Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The North Rim

We'd arrived!  We'd finally arrived!  After dreaming about it for years, I was finally going to see the Grand Canyon - live and in person.

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?

Amazing viewpoint

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.

Clearer view

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.

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!


  1. It is incredible but so difficult to get a sense of scale.

  2. OK first of all I am really jealous, I'd love to visit the Grand Canyon and from the look of things the last one at Zion as well. The views are awesome but where was the icky little spider, I love them and my wife thinks their baby brothers live in our house because the way she describes them you would think they were huge and I'm always throwing them out. Superb photos of your explorations.

  3. These are really stunning views. It's interesting to observe the Grand Canyon on a foggy day. When we visited recently (the South Rim) it was crowded and we immediately went searching for quiet spots, which of course can be found there as well. I love your camping site as well as the yellow colors of the leaves on the (sycamore?) trees. I am really glad you enjoyed the sights from the Grand Canyon. It's really a magnificent trip!

    Mersad Donko Photography

  4. WOW! it looks like you re top of theworld. The views are magnificent adn I love tht squuirel

  5. If anything the clouds add a sense of scale to the scene. I don't think I've ever seen photos of the canyon in anything but bright sunshine before.

  6. Love the low clouds lingering in the canyon. And your last image is beyond beautiful, absolutely breathtaking.
    Living in Arizona for many years I visited the canyon often. It's truly wondrous.
    So glad you got to experience it all.. your captures are dynamite!

  7. The Grand Canyon leaves me breathless and speechless! WOW!

  8. I'd love to see this, but I'm so afraid of heights

  9. Good morning, gorgeous views of the Grand Canyon. Yes, I would say it was aptly named. It is Grand! I do hope the cloudy skies cleared up for your sunset viewing. Lovely post and images. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  10. I have a picture somewhere of me standing in the exact same spot as in the first shot. It's so beautiful there and you have captured it. I look forward to more. :-)

  11. Absolutely breathtaking! I can only image what it's like to see this in person. I hope to some day!

  12. Gorgeous! And I bet the crowds were minimal at the North Rim at that time of year. The South Rim is crazy, frustratingly busy.

  13. Linda, I am thoroughly captivated with this place, and that squirrel is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing, I never tire of your gorgeous photography. :)

  14. OMG how beautiful! If these are your shots in poor lighting how spectacular when the lighting is good. I actually like the misty feel. The first shot with Roger is stunning.

  15. Stunning as always. You are certainly having some trip and nice to get scenery on that scale without the crowds to really feel the landscape in wonderful isolation.

  16. I used to run Transept all the time when I lived there.

  17. Belas fotografias.
    Um abraço e bom fim de semana.

  18. Amazing place - I've not been to the north rim - thanks for the views

  19. Totally amazing and stunning. I hope someday to visit. I'm happy to see trails with handrails. I'd be holding on for dear life. - Loved that unusual squirrel too.

  20. Hi! Nice collection of beautiful Grand Canyon photos. I enjoyed your this post very much. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I've been to both side of the Grand Canyon and I definitely prefer the north side because it's not as crowded. It's such an amazing place and to me doesn't seem real...even when I'm there.

  22. Grand and Amazing!
    I've loved hitching along on this journey recap with you, Linda! Your timing looks like perfection to me. We are still bummed about the 9 ft of snow on the North Rim that March when we'd hoped to head there from Zion & Bryce. We didn't have time to travel (some 280-ish miles, if I recall?) all the way around to the South Rim (nor the desire to join the people on that side.) The good news, though, is that when we ever do get to the Grand Canyon someday, now I have your experience and pointers to guide us! :)
    We did explore some Kaibab/Paiute country, but never saw one of these funky squirrels!

  23. We had arrived at the North Rim a few years ago two days after it opened. There were some patches of snow in the meadows driving in, and it was already 105 in the heart of the canyon below. So strange.

  24. Absolutely amazing pictures.

    I could never grow tired of the Grand Canyon.

  25. You go to all the best places! This is another spot on my bucket list. looking forward to your next post.

  26. Wow you make me want to go! I am so afraid of heights I am certain I would be all weak kneed! Your photos are wonderful even in poor light:)

  27. It's been 40 years since our family last visited the breath taking Grandest of all Canyons. I do remember my first view and how I could not comprehend the size or depth of it. I must admit, that first look over the railing caused me to get a mild case of altitude sickness. I also found that trying to describe what I had experienced to my friends, was very difficult. I just plain ran out of superlatives.
    Thank you Linda, for inspiring me to return for another visit and this time to the North rim which we missed 40 years ago. Awesome!!

  28. I've always heard that the north rim was the place to go for gorgeous views and a more enjoyable Grand Canyon experience. We tried once; on our way to Moab in May a few years ago (for a big Miata event), we were just 5 days too early. One of these days, we'll go back. Thanks for the gorgeous photos; looking forward to the next installment!

  29. We visited the north rim, its an amazing place.

  30. Beautiful pictures. Now I want to go there when we are not slogging through snow.

  31. Beautiful shots in spite of the weather. That squirrel is quite amazing looking and never remember seeing one of these when we were there. Almost makes you think some sort of anomalous skunk at first. Although it can be pretty chilly in the winter, definitely the hiking is much easier with the cold weather. Our first hike down to the bottom of the canyon was in june and the temp was 120 degrees down at the bottom. Killer temperatures!

  32. Fantastic photos! The rock formations and the colours are amazing.


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