Saturday, May 19
Today is going to be an exciting day. The crew and I are leaving Lee’s Ferry campground and the Colorado River this morning. Our goal is to travel west and find a boondock camp in Kaibab National Forest, not far from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
We need to take on some water.
Both the house tank and the drinking water jugs are near empty. Up on a bluff overlooking the boat activity on the river is the dump and water station. Never pass up an opportunity for a free dump! I use the potable water hose to fill up twelve gallon jugs and the BLT’s twenty-five gallon tank. I bid the Colorado a fond farewell, take a few parting photos, and hit the road.
I stop at the Chevron station, one of a very few stations for miles around.
There’s a commotion going on as I enter. Only a few moments before, a man saw a condor in flight. He and the cashier are still excited. Darn! I missed it!
I’m about to experience a day trip I’ll remember forever.
In the age we live in, you can’t see a natural wonder without having seen it before in a magazine, television, movie, whatever. Still, seeing the Vermillion Cliffs is an experience no one should miss. I stop and take several photos along Highway 89A. We cross a desert valley and then start the ascent to the Kaibab National Forest. The Perfect Tow Vehicle is in fine form this morning, and I’m feeling confident we won’t have any problems.
We round a curve and see several cars off the highway at an overlook.
Good. I want to see this and it’ll give the PTV a rest. The view is of the desert and the cliffs. I can see the highway we just travelled. I wish I had a monocular! Of course, I take more photos.
The PTV takes us on a magnificent ride to over 8,000 feet in altitude.
The Jacob Lake Lodge/Restaurant greets you at the intersection of Highways 87 and 67, the latter road being the way to the North Rim. Alongside it is the Visitor’s Center. I want to get one of their maps. Now if I can find somewhere to park. People have parked willy-nilly, making it difficult to find a place. I make the quick decision to park halfway into the exit lane. Too bad, people. Deal with it. I’m on a mission for a map.
The crew needs a walk-around.
Bridget and Spike are so cute when they arrive at a new locale. And this definitely is new to us! We’re back in the pines again. No more 100+ degree heat of the desert. The air is cool and fresh. Sniffs and poops over, I throw the crew back into the PTV.
Two female Park Service employees are behind the counter.
I’m happy to hear the Kaibab has not instituted the 30 feet/300 feet regulations yet. I ask about camping possibilities on the forest roads. She ignores the words “forest roads” and suggests Demotte Campground which is between here and the Canyon.
“How much is it a night?” I ask out of curiosity.
“It’s $17.50, unless you have the Senior Pass. Then it’s half that. No hook-ups. There’s water and restrooms. “
“I want to camp in the area of Crazy Jug Point.”
We locate it on a map displayed under plexiglass on the counter. The young woman shows me what series of forest roads to take. “Take 22 just past Demotte, then 495, then 292.” I look at the key and figure it’s about 40 miles winding through the forest.
The older lady points out those roads require a high-clearance vehicle. I tell her I have a high-clearance vehicle. She points out the roads are gravel and very bumpy. Hmm . . . You don’t know rvsue!
I buy a Kaibab National Forest map and apologize for my many questions.
The older lady responds cheerfully, “Oh, that’s nothing. You should have seen the two guys in here before. We talked with them for about an hour.” Both of them are smiling real smiles. It’s nice to meet people who enjoy their work.
The crew and I go south on Highway 67 toward the North Rim.
I hadn’t intended to go far today, but I’m in the mood for this challenge. At Crazy Jug Point I’ll see the Canyon for the first time! Turns out the road is better than expected and the drive is fairly easy. I thrill to see aspens along the way, mixed with the pines, and eventually blue spruce, too. It’s a long drive.
The last ten miles or so the road gets really bad.
It’s narrow dirt, and the ridge in the center is so high, I drive with the left wheels on it. Branches and brush squeak along the side of the PTV as I ease her along. At one point I imagine I come around a curve and see a huge tree lying across the roadway and I can’t turn around and I can’t back up. Stop it! Don’t think negative thoughts. We’re almost there.
At last we can go no further.
I jump out and hurry over to the opening in the trees. There it is! The grandest canyon of them all! I stand still for a moment, taking in the wonder.[slideshow]
The PTV is parked about fifteen feet from the precipice. My crew wants out. Time to set up camp!
Boondocked in the Kaibab National Forest, I have no cell phone signal or internet. I am writing and will eventually post an entry for each day. This entry was posted while sitting in the parking lot of the Grand Canyon Lodge at the North Rim. Photos will not load at this location. I’ll insert a slideshow here at a later date. I have so many photos!
From here I return to camp where again I have no phone or internet. I hope to move tomorrow to an area where I can be online!
UPDATE: I am trying to insert a slideshow as I sit in the PTV with the crew in a grocery store parking lot in Kanab, Utah. The photos may be out of order. They include Lee’s Ferry, Vermillion Cliffs, overlook from Kaibab Plateau, Jacob Lake, and the gravel road as we start our journey into the National Forest. The Canyon photos were taken from Crazy Jug Point. It was a hazy day.