The next destination is Toroweep or sometimes Tuweep, which lies on the North Ridge of the Grand Canyon. I flee all the people at Bryce and pass through Kanab and Sedonia to end up at Pipe Springs. I have been through a lot of correspondence to get a backcountry permit to allow me to camp at Toroweep. The solution is that I pick one up at Pipe Springs National Monument. When I get there Pipe Springs National Monument is closed because of the Government shutdown. The fragility of planning.
I take the road to Toroweep. This is a 61 mile dirt road over a blasted heath. It is not bad but at times washboardish, inducing shuddering that makes me shudder for my airbags.
Notwithstanding, it is a great drive as the sun goes down to my right and I know I have left madding crowd far behind.
Just before I get to Toroweep I am met by a Ranger. It is way past sunset and very cold. He explains that he saw my lights 20 miles away.
“ Can’t stay here, sir. Toroweep is a dawn to sunset camp. Best I can offer are forest campsites 7 miles back, turn left on the Mt Trumbull road.”
7 miles is nothing on the scale of my current travels and I find an ideal site that I would love to come back to, er, when it is warmer.
I am back at the Toroweep Ranger station early. They give me a backcountry permit with no more difficulty than er a hot knife through butter, falling off a log. Do not get caught up in planning anxiety.
The Toroweep campsite is the best place in the world. It is 500 meters from the North Ridge of the Grand Canyon. There is nobody here. The weather is perfect with sunshine and blue, blue skies. I could no more go to the established viewpoints of the Canyon than er, um, fill in stuff you do not like here.
I walk to the Canyon rim in the late afternoon to take photos. The Canyon is not easy to photograph. During most of the day, light covers one wall of the Canyon whilst the other wall is in shade. You have to be there very early in the morning or at sunset to get a light-uniform view.
I spend a very cosy night in the camper and after an early photography session at the rim, I take a long hike that ends up back at the camp.
The sky is black. By the time I reach base it is snowing. No point sitting in the camper all day so I hightail it er slowly, back to Kanab.
There are few places as amazing as Toroweep.