Day Five—Thursday, May 24, 2018
We woke up early to drive out to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I thought we were done with the mesas but they followed us West across the desert into Arizona. We stopped at a scenic viewpoint in the San Rafael Reef which was a ridge of uranium rich rock and sand. The crumbly rock was the real desert. It was still dotted with sage brush and fir trees. What never ceases to me surprise is how the canyons and ravines just appear in the surface of the desert and range land. It is so desolate, beautiful, and awful at the same time.
We stopped for lunch in Richfield, Utah. We found a friendly mechanic to take a look at and repair a few cracks in the windshield from the hail we had encountered in Wyoming.
In the afternoon, we drove through Zion National Park where the Virgin River has formed a deep canyon. We went up a steep windy road and drove through an unlit mile long tunnel which was built in the 1920s. We hiked briefly and then got in the car again for the last leg to the Grand Canyon. We grabbed buffalo burgers and corndogs at Al’s Burger Joint in Kanab, Utah and after another windy drive through the wide open range bid farewell to the mesas of Utah and said hello to the tall pines and white birches of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
Even though we were well equipped with good sleeping bags, the professor emphasized to me that warm sleepwear at night was very important. We all brought long sleeve pajamas or t-shirts, pants, and warm socks to wear at night. Many nights I wore a short sleeve shirt underneath—and on warmer nights I took off the long sleeve one if I got warmer. I guess the point is that layers are helpful for camping, especially at night!
A friend suggested to me that we also bring knit winter hats for the cooler nights. These made all the difference for keeping warm at night—thought if you have a mummy bag, no hat needed! For my son we put him in a fleece lined jacket with a hood and/or a fleece sleep sack every night since he often scooted his way out of the bag.
Another interesting thing we figured out about sleep was to pitch the tent and lay out the sleeping bags according to the slant of the ground. If we had to sleep on even a slight incline, we all did much better if our feet were pointed downhill. My son always rolled out of his sleeping bag if he was angled any other way.
Tomorrow I will talk about family sized tents!