I had a kinder free week last week and some vacation time on the schedule. Originally I was going to race Coconino 250 but unfortunately the knee I thought I had rehabbed had different ideas and said no thanks. Pedaling drives my knee crazy but walking is fine.So I went on a lil walkabout in Northern Arizona/Southern Utah. There are many magnificent places I do not often visit near here because bikes are not allowed.
Due to my last minute change of plans I had no permits or reservations anywhere. I threw a bunch of maps and a variety of gear in my car and rolled solo with my fingers crossed.
Grand Canyon National Park North Rim was the first place I aimed for. There was an inch of snow on the ground, the sign on the entrance station said “north rim campground full” and the entrance station ranger was Mr Grumpy! Not a great start.
Lucky #1: 4pm at the back-country office I got the last back country permit for the following night at Cottonwood and the night after at Phantom Ranch. Super lucky to walk up and get those!! The ranger in the back-country office was Mrs Jolly.
Lucky #2: Mrs Jolly ranger at the back-country office called over to her buddy ranger at the “full” campground and hooked me up with a spot in the group site – score!! That saved me about 50 miles of driving.
Lucky #3: I was invited to join a roaring fire at the group site and had a great evening chatting with the group.
North Kaibab Trail down into the Grand Canyon is pretty much a highway. I think next time I am on this trail I will have a bicycle with me (if I am lucky enough).
Lucky #4: I hiked into the inner canyon. It has been a long time since I have done that. I love the Grand Canyon. It is perhaps my most favorite place in the whole world. Lucky me to be there.
Lucky #5: No wind, beautiful day. In fact weather was absent from my entire trip.
Cottonwood campground. The tarp was mostly to keep the full moonlight out of my eyes! Beautiful night.
Ribbon Falls is a side trip off the main Kaibab trail and worth it. I got wet taking this pic.
Cute cabins at Phantom Ranch. To sleep in a cabin here you need to apply 13 months in advance on the 1st of the month and be really lucky. Sounds like getting in to some bike races…
Black suspension bridge on Kaibab Trail crossing the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Self portrait pic to prove I was there!
I loved the hike out of the canyon the next day. Stowed my camera and motored up in a sweat. That felt great. My knee has hurt too much on a bike this year to build up much of a sweat but hiking seems fine for it – frustrating as riding my bike is really what I want to do most days and all day. I really like to ride my bike.
Lots more lucky ensued the rest of my week – more picslater.