Day 2, 6/2/09
We got up to the cool air of the grand canyon, at about 7k ft. The lows were in the upper 30's & the highs in the mid 70's. This day we were heading west. I had mapped out a route that would follow along the rim of the canyon with several side roads out to vistas.
The morning light with a little haze made a nice image.
We unloaded most of our baggage & left it in the room. Leaner & lighter, we headed out for new & up to now unseen views & trails. The first part was to go out to hermit's rest, via the now newly paved hermit's rest road. It had a nice gate with a combination you had to push to get through.. we surmised it was for the permits for the trailhead at the end of the hermit road. But there was just enough room for a bicycle or lightweight dirt bike to pass through, so off we went for the morning views at hermit's rest. Tom was a little worried that we'd be run down & shot, but we just cheerily waved at the shuttle drivers & other park employees & reached our destination.
The road we wanted next was around another gate that led inland. We followed it until it ran into other forest roads, & finally out of the park.
We had also ran into several dead ends.. closed roads or wilderness areas where we couldn't get through.
We hadn't gotten gas since Park at I-40, so made a detour into Tusayan & filled up.
We took the Topocoba hilltop road, which was very rutted from spring rains, out toward the pasture wash road, but ran into the Havasupai tribe's gate, with a $25 each admittance.
Now i don't know if it was just because he was feeling cheap, or if he thought of the old story about his great great grandfather getting off the main stage road & wandering into the reservation, never to be seen again. I think he was just being cheap.. but we decided to turn around & try some of the side roads we had passed. Most of them dead ended, either at a fence or some natural obstacle. But one road we followed winded around through trees, rocks, washes & other terrain. It was a wide road in spots, a goat trail in other places, & a rabbit trail in still others. But it was heading the right direction, though not in a very direct route.
It was nearly lunchtime, so we decided to stop for a break & saw this old truck. Tom thought it was an early 50's model chevy, because his grandson had bought one when they first came out.
The road widened after lunch, & we came to the bass trailhead parking area.
I let the drz take a picture.. not bad for a 3 yr. old.. but some fill in flash would have probably made it better.
It was a very scenic spot, & not visited too often. You had to get a permit to hike here, & drive through the havasupai reservation to get here. I'm not sure what the trail is like, but it would take a lot of extra work to hike it. In the photo below, the distant San Francisco peaks are visible.. south by southeast from here.
The gps map showed a road that tied back into a road that we got on near the abandoned pasture wash ranger station. We rode on it to an old lookout tower.
They had taken down the stairs so unauthorized people wouldn't climb on it.
But what's the point in being a wild west maverick if you don't climb on towers with the stairs removed?
I could see that the road did continue on, & it looked like it connected with the pasture wash road, so after i climbed down we continued our adventure. This road disappeared completely in spots.. we were running through brush & handlebar high weeds, using only the gps to keep us on track. It did bring us out to the main road, though.
By now we knew we had to either go back through the upper road, then down to the havasupai rez & through the gate, or backtrack through the goat trail. Still being cheap, we opted for the goat trail. It seemed much easier going back, since we had run it before, & all the zigs & zags made it more fun.
The shadows were growing longer, & Tom was worried they'd run out of long island iced teas, so we stopped the exploring for the day & took the shortest route back. We got back on the topocoba road to the rowe's well road, then into the park.
The sun was dropping, & even though there was not a happy hour, Tom wanted to waste no time getting down to business..
We walked the rim trail for about a mile or 2 to get to the Arizona room, where the bar & dinner was.
The real reason we came..
The evening shadows make the grand canyon truly magical..
You can see a firecracker penstemon blooming on the rock outcropping..
We got back to the room about dusk, & were out like lights by 8:30. We're real party animals. My wife called at about 9:30 & woke me up. But after chatting for a short time, i quickly rejoined Tom in slumberland..
end of day 2.
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