North Rim Grand Canyon

I can hardly believe I did this, but I didn’t go on the Durango-Silverton train trip!! Yep, I totally blew it off. I couldn’t find any free campsites anywhere near Durango so I was aiming to stay at Lower Hermosa CG about 12 miles outside of town. I went to the campground but it took a full 30 minutes to go the last 4 miles….horribly washboarded road! Since I had to be at the train station at 7:15 in the morning, I decided it would be better to stay at Haviland Lake CG which is a little farther from Durango, but it’s only one mile from the main road to town. Well when I got there, they didn’t have any non-electric sites left, so it would have cost $17 a night!! WHAAAT? I can’t pay that for a campsite!! I’d need it for two nights, plus it was going to cost $6 for parking at the train station….$40. I decided it was just too much money. So I wasted $116 on the train ticket but look, I saved $40!! Hmmm.

I headed out of town and went to Navajo National Monument. They have a free campground there that’s quite nice. It’s 10 miles from the main road and I passed a van with a big sign “BUYING PINON” parked at the side of the road. There were cars and trucks parked all over the place the whole way to the park. I guess harvesting pinon nuts is Big Business there!! I wonder how much they get for them? (I was going to stop and talk to the guy on my way out but he wasn’t there) I know pine nuts are really expensive. I was going to stay a couple days until I found out that you can’t really see any of the ruins without being able to hike a bit.  So I stayed one night and kept heading towards the North Rim Grand Canyon the next day.

There sure is a lot of boring, desolate country out there, but along the way I passed the Vermilion Cliffs….beautiful!


Between Jacob Lake and the Grand Canyon were about 7 miles of burned woodlands, I think from the Outlet Fire of 2000. A lot of small aspens are growing up so it was kind of pretty, but so sad to see so many pines burned.


I found a great free campsite just 10′ from the North Rim!! The scenery sure was beautiful, but it was a windy day and the gusts coming up off that rim were really powerful.  (Just past DeMotte CG, turn left onto FS611 & go 5-6 miles. Several campsites on the right. The farther you go, the closer to the rim) My view from camp:



I was shocked to find that there were not very many places to view the canyon…not anythying like the South Rim that has lots of pulloffs for different views. At the North Rim, if you can’t hike, you don’t get to see very much. Here are a few views:



Colorado Uncategorized

Oh Be Joyful!


Well this is a first for me……first time I’ve ever gone to a campground just because of it’s name.  And I actually PAID to stay there, too! But who could possibly resist Oh Be Joyful Campground?!!  It’s about 5 miles from Crested Butte, CO which is an incredibly beautiful Victorian town. There are about 5 blocks of really cute shops in the historical district; lots of nice art shops, restaurants & bars. It’s very upscale though and way too expensive for me!



The campground is up in the mountains at about 9500’  and the aspens are starting to turn color up here already!


And every morning I awaken to the sound of elk bugling up in the hills somewhere. A lot of the sites here are for tenters but there are also some sites for campers, and you must drive through the river to get to some of the sites!  It costs $10 if you have a site with a picnic table; $5 if not. Strange rules! And then ½ price if you have the Senior Pass. I tried to find a site without a table but they were all taken (and many of them are walk-in sites). It’s a nice little campground with big pine trees. My site is right on a little stream but it’s not nice and noisy like the last place.  It is absolutely gorgeous around here! At this elevation, it’s a bit chilly at night and we even had a frost yesterday morning! I feel sorry for those people in tents.

I went exploring a little bit and could have kicked myself; only about a mile farther up the road are some nice dispersed FREE campsites! This is Open Range though and it looked like the cows had already claimed the best sites.


I had a strange happening the first morning I was here. I was out walking Roxie at 6:45 a.m. and noticed that one of the headlights on the neighbor’s truck was on. Uh oh! I decided not to knock on their door that early, but as soon as I saw them outside I went over and told him about it. He had turned the lights off but for some strange reason, that one side stayed on! When he turned them on and back off again, it went off. But the truck wouldn’t start so I brought my car over and gave him a jump-start. We started chatting and I told them my “story” but not in a pitiful way, honest! He offered me money for my help and I refused it. Then later right before they were leaving, he came over and handed me a rolled-up bill and said “We really want you to take this…don’t worry, I can very well afford it”. So I took it and thanked him, and after he left I looked….it was a $50 bill!  Oh be joyful!!!  

Well I instantly started thinking of how to spend my windfall, and decided I really could use a long sleeve tee shirt or a sweatshirt. I went to town ready to spend but was shocked when the cheapest short-sleeve tee was $25, and the long sleeve tees and sweatshirts were from $35-70!! No way! Is this the new norm???  No wonder my clothes all come from thrift shops or Walmart. Sigh. Then I thought maybe I’d come back later and get a pizza for dinner but when I looked at the menus posted, pizza was around $20 for a small one. The standard 2 egg breakfast with bacon  was $13!!  Nope, I just cannot bring myself to spend that kind of money; even if it WAS a windfall!


On Friday I left and planned to swing by the Gunnison post office and pick up a package that a friend sent, then go on to Telluride. But the package wasn’t there yet, so I had to find a place to stay one night near Gunnison. As beautiful as it was, I did not want to backtrack to my site that was 23 miles from town, only to come back tomorrow morning to pick up the package. I found a free place called Hartman Rocks that was only a few miles from town & had a vault toilet, water and trash receptacles! Sounds great. But I should have kept reading….the reviews talked about a really steep hill. Yup. REALLY steep hill. I got halfway up that long steep graveled hill and couldn’t go any farther! So I had to back down. How steep was it? It was so steep, even just creeping backward at a slow crawl, when I put on the brakes the car & camper would slide a ways. I managed to back it up about 150’ and around a curve, then there was a little place I could back the camper into and turn around. Phew! I found another free place near town, a bit of BLM land that has some pullouts. It’s a crappy campsite, right next to a very dusty road and with no shade at all, but it’ll be fine for just one overnight. I didn’t even unhook the car.

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