for now and will write up some more in a bit.
Mikey
 
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mkitchen

Explorer
Second Instalment

Well we again found a really nice spot to camp for the night. Not a drop of rain that night either and both of us excited about heading down to Point Sublime the next morning.

An interesting grove of aspen trees in this one spot. All seemed to have a bit of a wiggle in their trunks at the same height.





Another grand camp.



The next morning we were off to Point Sublime. We took a back way that entered from the Kaibab. A nice, seldom used road and no pavement.



We ran into about 40 head of buffalo. Later I found that there is about 400 head of buffalo that range the North Rim. They are a cross breed with beef that did not work out and have been running wild. Regardless, they were neat to see. A bit camera shy though.





Finally our camp at Point Sublime.







After a spectacular summer storm, we had a very impressive sunset.







The trip out was a bit wet from the earlier rain. The road was of a good base so we didn't make too much of a mess coming out. Crawling through the puddles and staying on the rocks helped. We still had some nice sights on the way out. We did take the road back to the park so we could take advantage of the showers.



Just about 50 feet before we hit the pavement, we ran into a road block keeping people from entering the road that we just travelled out from. We got kind of a kick out of the sign.





From the North Rim we decided to to head west and spend some time checking out the country above Zion and then on to St. George to meet up with some friends and head down to Tuweep for a couple of days. As it turned out, we chose not to check out the area above Zion because it was running about 104 degrees and I was ready for a cool room, a cold beer and access to a laundry. So off to St George we went. Luckily we drove through a lot of rain between GC and St George so much of the mud on both Catsup and Muffin got washed off. So with that, we were ready for the big city for a night.
I will finish this off in the next post.
Mikey
 

mkitchen

Explorer
Section III Toroweep/Tuweep

Ok, let's get this thing finished up.

While we were still in St George, we met up with our friend, Jim, and three of his grand kids. Having gotten to St George the day before, we were able to get to the BLM office and pick up a map of the area. The St George BLM office is the friendliest government office that I have ever been to. They were knowledgeable and very helpful, even to the point of calling the park staff at Torroweep to see how the road was. While at the office, we opened the map and highlighted three possible routes that we could take.

We chose a simple route south from St George and through Main Street Valley, past the old, re-built school house and over Mt Trumball.

I have seen the Mt Trumball school on this forum many times and kept saying that I had to get up there and see it for myself. It's hard to believe that the school is in the same county that I live in. It's just that there is this small waterway running through the upper part of Mohave county (yeah, it's spelt with an H) and it kind of splits it up just a bit. Mohave county is the only county in the country that a fellow has to drive through two other states to get from the south end to the north end, go figure.

Oh well, here are some more pics to add to the collection



The inside is just as nice. It is certainly evident that the folks in the area take care of this monument to their past generations. I must admit they have a heritage to be proud of.



From the school, we headed towards Mt Trumball. The mountain is a bit of a sky island. In a vast high desert region, it stands out complete with a very pleasant pine forest on the top. Of course I failed to take pictures of that area but I promise I will get better at this, honest I will. Here are some pics of the way up to the top.





As we reached to top, it was obvious that that stretch of the road could be more than a bit of a challenge when wet. It looked like the type of soil that become slicker that greased owl ******** when it got wet. We were lucky that it had a day to dry out before we hit it. The trip from there to the park boundary was simply more driving pretty decent dirt roads. My odometer showed 90 miles of dirt from St George to the park.

From the park entrance the route got a bit more enjoyable (read smaller and rougher). It's understandable if this was the grader that they used to smooth out the road. My daughter is a heavy equiptment operator so I always take pictures of old road machinery.



We were obviously getting into some very dramatic rock formations and it just got better, all the way into the campground.







Jim had been to Torroweep once before and told me that it was the nicest camp he has seen. I have to agree with him. This really is a spectacular place to plant your rear end for a few days. How would you like to have this view each morning from your front porch?



Under the overhang are a couple of nice camp spots but they were taken when we got there so we camped on a knoll. I am glad we did. As we got to walk around the campground, I liked out spot better. The overhang is impressive but not as comfortable as where we were. If you go there, check out sites 1,2, and 3. There in no bad spot to camp though.



Home sweet home; at least for a couple of days.



Needless to say, we caught a bunch more rain while there.



Met up with these folks the second morning(if you read this, sorry I forgot your names). They were in a forest green FJ Cruiser with a matching AT Chaser trailer and they were all the way from Illinois. A father and daughter and very friendly. I think it's the first time I have actually seen another AT trailer out and about.



We spent the better part of that day out a the rim. The campground is about a mile from the actual rim. A casual walk or you can drive, as there is a spot to park, complete with restrooms.
The geology of the west end of the canyon is significantly different from the east end. The sides of the canyon here are very sheer and have a fall of about 3,000 feet.









The trip out was an experience on it's own. I need to run off, but I will get this finished as soon as I get back.
Mikey
 

mkitchen

Explorer
Section IV: Heading back home

Well it was time to start for home. My mope has been thoroughly severed and I truly feel alive again. Please don't confuse that with joyfully returning to work but my outlook and attitude in general is a 100% better than it was when I left on this trip.

Jim and the grandkids were staying another day so Mo and I were back on our own. Though not the smartest way to travel, I really do prefer being by ourselves. The only timetable you then have to follow is the one you set.

As we were pulling out, we saw a nice Land Cruiser 80 series with a SoCal offroad teardrop behind it. So two nice camp trailers in one campground. A very unusual scene, to be sure. And as is the norm, I forgot to take a few pictures of the new arrivals.

Of the different ways into or out of Torroweep, the one heading straight towards Fedonia is known as the all weather route. Well I have no doubt that going over Mt Trumball would have been a mess from all the rain that fell since we were at Torroweep. So Main Street Valley or cutting over towards Mesquite NV was out of the question.

Calling the road from the park to Fredonia an all weather road is a great inflation on the concept of "all weather road." Now if they meant that all the weather (read wet stuff) runs off the hillsides and into the road, then yes this is an all weather road. This was one very wet trip. What should have taken 90 minutes ended up taking over three hours. I will leave it to the pictures to explain why. The road was so underwater that even with four wheel drive, we were driving through some areas that we just barely made it through to higher ground before we totally lost traction.

As you can see, the rain didn't stop. By the time we were out of the park, again it was coming down. The water was literally pouring off the hillsides and dumping on the road, which of course, was the lowest part and without barpits.







Once again, my camera skills are forgotten. As we got out of that storm, about two thirds of the way out, we saw a sign stating "Caution Area subject to flash flooding." This was the only area that was dry, go figure. Just before we hit pavement, I stopped to knock off some of the mud collected.





So now it is back to pavement and a long, long haul back to Kingman. A good trip and as usual, I didn't cover the ground that I had hoped to, but what we did see was exceptional. So much country and not enough time.



Mikey
 

Uglyduck

Adventurer
Great trip Mikey! Looks like you took the necessary medicine to shake the work blues. What an awesome experience seeing bison in the wild!
 

mkitchen

Explorer
Thanks Guys

As I am sure it is the case with most of us, we don't get to get out as often as we would like and when we do, it really helps the attitude and outlook.
Mikey
 

AzTacoma

Adventurer
So now it is back to pavement and a long, long haul back to Kingman. A good trip and as usual, I didn't cover the ground that I had hoped to, but what we did see was exceptional. So much country and not enough time.
Mikey
So true... makes me appreciate the trips even more. Nice adventure :beer:
 

Fireman78

Expedition Leader
Thanks for posting! Great trip, it is good getting outside to reset the spirit.

Sent from highest tree in the woods trying to get a signal
 

magoh76

Adventurer
Thank you for this excellent write-up. We are taking our kids to the GC next year and you have really given me some great ideas of places to look into.
 

jackkent

New member
WOW! This adventure is so great. With all the great views and fun experience this trip is worth all the sacrifices and hardship. I really like the extraordinary beauty of Grand Canyon. This place is so amazing that you will ask the question how did it happen? ha ha ha...I'm just curious. Anyways, can I ask what is the very best place for you on this trip?
 

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