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Grand Canyon – North Rim

October 13, 2011

Who loves the North Rim of the Grand Canyon???  I do!  I do!

It is just lovely especially because other than what nature provides, there is really nothing but the stone and timber Grand Canyon Lodge (circa 1928), a National Park Service campground with a General Store, showers, laundry facility and gas station, and one provider of mule rides.  That’s it.  I love it!  The South Rim by comparison is only about 10 miles away as the Raven flies (215 miles by car) and could not be more different what with all its many hotels, motels, tour buses, campgrounds, wide variety of tour operators, shops, more shops,  restaurants, etc, and PEOPLE.

My brother, Hill, and I arranged to meet up there (the North Rim) on Sunday for the first of our reserved three night stay.  We were lucky to get a spot since most sites are reserved up to a year in advance and the campground remains full from May thru October.  A cold front was just finishing up blowing through when we arrived as evidenced by the patchy snow on the ground and the 21 degree temperatures the first night.  He stayed in his Hoopty with a broken furnace and I stayed in my airy tent.  Fortunately we both came prepared, so passed the night in complete comfort.  It was really interesting driving across the flat desert area along the Vermilion Cliffs (Navajo Country) for miles and miles before beginning the ascent through Ponderosa Pine Forests to the North Rim which sits at over 8,000 ft.  To see pictures of the Vermilion Cliffs and learn more about them being the 2nd step in The Grand Staircase etc, click here.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermilion_Cliffs

The next several days had us hiking, sightseeing, geocaching, attending the wonderful Ranger Programs etc.  My camera battery died literally as I was entering the Park, so I’m including Hill’s pictures below.  They are on the large side, so may take a while to load.

Here I am upon arrival taking a look at the view from the Campground, which overlooks a side canyon off the Bright Angel Canyon.  That pale band of rock you see across from where I’m standing completely circles the entire canyon and is fondly referred to as “the bathtub ring” of the Canyon.  This layer is made of Coconino Sandstone and was deposited approximately 275 million years ago, which makes it a Spring Chicken compared to the basement layer of rock found at the bottom of the canyon.  This basement layer made of Vishnu Rock clocks in at a whopping 1,870-1,680 million years ago.  Try to wrap your mind around that one!  I don’t know about you, but I can’t count that high.

Next, we took a little walk along the rim where we caught more spectacular views in addition to wildlife sightings.

Here we have a Mule deer, which are quite prevalent in these parts.

We also saw a few of these interesting looking, tufted ear Kaibab Squirrel, which are only found in this particular area of the North Rim and nowhere else in the World.

Ranger Programs were offered each afternoon and evening at the Lodge.  Here we are in front of the outdoor fireplace at one about Condors led by our new friend, Gaelyn.  Everybody say hey to Ranger Gaelyn!  Here she is showing us the coloration and actual wingspan of an adult Condor.

And one last shot of the Canyon before I move on to Canyon River Running.

Since Hill’s been out this way, he has been lucky enough to stumble upon a 23 day Colorado River raft trip through the Grand Canyon.  I am SO envious and happy for him.  His trip will begin as they all do at Lee’s Ferry, River Mile Zero, and will end 277 miles downstream, running through the entire length of the Grand Canyon.  What an amazing experience he’s going to have come November.  One of the evening Ranger Programs we attended happened to be about running the river, so that was great for him.  He also got to chat with the gal who gave the talk before and after and was able to get lots of good tips from her deep well of experience.

On my way home, I drove over to Lee’s Ferry to have a look-see and happened to catch a couple of guys putting in.  I took this shot with my iPhone, since my camera was still out of commission.  I don’t know about you, but does that raft look loaded down or what?  And with the videos I’ve seen of some of the rapids along the way…….  I hope to hook up with Hill at the end of November or early December to hear all about his trip and see his pictures.  What a fabulous opportunity.

And here is a final shot of the river just downstream from the put in.

That’s it for now.  Not much else going on besides studying for the near future, Oh, except for the fact that I’m going to LA in a week or so to take a class.  Should be interesting, so stay tuned for tales from LA.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2011 3:43 pm

    So glad you enjoyed your visit to the NR. Seems like you learned a lot while here. I’m envious of Hill’s opportunity to float the river for 23 days. My awesome August trip, which I’m still posting about, was only four days on the lower river.

    Enjoy your class in LA (can’t imagine going there myself). Hope we can meet up this winter some time in central AZ.

  2. October 13, 2011 8:22 pm

    Hi Gaelyn,
    Thanks for the comments! I visited your blog and love what I’ve seen of it. Tried to leave a comment, but don’t think it worked. Will try again. Safe travels until we meet again…which I know we will!

  3. Suzy permalink
    October 13, 2011 10:36 pm

    Husband & a dozen or so friends do the rim-to-rim every year (last 7 years) & starting out on the North Rim is a wonderful experience–usually the last weekend it is open so no crowds, just fellow hikers w/their “miner’s lights” on as they leave about 3:00 a.m. I get to be the driver so I can meet them at El Tovar.

    I’ve done the hike down to Phantom Ranch & stayed in the bunks there about 3 times w/friends–great to hike around there, such as Rainbow Falls & our own aptly named “Boot Creek” when we were trying to take a shortcut on the way back from a long hike that involved crossing a creek that required throwing our boots across the creek. Needless to say, I’m not a good tosser & the 2nd boot I threw went down the fast-moving creek.

    All a great experience full of wonderful memories despite the inevitable aches & pains!

    Enjoy the G.C.!

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