Northern Arizona trip: June 8-10
I took 10 days of leave to spend some time exploring the Arizona strip and the high country. I used to live in Prescott before joining the Corps so it was not exactly terra incognita to me, but it had been 15 years since my last real trip. I had intended to leave from San Clemente on the 8th (Saturday) but didn't leave until the 10th due to some equipment issues. I had intended to build my own bed rack to mount my RTT, but the project had grown out of control and I wound up just purchasing an All Pro Off Road APEX rack. That was minor compared to my navigation issues which caused way more problems. I had intended to use my IPad for primary off road navigation with printed out USGS quads for backup. Also, I have my Pioneer AVIC head unit for back up on the roads and my Garmin ETrex for hiking use. Someone had hacked my Itunes account which I suspended, so that made me unable to download ANY! maping apps to my Ipad. To make it worse, the USGS download site was down due to high volume! The lesson is not to wait until the last minute to take care of software...
I finally decided to wing it (stay out of the back country and stick to know roads). We (my border collie Jaxx and I) departed Monday morning. Our first stop, the south Rim of the Grand Canyon. We stopped to check out the area south of Seligman on route 40. It was nice to be back in Northern AZ!
I had made reservations at the Ten-X campground at the national forrest, about 4 miles south of the park entrance. The idea behind staying at the camp ground and not just dispersed camping was due to the fire conditions. In the campground fires were not allowed, however charcoal was so I planned meals accordingly. (and in the rest of the area, no fires, no charcoal, no shooting, no smoking outside of a house or car). Little did I know that murphy had come along again...
The campground was very nice. The sites were set up for tents or RV's so the RTT was a little out of the norm but I made it work. I did wind up answering some questions, but it wasn't too bad even though it was a full campground. There is a small (1 mile) trail that circles the campground. Water is available but they won't allow you to fill water tanks on RV's (water jugs were no issue). There are pit toilets in the camp ground and almost all of the sites have full shade. Unfortunately, the day before I left the forest service had raised the fire condition and now charcoal grills were banned. I brought steak, brats, chicken and BBQ sauce. Time to make it work I guess. I realize I took no photos of the campground, but overall it was very pleasant and worth the 10 bucks a night, especially if you have women or young children with you.
The first night was in the mid 30's! Glad I brought a sleeping bag. The dog also helped as he got cold and tried to sleep on me. We had a good breakfast of bacon, eggs and coffee then headed to the south rim. Thank the Park Service for the free annual pass for us military folks! If not its $25 a week for a pass, and worth the money. If you have never been to the Grand Canyon, go!
Pictures really don't do this place justice. You can not take dogs below the rim, but the rim trail can be extended to up to 14 miles. Most of it is paved and full of tourists, most of them not from this country. Beware of the heat as it was in the 80's+ and the sun was brutal. Jaxx gave up after 6 miles and it took us all day to hike 9 miles. We returned to the camp ground that night for a well deserved dinner and rest. The next day we were heading to the north rim, 19 miles by air and 270 by ground.
"MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS."
Ernest Shackleton’s ad placed in the London papers, recruiting members for his
1912 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.