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 > Trip Report - North Rim of the Grand Canyon - Sep 2013

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NVR2L82AV8

Las Vegas

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Posted: 09/29/13 06:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Alibi: 1st Trip Report. You’ll notice something a little different—map pics of the locations.

This was a quick weekend boondocking trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to see the fall color changes before winter. We'd heard the North Rim was more spectacular so why not. I can tell you it lived up to its reputation! The National Park Service says the North Rim gets only 10% of the visitors the South Rim gets--I believe it. Highway 89A leads to Jacob Lake. Access to the North Rim is via Highway 67 (Grand Canyon Highway) from Jacob Lake.

Jacob Lake

[image]

Hwy 89A and Hwy 67 are busy two lane highways with the assortment of vehicles - be prepared to drive the speed limit or less as inevitably you'll end up behind someone sticking to it.

After a busy Thursday night getting everything packed and prepped for a quick departure after work Friday, we set out as planned knowing we'd be getting into the National Forrest way after dark Friday evening. I got off early enough to prepare a great traveling meal in the AF 990 camper stove - chuck roast in garlic, onions, and mushroom soup with two large baked potatoes in foil at 200 degrees. Anyway, we rolled into the Kaibab National Forrest and the Grand Canyon HWY around 8 pm-I swear I could smell the cooked Chuck Roast. At the entrance to the Grand Canyon highway there is a Chevron station to top off if needed. Slow down and watch out for deer on highway 67 – it was after dusk and they would pop up like rabbits along the road from the ditch. We saw at least 30 anywhere from single bucks to herds of 10. It was unreal. Heading down highway 67 we decided to check out Demotte Campground just for grins. It’s in the Kaibab National Forrest prior to entry into the Grand Canyon National Park.

[image]

The National Park has a campground but yep, you guessed it—it was full. You can reserve a camp spot or check if it’s full here Lots of good info):

North Rim - Campgrounds

We'd thought Demotte Campground was first come first serve, but in fact, the signs say half the sites are reserveable (just heads up). After a quick glance at the "Full" campground sign and with hungry bellies we rolled to the more fun alternate plan. So, off into the Forrest for a little dry camping we went. We departed the campground and continued south on highway 67 (Grand Canyon highway) until we got to Deer Lake and made a right turn onto a gravel road – FDR 22 (see pic above).

You’ll notice Google has FDR 22 Mismarked. It is actually right after Deer Lake and it’s ID’d well by signage.

Immediately turning west we begin an ascent up the ridge. The road was outstanding except for some washboard areas around turns. But, by and large it was a well-traveled road that had 5th Wheelers and some large RVs camped within site of the road. Did I tell you we were getting hungry? We hate getting in after dark but sometimes it is what it is...at least I'm considerate and minimize noise and lights. With hunger taking priority and the clock getting later, we decide to grab any available spot visible from the road with ability to level the camper. The hunt was on.

At a major intersection on FDR 22 we spot an isolated camp spot fairly level—the LED spotlight works great!

[image]

But oh man, there’s nothing like pulling in to back up with the valves rattling in the diesel that wakes up the quiet forest at dark. As I'm backing into the spot and up onto my rear leveling block through the brush and trees about 150 meters away I see another camping vehicle--darn it. After a quick lights off shutdown the slide comes out and we're inside. The oven smell fills the camper and the rush is on. Time for dinner!! The roast just fell apart and the gravy on the potato was outstanding! I didn’t take a pic but trust me it was tender and out of this world.

We woke to temps in the low 50s. DW cooked up some percolator coffee, to die for fresh blueberry pancakes, and some pork links. We quickly packed up and headed off to the Grand Canyon National Park Lodge. So, back down FDR 22 to Highway 67 and to the Park entrance. As I’m waiting in line a foreign visitor in the car behind us walks up to the passenger side and says our rear camper door is open. Crap. Yea, seems when Northwood mounted my door latch they mounted it too far low. So, from the inside or outside you can’t “lock” the camper, as the slide lock won’t engage in the door gap and hits the latch mounted on the vertical frame instead. You’d think this would be a no brainer no way to screw up during production by having a template that is at the right height every time—unreal. I’ll post my Northwood quality/issues after I craft up my letter to them and the issues I’ve found. But, I digress…..

Parking at the lodge was plentiful with plenty of maneuver room. We hiked the grounds and checked out the lookout points.

[image]

[image]

[image]

It was late morning so it was time to get going out west and setup our boon docking site. The plan was to head out to the West part of Kaibab National Forrest right on the rim of the Grand Canyon National Park to either Crazy Jug or Monument View. Here's a link to a Forrest Service Map:

Crazy Jug and Monument View Kaibab National Forrest Map

So, off we went back North on 67 to FDR 22. We turned left on FDR 22 and off we went again. The deeper you go in the forest the narrower the roads get.

[image]

We drove a good 10 miles and then saw a small sign for a Fire watchtower off FDR 22. Left turn--Detour time.

[image]

[image]

We climb the tower, take some photos from the tower

[image]

and then grab some lunch in the camper. It was now about 1 pm so we needed to get rolling. Who knows what type of road we have in front of us? We continue on FDR until the first FDR 425 turnoff left. It’s a more direct route but as you’ll notice from the Forrest Service link to the .pdf above its also the preferred “Bicycle path” – hmmm. I should have noted that before….hindsight is always 20/20. Oh, and one other thing – we’d not seen another vehicle since we got off hwy 67 until the fire tower when a Dodge truck drove in and right out. So, this is my kind of outback! We roll down FDR 425 and the deeper we go the narrower the road gets. There’s no fresh vehicle tracks except the ones I’m leaving. Soon, it’s no longer a road but two narrow ruts in places. I can hear the trees wiping the dust off the sides of the camper as the road narrows. We get quite a ways in and the road branches off with a FDR 425 A. Hmm…some kind of alternate. Wish I’d seen that on a map somewhere. Lets stay on the primary. Not a half mile later we make a slow left turn right into a steep narrow road heading down the side of the mountain into a ravine—can’t back up now!! Oh fun!! Where is that cell connection when you need it!

[image]

You’ll see from the Google Earth map the alternate path just keeps you up on the ridge vice going down into the narrow canyon. Looking back I wish I’d have taken a pic of the dually heading down the rutted narrow path on the side of that mountain. Did I tell you the map markes this as a bicycle route? Unreal. We slowly traverse the hill and at the bottom make a hairpin turn to the right. This road now looks like the driveway to my parent’s house in the Washington wilderness. Great bike path indeed but the walls of the road seem to be closing in on us and we’re now 50/50 dirt/gravel. The forecast was partially cloudy. All of sudden here we are in this valley and BOOM. Thunderclouds are now right in front of us moving our direction. I just know I’ll be in 4 wheel drive any minute as there are already areas of big ruts and mud in this low lying area. Fun stuff in the F350 without a one ton camper on top but hey, as they say in Vegas, we’re all “IN.” The rains start – it’s getting slippier and no end in sight. I’m praying at this point none of the branches up top rip off my A/C on the roof. Did I mention this is one awesome bicycle path? The clouds and rain roll-on like us. We’re in between these steep valleys meandering our way when all of a sudden we see this.

[image]

[image]

Yea, I carry an axe and a handsaw and this is going to take some time and effort. Originally, we’d plan to do this trip on the three-day weekend but this whole area was getting pummeled with rain and storms. I’m guessing this tree fell down the previous week during the storms. Regardless, turning around at this point is just gonna make this day even longer and who knows. Man, this would be a great bicycle path!! Well the DW and I analyze the predicament and get right to inspecting the tree for options. The bottom had rotted and broke off but the tree itself was still solid. We grab ahold of it like wrestlers and manhandle it to a position next to the road. It was heavy but we got it. That saved us some Paul Bunyan time most assuredly.

We climb in the F350 and my DW reminds me, “when we boondock we really boondock!” I’m thinking we must to be getting close to another road at this breakneck speed-NOT-but we keep driving on. Turns out the section we were on was about 10 miles long. We roll around a corner and roll into FDR 292.

[image]

We turn left and head back up a long drawn out climb. At the top there’s signs for Crazy Jug and Monument Peak. We head about 2 miles to Monument peak. It’s a big area where vehicles can park/camp etc. There must have been about 10 vehicles. We turn around and head up the road to a perfect camping spot on the rim.

[image]

[image]

The big SA (Situational Awareness) pic

[image]

We set up camp with a small campfire. Life is good!

[image]

The view is unreal out the back door of the camper.

[image]

The sunset is perfect.

[image]

The winds die down the temps drop down to the comfortable 50s after sunset. There is no TV reception, no cell reception, and only two radio stations you can hear on the dial….my kind of camping!!

In the morning we cook up some orange rolls with some coffee.

[image]

Camper is a nice 68 degrees and outside it’s a cool 52. Even though our spot is close to the road, only one vehicle passes the entire time we’re there. We pack up and plot our course home. We head down FDR 292A to FDR 292 and FDR 425 North (not the East to West FDR 425) the road we came in on. As we proceed up FDR 425 we get to the FDR 22 intersection and make a left. This takes us North out of the Kaibab National Forrest plateau to Ryan Road and the town of Fredonia, AZ.

All in all a great weekend getaway!!! Camp on my friends.


2013 AF 990
2003 F350 6.0L 4X4 DRW, Oil bypass filter, Coolant Filter, Blue Spring fuel pressure mod, DELO ELC, DashBoss Bluetooth engine monitor, EGT/FP gauge, SuperSprings, torklift hitch/tiedowns, 48" SuperTruss, fastguns, Kenwood CMOS Backup Camera.

TucsonJim

Tucson, AZ, USA

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Posted: 09/29/13 06:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice report. Thanks for sharing some of those locations.


2016 Ford F350 Turbo Diesel SRW 4x4
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2013 Ford F350 Turbo Diesel SRW 4x4 (Destroyed by fire - 8/29/16)
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4aSong

Northwest Arizona

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Posted: 09/29/13 07:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing, thoroughly enjoyed reading your detailed report with pictures and locations.
We were up in that area last year and spent some time at Kaibab Camper Village at Jacob Lake. I do minimal forest service road driving but have found sites within 3 miles off Highway 67 for boondocking.

Most important, be sure and let us know of your next trip so we can be prepared for the feast that is being served. [emoticon]


M & N

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hl remington

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Posted: 09/29/13 07:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip report thank you for sharing

rexlion

Broken Arrow OK

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Posted: 09/29/13 08:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow, those are some rugged trails you found. I'd enjoy camping right on the rim, but no way do I want to take my TT down any trails that narrow or rough. Know if there are any boondock spots on the rim that aren't so challenging to reach?


Mike G.
--for now, using a cargo trailer for camping--
Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. --Benjamin Franklin
photo: Yosemite Valley view from Taft Point


muelldawg

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Posted: 09/29/13 08:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Boy O Boy, what a report!!
After reading, we will return to the North Rim.
Thanks!


Richard & Marilyn
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jmtandem

western nevada

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Posted: 09/29/13 09:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow! Thanks for the excellent pics.


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NVR2L82AV8

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Posted: 09/29/13 09:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the responses. It was a great trip. You can get to Crazy Jug and Monument Peak with a TT if you come in from the Northern route - the route we departed for home. The roads were fine although some stretches were a little steep and washboardy. In fact, I saw three two wheel drive cars parked at Monument Peak - my guess is they were out backpacking. I'm sure they came in via FDR 22 to FDR 425 heading South to FDR 292. If in doubt call the Forest Service for some suggestions based on your traveling equipment.

Taking the short-cut route on FDR 425 is not recommended without 4 wheel drive--I'd definitely not take a TT on FDR 425 running East and West. And, some of those branches left a mark!

You just can't beat the views right on the rim - and pictures just do not do it justice. We intend to return.

dadwolf2

Henderson,NV

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Posted: 09/29/13 09:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice, I leave in the morning for the north rim to meet up with Seldomseen. I don't think we will be eating as well as you did!


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old idaho guy

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Posted: 09/29/13 09:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great report! Can't wait to try it out

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