After we filled our belly's at the continental hotel breakfast and had a short drivers meeting, it was time to roll out for 5 days and 4 nights of camping among the stars.
Once we hit gravel, we stopped to air down our tires for a more comfortable drive on those rocky paths up ahead.
Little did I realize, I was traveling with a fellow YouTuber - The Gear Bunker. More with Eric from The Gear Bunker on Day 5.
We left Mesquite, Nevada with full tanks of gas and a trailer of 56 more gallons. Eleven vehicles in all; FJ Cruiser, Jeep LJ, 2-door JL Rubicon, 4-door JKU, 4-door JLU Rubicon, a Ram Powerwagon and 5 Gladiators.
wilderness and no amenities. Just us and the unspoiled nature of the Arizona Strip.
The Arizona Strip is the part of Arizona lying along the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon north of the Colorado River. There are scattered settlements through out the region, the Kaibib Indian reservation & land protected by the National Park Service, BLM & US Forest Service.
The Strip is typical of the West with it's red rock canyons and
dry climate which leads to the vegetation of cacti to grassland and sagebrush, to Junipers and Pinyon forests even a Ponderosa of Pines, Spruce, Fir and Aspen trees on the Plateau.
It contains magnificent cliffs, spectacular canyons and valleys that transform from the vast high desert to pine covered mountains.
We began our trip into the Virgin Mountains with a moderate climb over Lime Kiln Pass to the canyon. This rugged desert path is highlighted by rocky twisting canyons and vast high deserts filled with Joshua trees and red towering sandstone.
We meandered our way back into Nevada through a small
section Gold Butte National Monument to our second mountain climb over Whitney Pass.
Once through Whitney pass you could see for miles on the
high desert plains - the Grand Gulch Canyon. The views were spectacular. One of the most challenging trails on the Arizona Strip.
We were making our way through the Grand Parashant National Monument - the scenery was breathtaking, and the deeper we went, the more spectacular the views. Parashant is remote and vast. No crowds! No lines!
Endless blue skies, isolated cattle corrals, lone cowboys (I
saw one near the end of the trip) and one of the best places in the world to view the dark night skies.
We came upon an old abandon mine and decided to make camp for the night -- up the hill from the mine at an old grassy airstrip over looking the canyon on a solitary vista.
Grand Gulch Mine -- Mining engineers once said the mine
contained some of the richest copper ore ever produced in the Arizona territory. However, the copper ore didn't mean get rich quick. Ore was hauled four hundred miles by horse and wagon to Salt Lake City, Utah for smelting.
A costly endeavor. A slow expensive trip. In 1918 when WW1 ended the copper prices plummeted. The mine shut down for 20 years.
Then during WW2 the demand for copper rose again and
Grand Gulch Mine came back to life. No longer using horse and wagon to haul the copper instead trucks successfully hauled out the ore. Copper mining continued until a fire in 1955 that destroyed the main buildings. Eventually in 1958 the miners abandoned the mine.
Exploring the old mines can be dangerous with rusty metal strewn about and vicious flying insects -- you need to be on your top game. I was not. Some how a bee flew down my shirt and stung me twice on my boob. How that bee got into my shirt I will never know. I thrashed around to get it out of my shirt, it was quite a site. Thankfully, no one saw me but only heard me. One of the adventure ladies was nearby and our first meeting was her pulling the stinger out with her fingernails. Her husband came to the rescue with his first aid kit, excited to finally rip it from the Velcro.
It was an amazing night up on that airstrip. The light pollution from Las Vegas was still visible on the horizon, but the stars were abundant.
Bob, Mary, and the crew were preparing a gourmet meal while the guests got to know each other on the first night of this amazing adventure.
Stay tuned to see what was on Bob's menu for the night!