We woke in our little pine nook and had breakfast again cooked by Mandy. (She's amazing, have I mentioned that yet?) Aside from chairs, we had little cleanup.
The road towards Tusayan wasn't nearly as atrocious as the way in and we made good time. In Tusayan we noticed the NFS doing controlled burns in the town limits. I'm glad we didn't camp further west.
The drive to Flagstaff was fairly uneventful. We stopped at Five Guys for a burger before saying farewell to our camp mates. Mike and I weren't too keen to head back home yet. But first we needed to find a new water pump. I wasn't expecting the endeavor to take 4 hours but it did.
Glutton for punishment, we headed out towards more AZBDR tracks. We obviously didn't learn our lesson the first two times, having thoroughly NOT enjoyed the two prior tracks we followed. We went south down Winona Ranch Road hoping to end up in the pines near Mormon Lake.
It. Was. Terrible. Hey BDR folks, Arizona actually has TREES. I promise, I've camped there. Try routing people through them. Not down rocky, 4 low, slow, scrub brush landscaped roads. BORING. Frustrating. The dogs and I were tired of being tossed around the Jeep. Mike was frustrated with being in 4 low for so long.
The only bonus was another enormous herd of elk. I think this one was larger than the one we saw on Day 1.
We also saw a small herd of pronghorn antelope. They were a distance out, you may or may not see them.
Miles later, we finally hit a serviced forest road where we could pick up speed and beeline for the pines. Unfortunately, it was a weekend. In Flagstaff. During summer. When every Arizonan wants to escape the oppressive heat and head for the hills. Every campsite was within eyeshot of a fifth wheel or occupied by one. Thankfully I noticed a sign for two track heading towards Anderson's something or other. It was rocky and unused. This was the only time we were happy to find a rocky road.
Secluded, Mike went about replacing the water pump in the fading sunlight. I cooked dinner and Elly kept guard while Rommel napped.
It wasn't the best day, but it wasn't the worst day either. No matter, we were still on vacation, still with each other and still in the wild.