April 2016: Well that got your attention, didn’t it?? We’d been hanging around Kanab, UT waiting for Eric’s brother and sister-in-law to arrive at nearby Pipe Springs National Monument. Teresa has been doing some volunteer interpretive stints at National Parks, and Pipe Springs was next on the list. We moved just over the border to Kaibab, Arizona to camp with them for a few weeks. Pipe Springs was very important back in the day. A natural spring there allowed Mormon settlers to establish a cattle ranch to supply the residents of nearby St. George, Utah (where the main LDS Temple was located) with beef. It has a fascinating history that is intertwined with that of the Kaibab Paiute tribe, the history of polygamy in the LDS Church, and the connection of the young country by telegraph (it was the first telegraph site established in the Arizona Territory). Today, Park staff and volunteers tend a few cattle, chickens, a horse & a mule as well as a garden, giving visitors a taste of what daily life at the Fort was like. As part of the National Parks Centennial festivities, there were special events during our visit, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the archives. I highly recommend a visit here.
While visiting with Sterling and Teresa we took a few day trips, including a visit to the north rim of the Grand Canyon at the Toroweap Overlook. The trip isn’t for the faint of heart: the road requires a high clearance vehicle and 4WD is recommended and, once you arrive, the 3,000 foot drop to the Colorado River has no protective barriers. Gulp. But the views are spectacular, including a view from the outhouse that must surely be in the top 10 outhouse views in the country!
Leaving Toroweap, we took a side trip to Nampaweap in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. Nampaweap is a Paiute word that means “foot canyon” and we took a nice hike down a cool canyon, shaded and fragrant with pinyon, to an area of extensive petroglyphs. There are many birth-image petroglyphs in this spot, along with a few intriguing ones that look like symbols for solar systems or alien space ships. So fascinating and I wish we knew what they all meant. Driving home on the higher-elevation mesa turned into a crazy game of “avoid the jack-rabbit” with jack-rabbit stops, as they are incredibly numerous up here! We stopped counting somewhere north of 100.
On Teresa’s weekend off, we all headed out to Kodachrome Basin State Park in Utah. Kodachrome Basin abuts Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and was given its name by an early National Geographic team who couldn’t believe the colors there. The Park is also known for its numerous chimney formations. Geologists can’t quite agree on how they were formed, but there are 67 of these sandstone chimneys throughout the Park. We had a spectacular view of one right from our front door. And, taken directly from the Park’s official webpage, these formations “inspire an infinite array of subjects limited only by one’s imagination.” Enough said.
In addition to some hikes within the Park, we took a short drive out to Grosvener Arch, a beautiful double-arch named for Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor who was the first full-time editor of National Geographic Magazine. We also had a very fun day hiking the Willis Creek Slot Canyon, an easy and beautiful hike. Even Eddy Beer and Ducky O’Haire had a lovely time paddling in Willis Creek. Can’t wait to get back out west for more slot canyon hikes!
Our time with them is always too short, and soon it was time for Sterling and Teresa to stop being distracted and get back to work. And we had yet another Utah National Park to visit and it was a biggie! Stay tuned for more adventures and that time we almost got the motorhome stuck.