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4x4tographer

2023 Grand Canyon & Kaibab Adventure

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Hello everyone! Fresh back from another adventure through the north end of the state. It's always incredible to drive through Arizona and see how truly diverse the landscape, geography, people, and the weather can be here. It's amazing.

 

Folks on this trip included: @Bradywgn71 @theksmith @Dennis Szymanski @Ken Ford @Mick Bowers @AZRNintheJeep242 @OffroadFun @Curly

 

For this adventure we laid down the miles and met up in Seligman at the famous Roadkill Cafe, right on old Route 66. It's a sleepy little down, but one full of history and interesting things to look at.

 

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We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the Roadkill Cafe and then jumped on a beautiful section of Old Route 66 on our way into Peach Springs. The road was nice and smooth, the white plains of grass ebbed up and down with the mesas and plateaus in the distance. 

 

We descended into Peach Springs, a very small town on the Hualapai reservation, and quickly found the Hualapai Lodge. Across the street next to a market was the one-room office that Hualapai Game & Fish uses for their permit operations. We queued up in line, paid out $16.27 per person, and then received our "Permit to Trespass" down to the Colorado River via Diamond Creek Road.

 

As we aired down, someone noted that the BNSF railway had trains thundering through on almost 15 minute intervals.

 

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After we were aired down, we hit the trail, which was literally across the street. After passing through the pretty depressing suburbs of the reservation, the views quickly opened up into pristine and towering canyon walls.

 

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The road was graded in some spots and bumpy in others. We only saw 3 other vehicles our entire time on the road - with an additional stop by a Hualapai Ranger who meticulously checked every permit in the group with a discerning eye.

 

You can see my permit jammed up on the center of the windshield.

 

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Running deeper and deeper into the canyon, the walls grew taller and taller. Eventually they topped out at almost 3,000 feet above road level. Not as deep as the well-known south rim of the Grand Canyon, but 3K feet of vertical rock ain't nothin' to sniff at.

 

For reference, I shoot with a 35mm camera - this gives you the approximate field of view of the average human eyeball. Hopefully that puts some of these images in perspective.

 

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We drove through the thickest ocotillo forest I've personally seen here in the southwest. They were everywhere, green, and thick with life.

 

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We made multiple creek crossing over Diamond Creek, which was bubbling and flowing with crystal clear water every few thousand feet.

 

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After about an hour, we made it to the mighty Colorado. The water was MOVIN'. Like really moving. You could see powerful ripples in the river as it moved over the rocky bottom, scraping the sides of the canyon and picking up silt and mud.

 

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Checking the topographical maps, the peaks around us topped about 4,600ft above sea level - the river is at 1,300ft.

 

Fun Fact: The elevation of the Colorado River at Bright Angel in the GCNP near the South Rim visitor center is 2,540ft above sea level, so there is more than a 1,000 foot drop over in water surface level about 125 miles. This helps explain the extreme momentum of the river. By the time the river hits Lake Havasu you're just 440 ft above sea level. 

 

The surrounding canyon walls on the South Rim are 7,000ft and over 8,000 at the North Rim.

 

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Here's the crew checking out the river.

 

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We broke to lunch at some nice pavilions with concrete tables with the roar of the river in the distance. After lunch, we made our way out the canyon.

 

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We made it back to Peach Springs, aired up, and headed up the 66, connecting to I40 into Williams. After a brief fuel stop, we made our way to camp for drinks and some fireside socializing (always my favorite part of every trip!)

 

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The next morning - we packed up and started our whirlwind tour of the wonders Kaibab NF has to offer - starting with the grand daddy of them all - Sycamore Canyon - Arizona's little known 2nd largest canyon.

 

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We had several first-timers with us who had never seen or heard of the canyon. Here's a nice shot of Dennis and Jeanine ogling the canyon and the snow-capped peaks of the San Francisco Mountains :

 

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Here's the view they were taking in:

 

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A few years ago the Raphael Fire swept through the canyon. Note the burned trees along the canyon wall in the foreground: 

 

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After "oohing and aaahing" the canyon, we headed north to connect with Sarah, Chris, Devon, & Tim. Sarah brought doughnuts! YUM!

 

Our next destination was nicely labeled:

 

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If you know - you know:

 

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Our plans to check out the Hardy Hill Trestle didn't pan out as there was a large tree blocking the trail, so we took an alternative route down a pipeline trail, which was surprisingly pretty.

 

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We made our way to Johnson Crater, an approx 1km wide hole in the ground. The story on it is its either a sinkhole or somehow related to past volcanic activity.

 

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We then made another fuel stop in Williams and made our way to camp. The site we stayed at on Friday night was so nice, we decided to do it all over again!

 

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Here's Jack's neat "spaceship tent".

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Ken - setting up the Leslie's Pool Guy truck camper shell:

 

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Dennis and Jeanine's nice custom overland trailer and RTT setup:

 

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Darryl's rig, blending in to it's surroundings:

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Here's Kristoffer - enjoying breakfast in the sunrise the next morning:

 

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Marty's Betty Lou:

 

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Mick's sweet trail limo:

 

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Sunday morning we took Jerome-Perkinsville Road into Jerome, stopping a few times to take in the views. Government Canyon was pretty neat, hidden beneath a pretty inconspicuous bridge.

 

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Of course, it wouldn't be ORP without some shenanigans!

 

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This photo makes me think ORP is about the drop the sickest alt-rock album of 2023: "Boats & Hoes"

 

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Jumping back on the trail, things were pretty dusty (for most of the trip!). The switchbacks always make for fun photos:

 

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We stopped at the Perkinsville Bridge for a quick photo and to check out the Verde River.

 

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The views all along J-P road are always stellar:

 

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All in all - it was a great trip with a great group of people. I love the ORP fam!

 

Thank you all for coming out and making it such a great and memorable trip!

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Awesome pics Ryan! That alt-rock album is gonna kick ass!!🤘

Bird Rocking Out GIF

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thanks for posting a trip report Ryan - awesome photos as always!

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Great photos and such a well organized trek! 
Ryan and Kris many thanks for looking after us on the trail. 
Thanks to all for the fun and thought provoking talks around the fires! 
Oh yea! and a special thanks to Sarah the donuts on the last morning. 

Edited by Mick Bowers
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Love the report. Here is the link to my photos. Feel free to download the ones you like.  Thanks again for such a fun couple of days. Hopefully we will get both Jeeps repaired soon and be back on the trails in the future with you all!

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Awesome pics and report!!! Great job Ryan!  Looks like it was a fun trip!

smiles, ladybug

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1 minute ago, theksmith said:

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Great photos man!

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