Jess finished up polying the cabinets tonight! Going to be a busy next 2 weeks. I haven’t left yet and its already surreal. We have gone on cool adventures before but this is a little different. We built a camper with our hands and get to drive 10,000 miles around the United States together, immersing ourselves deep in Mother Nature’s arms. The highway is calling…
Water tested = PASSED. Got the memory foam and the bedding all situated. Bought fabric for the curtains. Built a box on the tongue of the trailer for my battery. Strapped my tent, hammock and sleeping pads underneath the cabinets. New tires, new fenders and door installed. Accomplished week / weekend. One more piece of trim on its way for the back hatch. I leave Wednesday to “test camp” in it for a few nights on Lake Kerr in North Carolina with the fam.
The Grand Canyon is unreal. It’s feels as if you are staring at a painting or a backdrop for a John Wayne movie.
Jess and I visited the South Rim. I really would have liked to to gone to the North Rim just to avoid the Disney World crowd like madness. Our trip was originally planned for coming up from southern Arizona so the South Rim made sense. Due to the fires in the Coconino area and our reservations being cancelled our trip changed last minute and was rerouted.
After setting up camp we headed to the visitor center to attend to our ritual, postcards and a sticker. The visitor center had to have thousands of people there, total madness. The stress levels started to rise. After coming from Bryce and Arches, the crowds just were too much to handle.
Luckily Jess and I read up on a few cool hikes to beautiful views of the South Rim away from the overwhelming crowds. We headed to the first hike’s trailhead, two other cars in the small parking lot was a great sign. We headed down the trail excited to get “our” views of the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a very spiritual place, I didn’t want that compromised because of the stampede like crowd of tourists. So two cars in the parking lot was an exciting view. The trail was only a little over a mile each way, cake. Coming around the last bend was more than we could have asked for. A ledge that ultimately sticks out into the canyon, I saw Jess’s face light up. After spending hours that only seemed like a mere five minutes we headed back to camp.
This morning we woke up with a family of Elk in our campsite. Grazing the grass and paying no mind to Jess and I’s excitement. We hung out with the elk as one while we ate our egg white burritos. The smile wouldn’t leave my face, waking up with Elk 50 feet from us is what it’s all about.
This morning we are headed to a few more view points including Desert View which I am pretty excited about. I definitely would like to come back to the Grand Canyon and hike down into the canyon. Unfortunately when I booked the sites, all the backcountry permits for camping were booked up. Always next time. Now we are headed
back into the magical state of Utah to experience Zion National Park. We only have two nights there. We will be nonstop, fitting in as much as we can. We can always sleep this fall when we head back east.
Leaving July 1st! Our trip has flexibility but here is the rough itinerary.
1) Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee 2) Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico 3) White Sands National Monument, New Mexico 4) Coconino National Forest, Arizona 4.5) Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona 5) Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 6) Zion National Park, Utah 7) Death Valley National Park, California 8) Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California 9) Yosemite National Park, California 10) Lake Tahoe, California 11) Crater Lake National Park, Oregon 12) Oregon Nature Exploring 13) Glacier National Park, Montana 14) Banff National Park, Canada 15) Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 16) Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming 17) Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado 18) Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado 19) Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Please throw out some suggestions/ must see/must do of places that we are going to or places that are nearby that can’t be missed!
Last weekend we went to Glen Onoko Falls in Pennsylvania. Tahoe had his first sip of cold mountain water and took his first breath of fresh mountain air, a very important moment for an adventure dog. We had lunch together next to the waterfalls, he munched on his dog food and I had my peanut butter banana sandwich. We scrambled rocks, hopped across streams, howled at the trees and enjoyed the sounds and sights of the waterfalls together. Mans best friend. Although it was a shorter hike, it was refreshing to be in the woods again. This upcoming weekend Jess Tahoe and I with a few friends will be taking a camping trip to upstate New York. Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring.
This morning was great. We woke up at 5:20 and caught the 6 am shuttle to
“The Grotto” to get to the Angel’s Landing trailhead. Angel’s Landing is just over five miles roundtrip. With the last half of a mile with narrow routes and cliff exposures. Zion National Park is beautiful, when entering the park you drive through a mile long tunnel. The tunnel ends with a breathtaking view of the sandstone mountains and valley below.
After I am done eating this egg burrito we will be taking the shuttle to Emerald Pools for a short hike. Tomorrow morning we will be doing The Narrows if the weather stays beautiful. I can’t wait. Thanks to @squaretradegoodsco for hooking us up with some gear. Check them out for the best scents and rad gear
We left The Great Smoky Mountains National Park around noon on Wednesday. As you can see our route changed a bit. Some of our reservations were cancelled in Arizona due to fires. So, we high tailed it to Colorado stopping only for fuel and food. I didn’t get any sleep and drove the entire day Wednesday, Wednesday night and most of Thursday. Jess hopped in for a few hours here and there giving me a few breaks. You also might notice there is a picture of Jess driving and not me. That’s because Jess slept most of the time :) . Luckily I had some good driving tunes and coffee to keep me awake. We did get to stop and check out Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas which was a cool piece of art.
We got to the campsite late Thursday afternoon and went to sleep pretty early last night. We did get to meet our great camp neighbors who are from Minnesota and travel the U.S. every chance they get on their motorcycle while pulling a trailer tent. They have been doing it since 1990 and had some great tips and ideas for camping/the camper and cool recommendations for areas in the U.S.
Jess and I woke up at at 4am to hike around the Sand Dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park. For the first hour as the sun was coming up we were the only people in the park, that we could see at least. The Great Sand Dunes in Colorado are the tallest dunes in North America. Such a surreal natural beauty.