|Our first glimpse|
After spending a rainy three days in Zion National Park, my hubby and I drove a short distance to the Grand Canyon's North Rim. Higher in elevation and much more isolated than the heavily-visited South Rim, we came prepared for colder weather and smaller crowds.
|Trail to N Rim viewpoint|
First order of business - before we went exploring Roger and I located our campsite. I'd reserved online months before, and chose this particular site for it's partial canyon views. BUT unfortunately we discovered there wasn't a flat spot to be found. Where to pitch the tent? I almost went back and asked if we could switch sites, but my hubby found a spot that worked.
|A few aspens still in color|
After erecting our still-damp tent, we left it to dry and decided to follow the Transept Trail from our campground to the North Rim Lodge. The skies were cloudy and it appeared low fog was hugging the canyon's rim. Would I be cheated out of seeing the views I'd traveled so far for?
Lucky for us, as we approached the first viewpoint, the cloud and fog began to clear. Trees parted and I gasped at the multi-hued canyon wall rising up from the river bottom.
|A few clouds in the canyon|
Oh it was amazing! Deep crinkles in the earth, colorful layers of sediment, amazing rock formations worn down by eons of erosion. The canyon dropped steeply down - and the Colorado River was waaayyy below! I've seen other canyons and rock formations, but nothing on this scale.
Yeah, the Grand Canyon was aptly named! It was grand indeed.
|Bright Angel Point|
After oohing and ahhing (and taking copious photos!) my hubby and I moved on towards the North Rim Lodge. A few improved viewpoints (complete with handrails) jutted out over the canyon, but passing by the lodge, we saw a sign pointing towards Bright Angel Point.
|Roger takes it all in|
Bright Angel Point had the best views of all. A narrow peninsula, it jutted out over the canyon presenting visitors an impressive panorama of spectacular scenery on three sides.
|Red rock and wispy clouds|
Although the gray skies made crummy light for photography, that didn't stop me from loading up another memory card. Even in horrible light, the canyon was stunning.
|N Rim lodging - closed for the season|
After finally getting our fill of canyon views, Roger and I walked through the deserted cabins and shuttered North Lodge. Because of it's high elevation (8255 feet!) winter comes early to the North Rim, and everything shuts down by October 15th. We arrived on October 20th, just 5 days after it had closed for the season.
|Visitor Center wasn't open|
The only thing still open was the gift shop. They even closed their restrooms - which I discovered when I needed to use the facilities. Three extremely stinky port-a-potties sat in the parking lot for anyone who was really desperate (I decided I wasn't).
|Our sloping campsite|
We hiked back to our campsite, had a late lunch, and entertained ourselves by watching a very unusual looking squirrel gathering it's winter food supply. The critter was gray had tall ears, and a bright white tail. We later looked it up, and discovered this was a Kaibab squirrel.
It was now mid-afternoon. Roger and I debated what to see next. After chatting with one of the rangers and getting her recommendations, we decided to drive over to Cape Royal. This viewpoint was only 20 miles away, and was supposedly the place to go if you wanted to catch a sunset.
So off we went to see more sights! But the skies began to cloud up again and I even heard a few thunder rumbles. We passed through an area of dense fog. It wasn't looking good for sunset views...
Would I get skunked on my first sunset at the Grand Canyon? Check back for my next post and find out!