Grand Canyon North Rim and the Escalante Steps

Continuing our Caravan Adventure …..

Our first day traveling with the caravan we learned how to gauge when we left the park in order to not get to the next campground before the Wagonmaster (WM) but before the Tailgunner (TG).  The Wagonmaster’s job is to get everything set up at each campground, organize the activities, and be the host with the most.  Whereas, the Tailgunner’s job, is to be sure everyone gets to the next campground safely and is there to help out with any issues that arise on the trip.

We also learned how to manage en route stops, trying to time it so that we could fit into the small museum parking lots with 19 other RV’s.  We left in groups of 4 to 5 RVs so we could stop at the Pipe Springs National Monument for a quick tour and then we jumped back in the coach to let the others following us, and who were waiting on the side of the road, into the parking lot.  I would have enjoyed spending more time at this oasis learning about the Kaibab Paiutes, Apaches, Navajos and western settlers who lived near the spring for it’s life giving water in the Arizona desert but the schedule was a tad tight.  Over time this area sustained Indians, a fort, a telegraph office, and the Mormons.

Also, on our way from St. George to Jacob Lake we drove through the upper reaches of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  From above his immense stretch of land, that stretches between Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, looks like a staircase for giants with each canyon creating another step.  With a brief stop at an overlook we were able to hike up a trail to see the desert landscape.  We became fascinated with the way the trees grew – fair warning – we took lots of pictures of trees on this trip!  All gnarly, with interesting growth patterns, or standing bare and black against the sky.

We arrived in Jacob Lake, AZ and the Kaibab Camper Village right on the tail of the WM learning we needed to give them more time to get to the next campground.  This is more our style of camping … wonderful wooded sites deep in the Kaibab National Forest.  We had our first campfire with s’mores and Joanna even got to tell one of her GPS Wars stories.  The next day we were free to explore the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  As we only had one day, we got up early and got to the canyon before the fog

Canyon?? Where???

had lifted …. and when I mean fog I’m talking the clouds were in the canyon and we would stand and wait at an overlook waiting for the wind to push them out of the way so we could see the grandeur before us.

We hiked the Bright Angel Point Trail then stopped in the lodge cafe and grabbed a cup of tea and snack, then went to the lodge great room to watch the fog lift.  Once we were refreshed, we headed out to the Transept Trail and hiked the 2 miles along the rim then looped back on the Bridle Path for 2 miles to the lodge where we met up with a few of the other caravaners and had lunch in the lodge restaurant.

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That evening was another travel brief and social … starting to get the idea … this group really liked to party!

We were starting to adjust to the hectic pace and coming to the realization that we were just going to get a taste of each place we visited.  By doing this, we now know which parks and monuments we want to return to, to spend more time to fully investigate the areas.

Next up Bryce Canyon!