Escaped Doodles

Oct. 1, 2019 - Cottonwood & Chaco

After the North Rim we made a two day stop in Kanab to restock and wash. Kanab is a nice small town just over the Arizona boarder. We must have jostled some more hard pack in the black tank loose, as it would not drain upon arrival in Kanab. The good news is we're getting good at diagnosing and clearing blockages. Couple of hours later we have empty gray and black tanks, and a full fresh tank. Ready to go again.

After Kanab we went out Hwy 89 and up Cottonwood Canyon. The canyon goes north about half way between Kanab and Page on the south edge of GSE (Grand Staircase-Escalante). We made it up a terrible washboard road about 7 miles to a good boondocking site. We'd seen this site a few years ago when we drove Cottonwood Canyon. If you go "fast" on washboards the ride will smooth out, kinda a trade off between fast enough, control and pot holes. But with a trailer you can't tell what's happening in the trailer since its suspension is different than the tow vehicle. SO, our option is to go very slow with the trailer. This worked OK getting to camp without too much bouncing around. We think the Bigfoot is better on bad roads than the Escape, but all are problematic.

We did a hike up Lower Hackberry Canyon off Cottonwood. The guides say this is a great hike with ankle deep water over hardpacked sand. Be sure to take sandals or just go barefoot. Well, may be true in general but Utah missed the monsoon this year, and we were there in the fall. Thus, the canyon was dry and the canyon floor was very loose, hard to walk in, sand. The canyon is nice though, not really a slot but nice.

For more excitement we decided to drive up Cottonwood Canyon and back Johnson Canyon. We tried this before and made it up Cottonwood. But it started to rain and snow so we abandoned our drive down Johnson. These roads are impassible after rain. This time we made it up Cottonwood and started down Johnson. Needed to be to the Post Office in Kanab before 4:00 and were running a little late, but all was fine. Until we ran into the sign that said "Road Closed for Maintainance". Again we had to back track to Cannonville and go by Bryce NP and down Hwy 89 to Kanab. Still have time, no problem. But at Bryce they closed Hwy 12 due to a tour bus accident. That lead to a 50 mile detour north on roads Google Maps doesn't even show then 50 miles south on Hwy 89. So much for the Post Office that day. When we passed Hwy 12 into Bryce there were a lot of vehicle waiting for the road to open. We understand it didn't open till the next day so the detour was the right choice. Lots of nice scenery. Stopped at Grosvenor Arch for pictures.

To round out the Cottonwood Canyon adventure we took a short hike into the Nautilus. A very short, maybe 50' swirly canyon. Nice.

Then off to New Mexico again. Two nights in Farmington to again stock up and wash. We stayed at Homestead RV which was a gravel parking lot with hookups. OK for a short stay but not a resort.

Then off to Chaco Canyon. About a week before we checked camping availability at Chaco. There were a few first come sites but very few. We lucked out being able to reserve a site for three nights. These are similar to reservations in Yosimite Valley, reserved months ahead. The gods smile on us again. The road into Chaco is terrible. It's some 16 miles of washboard. We drove in after a rain and it was even worse. They'd graded much of the route before we left so the drive out was better, but still terrible.

Chaco Canyon is impressive. The ruins are BIG. We've seen others but the ruins a Chaco are larger and with several "Great Houses". Dogs are allowed few places so we split the tour, first day Hugh went and second day Denise. Here are some sample pictures, but only a sample. You have to see it.

Hugh climbed up the trail towards Pueblo Alto. The trail goes right up the cliff of the canyon, hard to believe its a NP trail. Goes behind a block of sandstone and out on top. Here's a pic of the trail from the top. Also caught a couple of Anasazi repairing one of the Great Kivas.

There are a large number of petroglyphs in the canyon. We like petroglyphs so here are a few pictures. We know nothing but to us these look different than the indian pertoglyphs we've seen.

Chaco Canyon is great for a tour. We also like Hovenweep and Mesa Verde which we find just as amazing, but this could be due to the build up of Chaco. You need to visit all three, at least.

After Chaco we moved to Navajo Lake State Park in northwest New Mexico. Mostly a fishing lake above and below the dam. Dam indicates a reservoir which it is. The canyon filled by the reservoir had sandstone cliffs and they are still here, thus few sloping shoreline or beaches. Cooper and Ruby go swimming but it's not ideal. We're here just being at home, recharging, resting, and deciding where the next adventure will take us.