Grand Canyon of Arizona

Pam and I just returned home from what has become a yearly trek down to Phantom Ranch for an over night stay with friends. We took the Roamer this year and camped on the Rim the night before and after the hike. No trip to northern AZ would be complete without a stop at Beaver Street Brewery in Flagstaff.


We had lunch there on Friday and on our way home on Monday. We never get tired of that place.

Tom, our eldest son, is changing jobs that will take him initially back east and who knows after that so he made the trek with us this year.


It was the first time we had three in the Roamer. The bench seats make into another bed so it worked out pretty well for the night. The weather Friday and Saturday was perfect for hiking, and unseasonably warm.


The 10 of us headed down Bright Angel on Saturday.


And dropped down to the river past Indian Gardens.


It was beautiful down at Phantom Ranch for February. Some of us made it to happy hour at the Ranch but enjoyed a few drinks at a picnic table waiting for the dinner bell.


We also lucked out with some last-minute cancellations to score 3 cabins at the Ranch instead of sleeping in the bunk houses.


We hiked back out on South Kaibab trail that has a nasty switchback section right from the river up to the first plateau. Looks like there was a river boat trip also docked there for the night.


The weather was predicted to get wet and because the north rim is a 1000 feet higher than the south rim it hit there first and followed us out of the canyon. This was looking back towards the north rim on our way out.


The rest of the folks headed south after the hike, including Tom, but Pam and I stretched our legs on a walk, had a couple of glasses of wine, some homemade turkey soup and camped for the night as the snow started. We woke up to different world in white.


Drove over to the rim this morning and the canyon was covered in snow and clouds. The El Tovar hotel is on the Rim and covered in white. We had a great meal there Friday night before our trek down.


The drive home was very nice too. All snowy and not much traffic. The roamer in 4 wheel drive eats this up so I was a little bummed that we didn’t see someone off the road that would allow me to use its winches to pull them out.


There were a lot of folks coming north that slid off the interstate south of Flag once they hit the snow and ice, but there were just as many tow trucks busy at work getting them out of the ditch.

Safe and sound at home again in the sun. Wow, what a great state.

Southeast Arizona

Pam and I just returned from a 600 mile, 5-day adventure down to southeast Arizona. We traveled with friends who knew the area well so we were just followers for most of the trip.

We first stopped in a old ghost mining town of Pearce, Arizona. With my jeep project nearly complete I spied a possible next project in the town.


Not sure Pam agrees with the choice, but you never know.

We then headed down to the Whitewater Draw to see the sandhill cranes. There were thousands of them in the marsh enjoying the Arizona winter.


It was hard to get close to them but they were flying all around us.


Cranes were not the only birds there. It was a bird watcher paradise. We saw great-horned owls, red-tailed hawks and an assortment of ducks.



We camped right at the Draw for a night and enjoyed the cranes and coyotes with the full moon.



The area is also historically significant as the place Cochise, Geronimo and a few hundred held off over 500,000 US and Mexican soldiers for many years. We went to the east stronghold, their winter place.


The campground there may be a good place to revisit.


We then traveled to their summer haven across the valley high in the Chiricahua mountains.


We’ll be going back there to do more hikes and exploring in the rocks.



We then traveled the old stagecoach route that was the main route from El Paso to Tucson in the 1860s.


To the old stagecoach stop and Ft Bowie.



It’s now a 1.5 mile hike from a dirt road to get the fort. It was the howitzer that changed the tide in the Apache wars.


We then headed north to the Colossal Cave near Vail, AZ.


The caves were made into a public place by the hard work of the CCC back in the 1930s. The buildings at the entrance are still standing and looking like they could last another century.


The caves were carved mostly by sulfuric acid so they made the rock like swisscheese on the inside.


The largest room in the caves was used for poker games when outside was blistering hot.


We visited the ranch nearby for a nice lunch break.


We then continued on to Saguaro National Park to view the cactus and update our US Parks annual pass. We hit 35 parks last year so it will probably be a good investment again this year.

We camped at Picacho Peak for the night.


Not a bad view from our campsite.


Hit another park on the way home as Casa Grande. The Indian settlement that dates back to the 1300s.


Home again for the weekend – maybe… but another great trip in the Roamer.