Southwestern US roadtrip

21.-28.9. 2003

A trip that I did with my parents through southern Utah, around Four Corners (skipping the actual Four Corners place), northern Arizona, back to southern Utah and home.

Day one, Sun 21.9. was spent driving from SLC to Natural Bridges NM, where we camped outside of the park on the BLM land (the campground was full).

On Monday, I hiked through White and Anderson Canyon to see the three bridges, while my parents did the same from the car. Clickable map and fotos are here.
Then we drove to Mesa Verde NP in SW Colorado.

We spent first half of Tuesday in Mesa Verde, visiting the Anasazi cliff dwelling ruins and recovering from the cold night at the campground (which, apart from that was a ripoff since they charge $20 for camping - the most expensive campground I've ever been in. Privatizing your National Parks in action - the campground is concessioned by a private company). Then we drove south through northwestern tip of New Mexico to Canyon de Chelly NM, where we camped for free at the park's campground. Since it was 3000 ft lower, it was also a lot warmer, so, bitterness from Mesa Verde slowly evaporated.

On Wednesday we spent first half of the day in Canyon de Chelly, hiking down the White House Ruin trail, clickable map and fotos are here, and a couple of other overlooks on the south rim.
Then we drove through the Navajo and Hopi reservations towards Grand Canyon. Since I did not want to repeat the Mesa Verde experience (especially the cold), I wanted to stay low. There is no decent camping near the Grand Canyon turnoff on Hwy 89, but, we managed to get a spot in a Chevron RV park in Cameron, Az., behind a noisy airconditioner of a supermarket. The place sucked, but, it was only for $8.50 for a tent and it was quite warm there.

We got up quite early, since the plan for Thursday was for me to hike Grand Canyon down to river, and for the folks to see it from the rim. Taking advantage of having personal shuttle, I went down South Kaibab Trail and up Bright Angel Trail, and saved probably an hour of two of waiting and sitting on the park shuttle. Clickable map and fotos are here.
I was trying to go pretty fast (as you may see on this page, so, I was out a bit after 4pm (having started a bit after 9pm). I've met the folks few hundred meters down Bright Angel trail, then we walked to the car, which they managed to park quite nearby. On the way out of Grand Canyon, we stopped on a couple more overlooks, and then we drove to Page, Az, where we had a motel.

On Friday, we took our time to get out of the motel, and then went to see the Glen Canyon Dam. We did the whole tour, and had to hang around for it for a while, so, we did not get out of Page before 1pm.
Then we drove through Cottonwood Road to Cannonville. On the way, we stopped for about 2 hour walk through Cottonwood Wash narrows, which are right next to the road. Clickable map and fotos are here.
Then we continued through Escalante to Hole in the Rock road and camped on Harris Wash Trailhead for the next two nights.

On Saturday, I went off to explore the Red Breaks Canyon, while the folks just wandered around and relaxed in the natural setting. Clickable map and fotos from Red Breaks are here. The canyon turned out to be probably the best slot I was in so far, just technical enough for my abilities (chimneying,...), quite tight and scenic.
In the evening we relaxed at the campfire, which was a good ending of a good day.

Sunday was the time to go home, but, before, I wanted to lead my parents through the real slot. I choose Spooky and Peekaboo gulches a bit off Hole in the Rock road, because they are short and easily accessible. What I did not count in was their narrowness, Spooky turned out to be too narrow for my dad and too spooky for my mom. So, they went back and explored the sandstone plateau around the gulches and a bit wider narrows of the Dry Fork above Peekaboo. I went up Spooky through the middle section, which is also quite nice, and returned via Peekaboo. Clickable map and fotos are here.
Then we drove back home, stopping for a while at the Devils Garden area off the Hole in the Rock road, which turned out to be quite scenic as well.

U of U / CHPC / Cuma / Travel / English / Southwest 03