California 2021:
Day 18 - Toroweap Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park


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California 2021: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Route 66: IL] [Day 3 - Route 66: MO] [Day 4 - Route 66: OK] [Day 5 - Route 66: TX] [Day 6 - Route 66: NM] [Day 7 - Route 66: AZ] [Day 8 - Route 66: CA] [Day 9 - Route 66: CA] [Day 10 - Los Angeles] [Day 11 - Los Angeles] [Day 12 - Palm Springs] [Day 13 - Joshua Tree NP] [Day 14 - Death Valley NP] [Day 15 - Las Vegas] [Day 16 - Zion NP] [Day 17 - Grand Canyon North Rim] [Day 18 - Toroweap, Grand Canyon] [Day 19 - Page, AZ] [Day 20 - Durango, CO] [Day 21 - Great Bend, KS] [Day 22 - St. Louis, MO] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

Wednesday, November 17, 2021: We left Jacob Lake Inn at 7:30 AM, ...
... headed north, ...
... back into Utah to Kanab. We grabbed a quick breakfast at McDonald's and made our way to Dreamland Safari Tours.
We had a private tour booked for Toroweap Overlook. We checked in a little early, met our guide Shawn, and hit the road.
By 9 AM, we were off the pavement and on the BLM road we had seen the day before.
Shawn let air out of his tires for a better ride, and to reduce the risk of a puncture from any rocks on the dirt road.
The road was smoother than we expected, ...
... and Shawn told us about the nearby land and things that we would see, ...
... as we made our way to Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument.
We had the road to ourselves with the exception of one or two trucks headed north. We could see the dirt rising from the road long before we could see the vehicle that was coming.
Nampaweap and Mount Trumbull were getting closer, ...
... as was Toroweap.
There were warning signs about the road being primitive and not maintained, which would seem to be unnecessary after 50 miles on a dirt road.
The views were stunning.
We entered the Toroweap area of Grand Canyon National Park, ...
... and saw some deer with impressive antlers.
At the ranger station, there was a sign saying that we had entered the Greater Tuweep Metropolitan Area. Toroweap and Tuweep are synonymous.
We met Chris, a park volunteer about half-way into his six-month stay here.
Debbie went to use the restroom, ...
... not expecting much, ...
... and found it to be spotless and extremely pleasant for a pit toilet.
She complimented Chris on it and told him about the Bundlings Restroom Scale.
Eager to gain points, he showed Debbie the running water, ...
... but wasn't able to get any points for a heated toilet seat, no matter how hard he tried to convince her that the hot plate counted!
Tom asked where their electricity comes from, and Chris showed him their solar panels on the path past the fuel pumps. We really enjoyed our short but fun visit with him.
We left the ranger station behind and spotted the two deer Debbie had seen earlier walking back in the hills.
Let's zoom in.
They made their way up the hills as we continued south.
We saw one truck heading out from the overlook as we approached ...
... the truly rough part of the road. The last 2.7 miles required high clearance vehicles.
Chris shifted into four-wheel drive, and we started off at a slow but steady pace except for a few random boulders, ...
... and then the road disappeared and was replaced with just a rock field.
There was fantastic scenery on the sides of the road, including this little arch formation, ...
.... and the canyon was starting to become visible.
The road eventually turned into what we could only call stairs, but Shawn expertly negotiated his way down.
Finally, we arrived at the overlook parking and picnic area and eagerly got out to go look at the view.
We're here. We're really here! Shawn took our photo at this iconic spot, ...
... and Tom very carefully took a panorama from near the edge.
The view of the river was amazing, ...
... as was the canyon itself, as always.
We hiked to the other side of a hill along the canyon edge to get a different view, ...
... and Shawn pointed out that the dark pitted areas in the stone were caused by lightning strikes that had gouged the rock.
On the other side, we got to the overlook for Lava Falls, ...
... downriver from Toroweap.
Here's a zoomed in view of Lava Falls and Lower Lava Falls (further downstream), ...
... and an even closer shot of Lava Falls. We would be rafting down those rapids in just seven months.
Debbie had been expecting to see Vulcan's Anvil from here but after several unsuccessful tries from different viewpoints, she was ready to give up. Tom walked out onto a different part of the ledge and spotted it, just barely visible as a dark dot in the lower left in this photo.
Let's zoom in. Vulcan's Anvil is one mile upstream from Lava Falls and serves as a milepost of sorts to let you know that you're getting close. Here are views of it from the river in 1978, 1980, and 2006.
After many photos and just standing in awe of this place, we headed back to the picnic table for lunch.
Shawn pulled a cooler from the back of his truck and produced the turkey and ham sandwiches we had requested with our tour, plus bottles of water in souvenir bottles, Pringles, apples, and peanut butter crackers.
After lunch, Shawn and Tom sat and talked while Debbie went off alone to take more pictures.
She made her way back to the overlook and sat on this rock for a while, just taking in the canyon and the river.
She could see the guys at the picnic table under the tree.
Debbie took a photo of the classic Toroweap view, showing the sheer rock face.
Here's a view of the two smaller canyons across the river, one ...
... and two.
Debbie took pictures of each section of the river, starting furthest upstream. She promises that all rapids and campsites will be identified later.
Look at the way the river bends around the island in the middle.
Two rapids in quick succession.
With the shadows, its hard to tell if this is a rapid, or if it is just the change of the light.
That's a rapid, even if its just a small one.
Debbie walked a bit further south on the overlook and got a glimpse of another section of river downstream, ...
... and then walked even further to get another look at Lava Falls way downstream.
The vault toilet at the overlook has a view of the river from the deck.
We spent nearly two hours at the overlook, all by ourselves, which was unbelievable.
It had been perfect weather, with just the right temperature and not a cloud in the sky.
Just as we exited the roughest part of the road, we passed this truck headed to the overlook. Our luck had been incredible.
We had had little or no cell service for the last four hours, and as we got closer to civilization, we got a bar or two every 15 minutes or so. Debbie started getting text messages that required responses from Jill and from Claire's group home manager.
We passed the ranch areas and their lazy cows, ...
... and stopped for a while to watch this juvenile golden eagle being chased by a raven.
As we neared pavement, we saw a few horses grazing by the side of the road.
Back on the pavement, we enjoyed the last bits of scenery ...
... as we sped back ...
... to Kanab and Dreamland Safari Tours headquarters. The trip had taken six and a half hours and was worth every penny.
We stopped at Honey's Marketplace in Kanab to buy some sandwiches for lunch the next day.
We were overjoyed to find 12-packs of Caffeine Free Diet Coke.
As we left, we got another picture of the giant shopping cart in parking lot like the one we took when we were here in February.
We got gas and dinner at Wendy's, then had a call with Jill to catch up on her news. Finally, we Facetimed with our grandson Liam whose birthday had been a few days earlier and watched him open his birthday presents from us which we had cleverly brought to his house a month earlier without his knowledge.
We crossed back into Arizona for the last time on this trip ...
... and watched the beautiful colors of the landscape ...
... as the sun sank lower in the sky.
The sun had set completely and the nearly full moon was starting to rise ...
... when we arrived back at Jacob Lake Inn.
We stopped at the store again and bought some more beef jerky, Pop-Tarts, and a few chocolate parfait cookies, which we hadn't tried before. We also bought another six peanut butter cookies, which are among the best cookies ever made.

Day 19 >


California 2021: [Day 1 - Chicago] [Day 2 - Route 66: IL] [Day 3 - Route 66: MO] [Day 4 - Route 66: OK] [Day 5 - Route 66: TX] [Day 6 - Route 66: NM] [Day 7 - Route 66: AZ] [Day 8 - Route 66: CA] [Day 9 - Route 66: CA] [Day 10 - Los Angeles] [Day 11 - Los Angeles] [Day 12 - Palm Springs] [Day 13 - Joshua Tree NP] [Day 14 - Death Valley NP] [Day 15 - Las Vegas] [Day 16 - Zion NP] [Day 17 - Grand Canyon North Rim] [Day 18 - Toroweap, Grand Canyon] [Day 19 - Page, AZ] [Day 20 - Durango, CO] [Day 21 - Great Bend, KS] [Day 22 - St. Louis, MO] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

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