We left the Overland Expo the afternoon of Sunday, May 17 with Chris and Laura to drive north on the Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route, picking it up just east of Mormon Lake, where the expo was located. We had dry weather — a nice change — but made slow progress on the deeply rutted forest service roads. Camp that night was 11 1/2 miles south of Winona and was our best night of camping to date, thanks to the quiet, the drier, warmer weather, and being out in a more solitary spot and away from the crowded campground. Chris and Laura were camp cooks that night and as always they whipped up a delicious meal.
The next day we spent considerable time in the Flagstaff area reprovisioning and preparing for the next leg of the journey. Bill even installed his new skid plate in a WalMart parking lot. From there we continued north on the AZBDR, through Sunset Crater National Monument, and into the southern reaches of the Kaibab National Forest, where we camped that night.
We had a gorgeous camp spot off the road and beneath tall pines which we named “Coyote Loco” for the coyote who paced back and forth in a semi-circle near our camp much of the evening and brought his buddies close to camp to howl at us during the night.
The next day we visited the Grand Canyon at Grandview Point, and enjoyed a nice hike below the rim on the Grandview Trail.
After our hike we continued north into Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, where we camped — another nice camp spot. Along the way we crossed the Colorado River at Navajo Bridge, and stopped and had dinner at Cliff Dwellers Lodge on Highway 89A, one of our favorite spots.
Next: Return to Buckskin Gulch!