The Great Southwest Trip 2017


Click on any picture to see it full-size.

I have always wanted to ride the mules to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. And now that I'm retired, it became a possibility. I knew that reservations for this trip had to be made a year in advance, so in the summer of 2016, I emailed a bunch of people and said, want to do this a year from now? and our friend Candy said, YES!! I had also gone camping in Yosemite at the very end of summer in 2016, and it was the perfect weekend, and I wanted to do it again; I realized that if I made the mule reservations in the middle of September and the Yosemite reservations at the end of September, I could drive and camp through the Southwest between the two. And so (after much discussion among the Hiking and Camping Contingent) this plan was made:

  • Sunday, September 10: Doug, Candy and I would leave for the Grand Canyon and the mule ride
  • Saturday, September 16: Doug and Candy would fly home from Phoenix and Kelly would fly in, and travel through the Southwest with me for 11 days.
  • Wednesday, September 27: Kelly would fly home from Salt Lake City
  • Friday, September 29: I would arrive in Yosemite Valley for a weekend of camping with Diana, Todd and Sherry, Erica and Rey (with a special one-day appearance by Eric and Carol)
  • Monday, October 2: I would drive home, after 23 days on the road.

Eventually this page will expand to be the whole trip; I'm putting it up a piece at a time as I finish it, so please check back. And here's a note about the pictures.


Sunday, September 10
Monday, September 11

San Jose CA to Williams, AZ

Driving across the desert to the Railroad Hotel in Williams. Route 66. Neon, brewpubs and shooting zombies.


Tuesday, September 12

Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon

Riding the train. It's BIG! Animals and margaritas.


Wednesday, September 13

The Village to Phantom Ranch

The awesomeness of Doug. Riding the mules down the Bright Angel Trail and staying in a cabin at Phantom Ranch.


Thursday, September 14

Phantom Ranch to the Village

Riding the mules back up the Bright Angel Trail. A well-earned margarita and a beautiful hike.


Friday, September 15

The Grand Canyon to Williams, AZ

A wonderful day at the Canyon and the delights of Williams in the evening.


Saturday, September 16

Williams, AZ to Tucson, AZ

Sedona, shopping and snakes. A great bookstore in Phoenix and a surprise in Picacho Peak.


Sunday, September 17

Tucson, AZ to Chiricahua National Monument, AZ

Best campground EVER. Hoodoos and hiking.


Monday, September 18

Chiricahua National Monument, AZ to Las Cruces, NM

Fort Bowie, Shakespeare Ghost Town and the New Mexico desert.


Tuesday, September 19

Las Cruces, NM to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX

El Paso, butterflies and time zone hell.


Wednesday, September 20

Guadalupe Mountains NP, TX to Alamogordo, NM

The Devil's Hall and wild animals.


Thursday, 21
Friday, September 22

Alamogordo, NM to Cortez, CO

White Sands NM, dinner in Santa Fe and gorgeous scenery driving into Colorado.


Saturday, September 23

Cortez, CO to Green River, UT

Fleeing the rain, loving The Needles, welcome to Utah!


Sunday, September 24

Green River, UT to Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Weather, beautiful scenery and wind.


Monday, September 25

Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Hiking, sun, and a quiet day.


Tuesday, September 26

Capitol Reef National Park, UT to Salt Lake City, UT

COLD. Beautiful driving and fun in Salt Lake City.


Wednesday, September 27

Salt Lake City, UT to Austin, NV

Shopping, bookstores and lots of driving.


Thursday, September 28

Austin, NV to Mammoth Lakes, CA

Back in California! Tufa and packing for Yosemite.


Friday, September 29

Mammoth Lakes, CA to Yosemite Valley, CA

A lovely day of driving and camping.


Saturday, September 30

Yosemite Valley, CA

Hiking down from Glacier Point and being misled by the Rangers.


Sunday, October 1

Yosemite Valley, CA

Hiking with friends, hanging out, a night hike.


Monday, October 2

Yosemite Valley, CA to San Jose, CA

A lovely drive...and home.


I took 2800 pictures on this three week trip, and I got pictures from everyone I traveled with. My camera is a Panasonic Lumix ZS-50, and I love love love it. There are also a very few pictures I took with my ipad when that was all I had handy. The rest of the pictures are: