The Grand Canyon

When we left Bryce Canyon we headed south through Kanab, crossed into Arizona, and took our chances on a first-come first-served campsite at Jacob Lake Campground, which is 40 miles north of the Grand Canyon. Because we arrived midweek, there were plenty of campsites to choose from. The folks who arrived later in the week were not so lucky.

We chose Jacob Lake because of its proximity to the north rim of the Grand Canyon and because other RVers reported getting good internet and cell phone service there. Although there were plenty of boondocking sites closer to the park and, surprisingly, even one or two last minute spots at the park itself, we were both working remotely and needed good internet and phone service, which are limited south of Jacob Lake.

What we will remember most about this campground are the camp hosts and the toilets. These were the most dedicated camp hosts we have met so far and, consequently, the campground had the cleanest pit toilets we have seen so far. When we complemented the camp hosts on their work they said, “People love clean toilets!”

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We packed up our hiking gear the next morning and headed towards the Grand Canyon for a day hike. As we drove south on Route 67, the last thing we expected to see was snow—partly because it was late May and we were in Arizona, but mostly because it was sunny and clear when we left the campground. Less than an hour later, however, this was the scene as we approached the North Rim entrance:

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We drove further into the park, thinking that maybe we were imagining all of this white stuff falling from the sky. But at one point our kayaks tapped gently on the window of the truck and told us they had never been this cold before. They asked us to please turn around. Since we were prepared to hike but not prepared to hike in the snow, we gladly obliged and headed back to the campground.

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Even though our Grand Canyon plans didn’t work out, we found a much sunnier and warmer hike to do that afternoon in the Kaibab National Forest. We had never heard of the Arizona Trail before, but we learned that it is more than 800 miles long and stretches across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. We hiked just a very small fraction of the trail that day but we liked what we saw—including two deer and a coyote!

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The next day we decided to attempt another Grand Canyon visit. If we hadn’t taken pictures of the snow the day before, we most definitely would have thought that we imagined it all. Our second visit was less than 24 hours later and yet the roads were clear, the sky was clear, the temperature was a very pleasant mid-70s, and the views were spectacular.

To be honest, we almost skipped the Grand Canyon on this trip. After our visit to Canyonlands National Park, which is replete with vast canyons, we thought we were canyoned out and could no longer be impressed by canyons. Boy, were we wrong. There is nothing like standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and trying to take in the enormity of it all. We are so glad we stopped here!

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Our Grand Canyon visit was made even more memorable when we discovered that, without even trying, we were there at the exact same time as our friend Wendy. Even though Wendy lives in Florida and we live wherever we are parked on any given day, our paths happened to cross at the north rim of the Grand Canyon that Friday evening. It was such a treat to have dinner at the Grand Canyon Lodge with Wendy and her friend Simon. We love it when the stars align like that!

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When the time came to say good bye to our Jacob Lake camp hosts and their clean toilets, we retraced our steps and headed back into Utah, briefly, where our friend Wendy will make another appearance in the blog. More on that next time. For now, we will leave you with this great sign we saw while hiking in the Kaibab National Forest. See you on down the road!

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