Whew! I’ve nearly brought the log up to date and so this will be my last entry in the curtailed format I’ve been using of late.
Pipe Spring is the perfect location from which to venture out on our three day weekends. There are numerous fantastic places within easy reach, many of which are very familiar to us but there are also plenty of new delights.
Within days of us arriving at Pipe Spring, Eric and Jeanette join us for a short visit and our first few trips are with them - you’ll see them in the photos!
Access to this little visited area of the Grand Canyon is challenging and we make the trip in Eric and Jeanette’s Jeep. We have visited both rims of the canyon but nothing compares with this. There’s less of the experience of the expansive canyon further down the river’s course but it is truly spectacular and there’s virtually nobody here: the view from the Toroweap Overlook says it all.
An extensive petroglyph site not far from Mount Trumbull. We make the detour on the way back from Tuweep. Unfortunately the light is already fading but we have the fun of counting jackrabbits in the headlights as the darkness moves in.
Sterling: One afternoon while Teresa is working, I go with Eric & Jeanette to Peekaboo Canyon, just north of Kanab. It's my first-ever slot canyon, and inspires us to visit a couple of others in the area (see below).
A wonderland of sandstone spires and various coloured bedrock. Numerous trails, gentle wandering and great views.
Leaving Kodachrome, we spend a couple of hours walking along the slot canyon of Willis Creek and find a pair of ducks!
We have a couple of visits to Zion during our time at Pipe Spring, the second for Sterling’s birthday. The water in the Virgin River is fairly low by June but we go tubing anyway - my first time ever. What great fun, in spite of the dunking and the bruises! A visit to the brew pub and dinner out at one of the local restaurants rounds off the celebrations.
Downside: the road goes through this narrow red rock wonder. Upside: the colours, the intricately eroded shapes, the trails, the campground and the road’s quiet overnight.
We are restricted to the rim on this visit, due to Sterling’s foot and can only gaze down into the complexity below. Even from up here, it’s still one of the most amazing places in the west.
While Sterling heads off for all kinds of fun at Google I/O in Mountain View I am summoned to Albuquerque by Immigration Services to have my fingerprints and mugshot taken. I stop for a night at Red Rock Park outside Gallup and the datastorm decides to search for a satellite inside the camper rather than in the sky. Fortunately tech support drags himself away from the party and sorts it out for me.
It’s breath-taking no matter how many times we visit. Again, we’re confined to the top but it doesn’t matter. The rim trails with their fantastic views are a real pleasure. Looking down into the intricacies, time slips away and wonder takes over. The only downside to the weekend is that I managed to break a toe!
At a little over 3,000 feet in altitude, the campground is virtually empty and as the temperatures soar, it quickly becomes apparent why: there’s no hook-ups. In spite of the heat, we have a couple of days wandering about, sitting in the shade and waiting for the sun to set. An easy 'Spot the Camper' photo!
The canyon and water are stunning but the birds take the biscuit. It’s the tail end of condor season at the bridge and we’re lucky enough to see a pair. We know they’re huge but it’s something else to see them in the flesh. Sitting on the girders in the distance they look turkey vultures, but the minute they take to the air, we know we’re watching a different bird altogether. We need a bigger camera lens!
Permits to go out to The Wave are limited and hotly contested. A daily lottery - using a small bingo machine - allocates them and we are incredibly lucky and get one on our second attempt. The day starts overcast and so we don’t have to contend with the searing heat that is usual at this time of year. Whatever the conditions, it’s worth the hike: the photos can’t do it justice, but have a look at them anyway.
Our time at Pipe Spring is drawing to a close and we head for the cool temperatures of Cedar Breaks and its 10,000 feet of altitude. The spring flowers are in full bloom and the yellow bellied marmots and their young are an additional bonus. As always the trails here are a sheer delight.