Monday, October 15, 2018

Fall Break - Day 3: North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Sunday, Oct 14:

We left the Navajo National Monument after breakfast and drove past the Vermillion Cliffs on the way to the Kaibab National Forest.

 First close view of the Vermillion Cliffs, 
we stopped at the bridge near Marble Canyon which
spans the Colorado River


 Pretty flat lighting when we drove by the Vermillion Cliffs

Heading south on AZ Highway 67, south of Jacob Lake and into the Kaibab National Forest area.  We found a nice boondocking spot right off of Forest Road 22 where it junctioned with another trail.

 Kaibab National Forest Campsite

We didn't spend the usual time setting up camp, instead we geared up and saddled up on Scarlett and headed into the Grand Canyon National Park North Rim area about 5 miles south of where we camped.

First up were the sights off of Point Imperial:



 


We even found a spot on the way down from Point Imperial to pose Scarlett:



We then rode the 15 miles or so to Cape Royal where we hiked over to the Angels Window Overlook:


 Angels Window

Sights from the Angels Window Overlook:







There are several Vista Overlooks from the Cape Royal site back towards the junction with Point Imperial Road.



As the afternoon started waning, we rode on over into the North Rim Campground/Lodge area and hiked down the Bright Angel Trail to see the setting sun create deep shadows and glowing highlights:



Hiking back up to the lodge area proved a bit taxing and we started questioning the "easy" rating given to this trail.

We made it up as the sun went down, gassed up and rode in the gathering darkness the 25 kilometers back to the campsite.  It got quite brisk on the ride once the sun was gone, quite brisk.

We hurriedly setup camp, and I determined that the house battery had finally given up the ghost on the URRV.  Still, we had heat (catalytic propane heater), a working fridge and the adventure continues.

Tomorrow: Zion National Park.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Fall Break - Day 1 & 2


Day One of Martha's School Fall Break found us heading out of town at 2PM, heading south on the I-25 Super Slab (which was a rolling parking lot at times but surprisingly clear as we went through Colorado Springs).

We stopped at the Lathrop State Park and paid $24 for a campsite with electricity.  It was past 5PM and we went for a short walk around the A Loop, I caught the sunset as Martha cooked dinner.  

Oh I managed to forget my Sony A5000 camera so this trip will be documented solely by iPhones.

Lathrop State Park, Colorado

We left Lathrop SP at 747AM the next morning and spend almost nine hours driving along US 160 through the San Luis Valley and eventually going through Wolf Creek Pass which was clear of snow:

 The Fall Colors were at their peak at Wolf Creek Pass
photo by Martha

 photo by Martha

 photo by Martha

 Descending from the summit of Wolf Creek Pass
photo by Martha

 photo by Martha
Mountain range visible after Wolf Creek Pass.
photo by Martha

Around 5PM found us at the Navajo National Monument and after finding a good spot for the URRV, we went for a short walk to an overlook where one can see remnants of cliff dwellings attributed to the Anazasi People.  Not in as good a shape as the ones in Mesa Verde but not bad:


 The canyon where the cliff dwellings were located.


Camping in the Navajo National Monument

Back at the URRV, Martha made dinner and after I replenished our water supply from the nearby faucet, there was this great sunset.  We were parked at the aptly named Sunset View Campground:



Tomorrow, we hope to find a good, centrally located, boondocking location that'll allow us access to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and nearby parks such as Vermillion Cliff and Escalante National Park.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

More Uraling for Fall Colors

Fall Colors may have peaked in the high country (and by high, I mean altitude, not because we're in the Stoner State) but they are just now beginning to turn at the lower altitudes on the Front Range.

Fiona, my '99 Bural with the '84 Beemer engine and I rode out of the cager cesspool that is the Metro Denver area and made it safely into the foothills.

Using US 285, we reached the mountain town of Conifer and took the Foxton Road exit.  The Fall Colors to the north, along Kennedy Gulch Road, drew my attention and I turned Fiona north and eventually up Conifer Mountain Road.

As I neared the top of the mountain, it got pretty cold, I think in the high 30s anyways and I was glad I had donned extra layers before heading out of the house.

There was even about an inch of snow among the trees and the few cars I saw descending from the mountain had snow on them.



As you can see above, it was foggy and cloudy up on top of Conifer Mountain.  As the sun started burning through the fog, it helped illuminate the leaves of the Aspen and Cottonwood trees:







Nearing the junction with Foxton Road again, I posed Fiona next to a nice grouping of Aspen that was nicely glowing with the sunlight.



Now on the Foxton Road, the below copse of Aspen trees were quite eye-catching.


Inside the above copse of Aspen

We twisted and turned our way on Foxton Road, past Reynolds Park and down to the South Platte River road area.  



 View from the small bridge located near the remains
of the South Platte Hotel which serviced river traffic
back in the day.

Must have been quite the sight, the day these boulders
came loose from the high canyon walls above and 
rolled into the South Platte River.

Around 3:30 or so, the clouds rolled in and the light was not enough to illuminate the Fall Colors anymore.  I retraced my route back along Foxton Road, to US 285 and elected to return to the cager cesspool that is the Metro Denver area via South Turkey Creek Road which leads on to Deer Creek Canyon Road.

Had to stop and put all the layers back on as the temperatures which had soared into the low 60s had now dropped back into the 40s!

Snow has, apparently, come early to the Stoner State this year.  It could be an interesting Winter.