A day on the road

Today we head north to Bryce Canyon, 111 miles as the crow flies, 283 by road! The satnav reckons it’s nearly 7 hours! So, up early and on the road by 7.15 – yes, 7.15, if you’re reading this Andy and Sue! 

First stop was Desert View, and last glimpse of the Canyon. It was lovely, really peaceful and quiet – too early for other tourists!   
    Next stop was Horseshoe Point – a spectacular curve in the Colorado river. It was a mile’s hike across the desert to get there, but well worth it.
   
 Back into the RV for a short drive into Page, restocked with food and fuel, then back on the road. Oh, and cold remedies because someone has man flu. Although he’s just suggested it’s altitude sickness…

The scenery today has been varied – wide open plains, rocky mountains, Native American settlements and the beauty of Lake Powell. 

Time to get back on the road, still got a few hours to go! 

Grand Canyon 

Arrived late at night to the RV park, temperature dropped to freezing overnight. Looked out of the window at 6am to see this:

 Ok, so the photo won’t load, it was an Elk!  
 
They would be regular visitors over the next few days. 

We were at the local airstrip nice and early ready for our first sight of the canyon. As we flew over the rim and got our first view there were gasps from everyone! We had 30 minutes flying over the canyon – it was just fantastic! Even better, we had seats in the front!

Photos to follow when we get better wifi!

Tuesday morning found us up and out before 8am, as we headed off to trek down the Kaibab Trail into the depths of the canyon. The early morning light was perfect and the views were spectacular. The warning signs of heat exhaustion and the return ascent had put off all but the hardiest souls and we had lunch 3 miles down at Skeleton Point, probably the best lunch stop in the world. We could see the rafts on the canyon far below. Tens of thousands of people at the top, just half a dozen where we were. It was just fantastic, awesome, amazing. The return hike was steep but manageable, and we were rewarded by a flying display by the Californian Condor. He was huge and came so close we could see his wing tag! Number 23! Yes, I got a photo but can’t upload it until we get home!

There’s very poor wifi here, will post more photos when we get a better signal. 

RV day

We couldn’t collect our RV until after lunch, so spent the morning mooching around Vegas. Glad we’ve seen it, but it just seems like lots of shops and casinos to us. We were amazed at how many people were on the slot machines at 9am! 

By the time we’d been shown round our little RV, and stocked up with provisions at Walmart, it was 3pm before we hit the road. 250 miles to the Grand Canyon, ETA 8pm! Think we mis-judged that a bit, and should have stopped overnight halfway. 

Meet our little RV – home for the next week. Nicknamed FB Beast! I’m sure we booked a smaller one! 

  
The scenery is amazing – wide open plains, mountains and tumbleweed! 

  

Las Vegas

Loud, busy and brash. Not to mention sunny and hot. Dropped the bags off at the hotel and headed out to explore. We’ve lost count of how many hours we’ve been up, but we’re only here for one night and need to see as much as possible. First stop was the dancing fountain, hilarious to watch a mother duck and her ducklings negotiate the jets of water. Sat in a street cafe just soaking up the atmosphere. 

   
 

   
   

USA Trip

An early start for the drive to Manchester Airport. No queues at bag drop, no queues at security – made a bee line for the coffee shop. Sat watching the planes and grey skies, bring on the sun in Las Vegas! Oh, forecast is rain tomorrow, and 0 degrees overnight at the Grand Canyon! I hope the RV has heating!  

  
 

Final Day

Stayed at the most fantastic B&B in Kinlochleven last night, the best one on the entire route. After a magnificent breakfast we set off in drizzle, but with the promise of better weather later. We were at sea level and were soon climbing, a steady slog up to 300m.

The views got better and better, the terrain wilder, and the clouds lighter. Blue sky was peeping through. 

We met up with other walkers who we had seen nearly every day. We all exchanged stories about the walk, accommodation and ailments! 

After a short lunch stop we came across all our new found friends and had a group photo! Hopefully they are now reading this! “Hi everyone! It was great to meet you all!”

It was a long slog down into Fort William, not helped by them moving the finish line by over a km further! 

We met our German friends at the finish line – he’s a photographer so took lots of photos of us. Sat in the cafe next to the finish writing this and our USA friends arrived.

It’s been a fantastic adventure, we loved every minute. Here’s to the next one!

   
    

   
  

    

Day 6 – Devils Staircase

Set off in drizzle, which wasn’t going to stop all day. A zig zag path took us to the top of Devils Staircase – the highest point of the Way at 550m. The wind was gale force and the drizzle had turned to sleet. By now we were at the snow line so we stopped at the top to make a snowman. 

From there it was a steady 5 miles down to our B&B at Kinlochleven, sea level. We were fortunate that the cloud base was high enough not to obscure the views, which would have been fantastic on a better day. 

It was a short day today, a welcome relief after yesterday’s long slog. We arrived in Kinlochleven before 1pm, so dried out in the local hostelry until our B&B opened. We even saw our luggage transfer company – AMS, who have done a great job lugging our bags from place to place. 

It was hard to leave this cosy place this morning:

 
   

  

  

  

  

Evening meal at Alt na Leven B&B! 

 

Day 5 – 19.5 miles to Kingshouse.

Wow! What a day! Set off at 8.30 after a fantastic breakfast. Pretty easy walking along good tracks. We thought the scenery was great, until we reached Bridge of Orchy, then it just got better and better. There was a convenient hotel at the half way point, which we put to good use. After a much needed sandwich and cuppa we set off on the next leg – 9 miles across the open and exposed Rannoch Moor. Stunning in good weather but hostile and bleak in the rain. The rain started! Fortunately it stopped very quickly and the whole walk was a mixture of gasps and wows as we progressed. It was truly bleak, but what views. A fantastic place and we are so grateful that the weather behaved so we could enjoy it. 

Kingshouse Hotel was a welcome sight  after 8 hours on our feet, and guess what? Our room has a bath! Bliss! 

Sorry, no piccies – wifi is naff! Check back tomorrow!

   
      

Day 4 – to Tyndrum

After a very comfortable night at Beinglas campsite, we woke to a heavy frost. After yesterday’s tough walk we were looking forward to an easier route along forest tracks. The terrain was much easier going today, and the views were just as good. We crossed the busy A82 several times, before heading through quiet forests with pine needles underfoot. The views just got better and we had numerous photo stops. No hotels for coffee stops today, just a pretty little stream for a lunch stop.

We’re at Glengarry B&B tonight – sitting in the conservatory eating flapjack and having a much needed cuppa. Tomorrow is the long hard slog across Rannoch Moor… 

   
         

Day 3 – To Beinglass

Beautiful sunny morning, clear blue skies, sun glinting on the snow covered mountains. We’ve seen deer and wild mountain goats. Lunchtime coffee stop at a conveniently placed hotel. The scenery is simply stunning! 

   

  What a long tough day. The track alongside the loch was hard going, clambering over rocks and tree stumps for mile after mile after mile. Certainly took it’s toll on our knees! The rain that was forecast held off, and waterproofs were packed away. The B&B cabins at Beinglas campsite were a welcome sight, and very nice too!
Apparently today was the toughest – we’ll let you know if we agree after a 19 mile trek on Saturday!

Day 2 Drymen to Rowardennan

A drizzly start, after a fantastic breakfast of scrambled egg wrapped in lashings of smoked salmon. Rounded a corner and got our first glimpse of Loch Lomond, that will be our companion for the next two days. Took the hard route up Conic hill to be rewarded by the rain stopping and amazing views of the loch. Coffee stop  at the pub at the bottom.

The remaining 7 miles were along loch side paths, up, down, round, up again. The weather improved and waterproofs came off. Today’s reward is a swish hotel room with views of evening sun on the loch and snowy hills.        

   
      View from our room! Reckon I might stay here for the rest of the week and just lap up that view!

    

On Our Way!

9am, the sun’s coming out, and we’re on our way! 

 

So that’s day one under the belt. A relatively easy day’s walk, arrived really early so killing time in the local pub! A real mish mash of weather, warm sun then a short down pour. Oh, there were a couple of diversions – the second looked very interesting…