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Grand Canyon: 6 Mile Hike on the South Rim

September 29, 2013   

Ok, so now we are ready to head out to the Grand Canyon and take it all in.  Patty’s right ankle is much better today so it was a good decision for her to have taken it easy yesterday. We had a good breakfast of eggs, bacon, and crescent rolls. Then we got our backpack cooler filled with water and with our just made sandwiches. 

We decided to hike west from the Bright Angel Trailhead to the Abyss point.  This route is just over 7 miles.  The 1st fourth of this route starts easy with paved trails and then goes to the next level with unpaved trails.  We decided that we would go until we wanted to stop or if Patty’s ankle started having any issues.  

A note about the rim trail: each viewpoint along the length of the trail is supported by shuttle busses.  You don’t need to hike back.  To can see as much of the canyon as you want and then just hop the free shuttle back to the trailhead.  Very nice!

The weather couldn't be more perfect for a hike.  The morning temperature started out at 33 and by 11 am it was 68 with full sun and just a light south breeze.  We started with light jackets which we quickly removed before even getting to the trail.  Since the air here so dry, you really don’t saturate with sweat either.  The dry air and the weather just makes for perfect hiking conditions, just bring lots of water! 

Patty’s ankle held up real good, no issues.  However, we decided to stop after getting to Mojave Point, the stop just before the Abyss.  We had been hiking for 4 hours and were just tired and ready to leave.  This made our hike just a bit over 6 miles.  The trail is actually about 5 miles but there are so many diversions to look over the edge of the canyon that the actual hiking distance is longer.  Also, again the parking was insane.  This is the end of September and the place is mobbed.  We just can’t imagine the crowds that must be here in the summer!  Anyway, we had to park some distance from the trailhead that also added distance to the hike.

There is no order to the following pictures.  I probably took 100 pictures and these are some of the best.  Still, there is no substitute to being here.

This is at the South West entrance to the park.  People line up here to take a picture in front of this sign.   I had to wait my turn to take this!




The Bright Angel trailhead is in the upper right quarter of the photo.


Looking down at the Bright Angle Trail.  If you look real close there are people on it.




That bright line in the enter of the pic is the Bright Angel Trail




I can FLY!


Yellow Cactus top.




We sat and ate lunch here.












There is a family of Condors in a cave on the last of the 3 rock outcroppings on the right side in the picture.  A ranger had 2 telescopes set up so we could look at the baby condor.  The parents had left an hour ago to look for food was the guess.
Just a little close to the edge here!


Directly in the center you can see the Colorado River.  The river is a mile below our view point.

We got back to our site around 5pm after filling up with expensive fuel.  There is only one gas station within 15 miles so the price was way above anything we had been paying. The price was $4.29 a gallon when we have been paying around $3.90!  

Back at the RV, we put on comfy flip-flops and headed to the small gift shops and stores just up the road.  We browsed for about an hour and, didn't buy anything other than a card for Patty's Mom's 80th Birthday.  It was fun all the same.


That's our RV in the center of the picture.

In front of a Mexican Restaurant in Tusayan AZ.

Just as an update, Rosey is doing fine after having her right side broken off a couple of months ago in a wind storm.  She is handling the cool nights inside the RV with us.

We made a traditional (when I was kid in Indiana kind of traditional) fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans for dinner.  I even made real gravy from the pan dripping. Everything turned out great.  One of the best meals ever!  
The main difference from what I had as a kid was that our chicken didn't have skin and wasn't cooked in 3 inches of lard.  Other than that it was the same.

That’s it for the Grand Canyon.  Tomorrow we head to Flagstaff AZ which is only 90 miles south.  That is just a bump and run, overnight stay.  Then we are headed to the Petrified Forest National Park on our way to Albuquerque NM.  We may not see the Petrified Forest as it looks like the parks may shut down on Tuesday due to the budget issue in DC.  One of the rangers at the Grand Canyon said yesterday that they have been told that the parks will in fact close on Tuesday.  We are just glad we got in the 4 main parks before Tuesday!

Stay Tuned!

Brain Head Peak UT. Travel to Tusayan, AZ and Grand Canyon

September 26 - 28, 2013   

Thursday the 26th we pretty much did as we had planned. I started the day by filling the fresh water tank with water and bleach to sanitize it.  The bleach/water mixture needs to set in the tank for 12 hours and then be drained out.  After the drain, refill with fresh water and drain again. Since we are leaving tomorrow I will just drain the tank and flush it out at our next stop. We don't use the  fresh tank very often, but are planning to use it next week at the Albuquerque NM Balloon Festival where we are boondocking.  

Also in anticipation of boondocking at the Balloon Festival, we got both 30lb propane tanks topped off.  We also didn't want to run out tonight as the temperature was to dip below freezing.  

We then headed up to Brian Head Peak about 30 miles south of town.  Brian Head Peak is in the town of Brian Head UT. The Peak is only accessible in the summer as the road is not paved and it is not plowed.  The peak is at 11,300 ft.  The wind was very strong today and the temperature was 32 at the peak.  The wind chill must have been in the single digits! As you might expect, we didn't stay long.



On the way up Brain Head Peak.  We are just at the timberline.

Another on the way up to Brain Head peak.


Brain Head Peak.  30 MPH wind and 32 degrees.  We are now just above the timberline.



View from the top of Brain Head Peak.








On the way down.

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The town of  Panguitch UT.


Next stop was to wash the truck.  It was so windy that I didn't hand dry the truck as I usually do.  The truck really doesn't look clean unless I hand dry it and right now it still looks dirty.  

After washing the truck we got some wine at the state store in town that didn't open until 1 pm.  This is the only liquor store within 30 miles of here. The store was about the size of our living room/kitchen area in the RV.  They had one box of white wine so we took it.    Looks like we will now need to get wine at the Grand Canyon.  I bet that will be cheap, NOT!

Friday the 27th we started getting ready to leave early.  We wanted to leave the site by 9 am so we could be at the Grand Canyon by 2 pm.  This will be our longest pull this year at 285 miles and It should be our last pull that long.  

The temperature was 32 when I went outside to check the tire pressures.  Due to the cold, all of the tires were lower than usual, however, only the truck tires required adding air. 

I decided that I would get the tires 5psi. above the required amount so that I wouldn't be adding air all of the time.  It was so much easier adding air this time with the new 150lb. air compressor.  With the compressor at 150 and having a 3 gallon tank, filling the front tires to 90 psi. and the back to 80psi was much easier.  This is because the compressor’s pressure did not go below the tire pressure.  With my old compressor I had to wait for the compressor to refill 3-4 times for each tire.  So, I am a happy camper with my new compressor.

As usual we were late leaving, but as we later found out and didn't remember from last year, Arizona has its own time. It’s not Pacific Time and it is not Mountain Time, it is Arizona Time!  Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time and it aligns itself with Pacific Time. Utah, right above Arizona is Mountain Time and participates in daylight savings time. So, the Time Zone line for Mountain and Pacific Time jutz East for Arizona and then back in.  Anyway, we got back the hour we were late leaving.  Yeah us!

Lake Powell.




Arizona Utah Border onUS 89.

The Navajo Indians have many open air shops along the way to grand Canyon in AZ.

With the Arizona extra hour, we arrived at the Grand Canyon Camper Village at 2:30 pm. This is not a destination campground!  It is a good place to see the park and that is it. It is run down and very expensive!  We are paying $51 a night with only 30 amp service.  However, we are just a mile from the entrance to the park.  We would have stayed in the park but they are full!  Again, full at the end of September. This place is only half full though, Hmmmmm!



Our site in Grand Canyon Trailer Village AZ.

We were in sort of a hurry getting here and to set up as we wanted to get our mail.  We had our mail forwarded to General Delivery at the post office in the park and they close at 4:30.  We got set up and to the post office a little before 4 and we got our mail.  

This is the first time we used the General Delivery method of getting mail and it worked great!  When we are moving around a lot it is very difficult to have the mail forwarding service send mail to us at a campground.  We plan on mail taking 4 days to get to us from our South Dakota address.  It usually is only 3 days but the 4th is for assurance we get the mail before we move.  We also don't want the mail getting there before we do.  Who knows what might happen to it then.

For us it really is only a 2 month period where getting mail is an issue.  Other times we are either with family or we are parked long term.

Back at the RV, we made plans for tomorrow to hike about 5 miles of the Grand Canyon South rim.  Also, we were hunkering down as the temperature here tonight is to be 27! It looks like September is a really good time to be this far north in the mountains.  However, we are having a lot of unseasonal cool temperatures this year making it feel like winter is on top of us.  Except for the colder temperatures at night, the weather has been perfect!  So, no regrets!

Saturday the 28th we have an injury.  Patty sprained her right ankle moving the picnic table in our site yesterday.  The sites here are so narrow that we needed to move the picnic table so we could maneuver the RV into the pull through site. 

The ground here is a mixture of dirt and gravel that has not been kept up so there are a lot of small and large potholes. As we were moving the table Patty stepped into a small pothole and sprained her right ankle.  She didn't think it was much of an issue last night, but this morning it was swollen quite a bit.  

We planned 2 full days here not knowing quite what to expect. Usually we are good for one day at most parks but the second day makes it more relaxed.  We also have the option of extending or adding days if we want.  

So, due to the injury, we went to plan B for the day.  It looks like we have a hiking plan that can be done either today or tomorrow so we will wait until tomorrow for the hike.  Patty was upset but I want her to be healed so we can enjoy ourselves and we have the time to let her heal.  We had some laundry to do so I decided that I would do that while Patty sat and iced her ankle for the day.  We will try for the hike tomorrow.

So, tomorrow, we are going to try the 5 mile hike around the south rim.  It is a half easy and half moderate trail with the easy being first.  The trail has several bus stops so we can stop whenever if we need to and be transported back to our truck.

Stay tuned!