Ok, so I admit that this last trip had nothing to do with backpacking. However, it was an amazing experience that I want to share. Recently, my sister-in-law and her husband came out to visit my wife and I in Utah. I wanted to show them everything Utah has to offer, but was only able to take three days off of work (meaning a multi-day backpacking trip was off the table).
Instead we divided up the time between various National Parks in Southern Utah and Arizona. We dedicated our second day to visiting the Grand Canyon. However, I wanted to skip the visitor center and really experience the Grand Canyon. This meant going where my Honda CR-V just couldn’t.
We left Hurricane, UT at about 10:00am and took Hwy 59 to just past Pipe Spring National Monument (46 miles). We then turned off the Highway and said goodbye to civilization as we headed through the desert on Mt. Trumbull Rd (Co Hwy 109). Looking back this was a poor decision (recommended by a Park Ranger) and we could have saved a lot of time by taking Co Hwy 5 from Colorado City.
Luckily, the huge tires on the Rubicon allowed us to fly and we made it to Tuweep/Toroweap in about 3 hrs. The lookout was amazing and well worth the drive.
After lunch and some light exploring we got back in the Jeep and headed for the Nampaweap Petroglyphs. Nampaweap was only a short hike from a short detour off of our route, but well worth it. Although having hiked all over the Southwest I must admit that I’ve never seen anything like it (and most people haven’t – according to a guest book we were the first people to visit the site in over a month).
After Nampaweap we continued our journey to Whitmore Overlook which was used by Native Americans when crossing the Grand Canyon and is now used by rafters to exit the river after their trip down the Colorado.
Past the Bar 10 Ranch is were we realized why we needed the Jeep. I cant imagine driving over that lava rock in any other vehicle. Perhaps 4WD wasn’t required, but the huge tires and ground clearance definitely is.
We had plans to hike down to the Colorado from Whitmore (since we were only 800 ft above the river), but we had dinner reservations at the Bar 10 ranch and were running out of time. So we took a break, got into the cooler, and just enjoyed the view.
Dinner at the ranch was great and everybody was very welcoming. They even have a western show they put on for guests, but because we needed to get back to Cedar City that night we weren’t able to stay.
Heading through the desert at night was another adventure in itself. The temperature started to drop and the bats started to come out, but we still had no doors or top on our Jeep. Luckily as we came into St. George the temperature rose again and we were able to return the jeep at around 10:00pm – making our whole trip only about 12 hrs.