Arizona – Grand Canyon and Coconino National Forest

Monday morning (10/1) we left Kanab, fully charged and with fresh tanks.  We were ready to be off grid for a week.  I had read about the extensive Forest Service roads above the Grand Canyon in the Kaibab National Forest.  Roxanne and Annie of the Good Luck Duck had written about where they had boondocked in the forest, so I programmed the GPS and headed down there.  Such a pretty drive in the Kaibab on Highway 67.

Kaibab National Forest along Hwy. 67

Kaibab National Forest along Hwy. 67 showing fall color

I drove out Forest Road 22, but didn’t find any sites I liked, so went across Hwy. 67 to FR 611.  Lots of good level sites along there.  We were just a bit off the road, deep in the forest.

Campsite in the Kaibab

Campsite in the Kaibab

Down the forest road about 3 miles is the east canyon viewpoint and Kaibab Trail.  Riley and I walked to the viewpoint/Saddle Mountain Wilderness.  Met a few folks hiking and camping along the canyon rim.

Riley hiking in the Kaibab

Riley on the Kaibab Trail, nearly camouflaged on the forest floor

We stayed 2 days, then drove about 20 miles down Hwy. 67 to the Grand Canyon North Rim.  We got to the campground at 8:30 AM and there were only a couple of campsites available.  We reserved one, then drove down to the lodge/visitor complex to get a view of the canyon.  A few hours later went back to the campground and got settled in to our site.  We were right next to the General Store, where I was able to use their wi-fi.  I had not been able to pick up a signal with my Verizon MiFi device while in the forest. Outside the store I saw a few Kaibab Squirrels.  They have a great white tail, reminding me of a Vegas showgirl.

Kaibab Squirrel, with a fluffy white tail.

Kaibab Squirrel, with a fluffy white tail.

Grand Canyon campground

Grand Canyon campground

I took Riley on the one trail that allows dogs, Bridle Trail, which runs along the road from the campground to the visitor center.  Later I hiked the Transept Trail that runs along the canyon rim from the campground to the visitor center. The view was very hazy, due to smoke from a prescribed burn in the forest south of the South Rim.

View from Transept Trail

View from Transept Trail

On Thursday morning we drove back to the lodge/visitor center area.  I wanted to hike out the Bright Angel Point trail.  Then we drove back up 67 to Jacob Lake, then over towards Page, under the Vermillion Cliffs, and south to Flagstaff.  We stopped at Walmart and the visitor center, then down I-17 to the Willard Springs area of the Coconino National Forest.  RV Sue had written about the area last year and it was on my list of places to be sure to visit on the trip.

We parked next to a shallow pond.  In the middle of the night I heard some odd sounds.  Turned out to be a herd of elk stopping at the pond for a drink.  There were a couple of males bugling.  It was very cool!!

Coconino National Forest Site

Coconino National Forest Site

There is a network of forest roads in the Coconino, too.  Riley and I walked all over.  Some areas of the roads are very rocky.

Riley on a break from the rocky forest road walk

Riley on a break from the forest road walk

We stayed 3 days, then on Sunday drove just a few miles down the road to Munds Park RV Resort.  I did laundry, took care of the tanks, watched the race and football, and got propane. I was pretty happy with this schedule of once a week at a commercial campground to take care of business, then the rest of the week off-grid.

On Monday we went to Flagstaff for groceries, then to a different area of the Coconino Forest.  Roxanne and Annie had found a nice boondocking area not too far from Flagstaff, and I had arranged to park nearby.  Roxanne is the moderator of the women’s RV Yahoo group I am on, so I had hoped to eventually cross paths.  I parked near their site and got to spend some time picking their brains.  They are SO nice! I really enjoyed meeting them, after sort of knowing them from the group, and reading their blog.

Again, Riley and I walked the network of roads in the beautiful forest.  Riley gets to play ball when we are in the forest away from other folks.

Riley has mad ball skills

Riley has mad ball skills.  (That’s the Good Luck Duck in the background)

We only stayed 2 days, as it was getting quite cold at night.  We headed east on I-40,  with a quick stop in Winslow.  I wanted to see the “Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona” statue.  Our next stop was going to be Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico.


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