Thursday, April 28, 2016

Beautiful New Territory

April 26-28, 2016
Cameron, AZ

I inadvertently add 30 miles to our trip on Tuesday by not taking Hwy 162/68 to Kingman, instead going through Bullhead City and Needles to connect with I-40. It's a nice drive, just longer than it needed to be.

We get a long pull-through site back at Grand Canyon Railway RV Park where they let me use Passport America even though we've already used our "seven nights in a 30-day period". For the first time we leave the Jeep connected overnight.

Monday night in Laughlin, NV, the low was 58 degrees. Back in Williams, AZ, the high is 56 degrees. 5000 feet elevation gain makes a big difference!

It's a little less than a mile to Anna's Cafe - I'm craving their green chili burrito :-). The wind is "brisk", but it's a nice walk.

It is 29 degrees early Wednesday morning - we aren't doing a great job of "following the seasons" this Spring!

Our two-night stop at the Cameron Trading Post is so we can visit Desert View at the Grand Canyon and see some of the Navajo Nation. Intermittent rain is expected for the rest of the week.

Parked in the red dirt, Cameron, AZ
The colors of Northern Arizona
are varied and beautiful
We head out after 11:00 Thursday morning to see the southeast area of the Grand Canyon. The wind is up and there are dark clouds in the distance. Hwy 64 is a lovely smooth, wide road. Reservation homes are spread out among the canyons and rocks, the views are incredible.

The first Scenic View is staffed and maintained by the tribe, with rest rooms, covered picnic tables, and rows of Navajo vendors selling jewelry, blankets and other items. Donations are accepted at the entrance kiosk.

And the OMG Little Colorado River Gorge!

We are completely surprised by the size of this canyon
Like its grander cousin, there are multiple ravines 
The Painted Desert is visible in the distance
You I don't need to get all the way to the edge to see just fine
It is the very, very little dry Colorado River here
At the time we don't realize how much we should appreciate the sunshine
The tall, sheer walls are breathtaking 
A few sprinkles on our windshield turn into light flakes as we enter the national park. It's 39 degrees, the clouds are very dark, the wind is blowing hard.

We move quickly to the small trading post/snack bar at Desert View - we aren't dressed for this cold. Neither are the bus loads of tourists so we are all inside. There are pretty things to see.....

Outside visibility reduces to a few yards. Bill braves the low temps to check out the canyon. He returns with his jacket covered in snow and confirms nothing can be seen from the rim. 

Watchtower at Desert View - pretty huh?
Temps drop and the snow starts to stick
There's no sign it's going to clear up anytime soon so we make our way back to the parking lot. Our faces are burning from the sideways snow hitting us, and Tessa is covered. 

Back in the Jeep we are laughing (with the heater on blast) at this latest adventure. We'll come back and see this "end" of the canyon another time.

Once we leave the storm behind us, we make another stop to view the gorge. Our Grand Canyon visit may have been a bust, but we are still so glad we stopped here for a couple days in this beautiful area.

We make a last stop at the trading post and then relax at home for the evening.

The trading post is celebrating its 100 year anniversary
Little Colorado River (dry here too) behind the trading post property
Construction is nearly complete on the new four lane bridge, replacing the swayback bridge built in 1911 to create the first easy access over the gorge. 
Only a few clouds remain
as the setting sun lights the mesas to the northeast
It's wonderful to be back in new territory, exploring places we've never been. Friday to Page, AZ, for a week.


  1. You two put the 'snow' in snow birds :-) Sounds like a nice outing even with the unexpected cold flakes.

    1. You're so right - good one!! At least it only sticks around for a day :-)

  2. Jodee, those two photos of Northern Arizona are spectacular! The colors (even the blue-greys) are so neat. Even with uncooperative weather you still managed to get great views of the canyon. We really didn't need to see all that snow:) It make me cold to read this:) Love that sunset...gorgeous red rocks!

    1. Thanks Pam :-) We're looking forward to more of those amazing colors as we move north. If you haven't seen the Little Colorado River Gorge it's definitely worth the 14 mile side trip off 89. We were blown away by those canyons!

  3. There's so much to see in that area. Glad you're taking as much of it in as you can. Hopefully, it'll warm up soon.

    1. So far Hwy 89 has been absolutely beautiful. I'm sure we didn't plan enough time here!

  4. Tessa: "Hey Mom...there's a big hole over here!"

  5. Really lovely pictures of the little canyon. Can't say I'm surprised by snow at the Canyon in April but really sorry you didn't get to experience the Watchtower. It is magnificent. Well at least I love it. But I love its architect. Hope you get back to some more traditionally spring type weather soon. Maybe you should head further east. It's gorgeous here with azalea and dogwood and 70 degree temps.

    1. I was disappointed not to see the tower, as I have read a lot about it. Although cloudy, it's much warmer here in Page - and we've actually seen more flowers!

  6. You captured some great shots of the canyon! small step and over the edge!..eek!
    heights make my knees 'wobble'...

    1. As much as I love the beauty of these deep canyons.....getting anywhere near the edge makes all of me wobble!

  7. Still beautiful! Loving the snow for a bit though.

    1. Living in SoCal my whole life I get excited over a little snow - but the timing sucked :-(

  8. Snow?? You're making me nervous, as we continue our travels west….seriously, I know it isn't that unusual for April. But it looks really cold, and seems so strange after our long winter in Florida. You're making the most of your adventures, as usual -- those colors you captured in your landscape photos are just gorgeous.

    1. Further south they're not seeing any, even in the Tombstone, AZ, area - but we have at least cold rain on and off through next week. Hoping it doesn't keep us from seeing the beauty we know is waiting for us in Zion and Bryce! The colors of AZ continue to amaze me.