July 3, 2011
Started bright and early this morning….nature was calling in more ways than one. Such a beautiful setting waking up to the sun rising across the vast lake before us. I don’t think I have seen a nicer view. We usually stay at lakes. This one is different somehow. Maybe it is because I know in less than an hour the heat is going to begin rising and as the sun makes it final debut the beautiful display of colors across the rock formation will quickly be replaced with hot, harsh light. Andrew has yet to stir without Shyla and her morning rituals and so it is just me and a couple of other early risers enjoying the tranquility of the moment.
I was lucky to capture such a beautiful setting not only with my eyes but with the camera too. Looking back over these pictures, and all the many others I chose not to include, I find myself remembering such much more than just the big events of the day. It is all the little precious ones along the way that make the day worthwhile. Andrew and I discussed this once. When he first came to America just to visit we took a few road trips. It was like a whirlwind……driving hundreds of miles a day and really with no set destination in mind. However we have so many fantastic memories of those days. All the discussions and laughs along the way. All the nerve racking terrain and weather conditions we found ourselves in. We went to a few high tourist spots, Las Vegas and the south end of the Grand Canyon, but in the end it was the miles we put in the car together we remember more distinctly than the actual locations. Standing here with my camera in my hand watching the light crawl it’s way up and over the crest of the mountains and across the lake; it is the emotions that I think I will cherish the most.
Up and about finally we have a relaxing breakfast and then pack up a lunch and head back south. Destination today is to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. A few years back we found ourselves at the south rim but driving to the north rim, which we have been told has spectacular views, would have meant 10 hours drive off our original drive plan. From Page, AZ it will be approximate 1 1/2 – 2 hours drive, depending on the stops along the way.
As we barrel down the Hwy 89 we find ourselves passed by a road train of hot rods. The timelessness of the vehicles was very fitting for this area. Not has much changed really in the past 50 or so years since these vehicles rolled out of the production line. The rocks here now are the same rocks back then.
All along this stretch you will find stands with locals selling their wares. We decided to stop and take a peek but found ourselves disappointed as they were all selling mass produced merchandise. I didn’t see the sticker “Made in China” but I bet if I had picked up the box that were stored in I probably would have.
At Bitter Springs we head north east towards Marble Canyon and Navajo Bridge. Navajo Bridge was built in the mid 20’s and is one of only seven land crossings of the Colorado River. Prior to the bridge a ferry was used to cross at the mouth of the Glen Canyon by the wagon trains. The bridge on the left was the first to be build but was not built for the weight of much later traffic and so was closed after the second one was built. The bridge is visited daily by most en-route to the north rim entrance and has a very interesting replica of a military fort as its interpretive center. Word of caution making a turn either in or out of this on the west side of the canyon is tricky as the road curves around a bend right at the center and view of oncoming traffic is very limited if not non-existent. I was hoping we might head down to the original ferry location but I think we may take a miss today and save for another time. There is an interesting camp area there but does not have any type of electric. The views would be fantastic but without electricity I don’t know if this time of year it would be suitable for us. Maybe later in the year when it is much cooler.
We head back out and westbound again. We are traveling on the north rim along the Vermilion Cliffs. Although I did not shoot any of these majestic cliffs Andrew took a couple of shots later in the day on our way home. At Jacob Lake we head south on Hwy 67 which eventually ends at the North Rim overlook of the Grand Canyon. The drive down Hwy 67 is a beautiful one with mountain grasslands and beautiful aspen and Ponderosa trees in abundance. The drive is approximately 30 miles but takes almost an hour to drive. The cost to enter the park is fairly pricey at $25 but like all national parks last for it is good for 7 days. This pass also entitles entrance to the South Rim too. If we had more time we might have driven there too just so that we could benefit from it.
The park has several off shoot roads that give you different perspectives. We begin our adventure of the region by finding a picturesque view from a picnic table just a few short feet away from the canyon edge. The temperature is pleasantly surprising. We are currently around 8000 ft, which is about 1,000 ft higher than the South Rim, and you can definitely tell the difference. The sun is bright but in the shade as we are now there is a cool breeze and the temperatures are hovering around upper 70’s. Very pleasant indeed!
After lunch Andrew decides to take a few shots of the canyon below. As he inches closer and closer to the edge you see above I begin to get a knot in the stomach and my legs even begin to quiver. Rationally I know he will never recklessly wander off the side of the canyon but still my body reacts. Then when suddenly he disappears I thought I was going to stop breathing. Evidently there is a slight slope over the edge and the cliff drops a few feet before leveling out again. Andrew of course could see this and knew I couldn’t and decided it would be funny to scare me to death. Needless to say I about knocked the……well you know where I going with that one. Breathing once again we head down to the point to get a better look at views of the canyon below.
There are several hiking paths depending on experience in the area and our first trot is down Bright Angel Point Trail that begins at the lodge. Seeing that it is paved and is only 1/2 mile in length I am an eager participant. But what is the saying….what goes down must come back up…..or maybe it is the other way around. We are rewarded at the end with a spectacular view but the hike back up did wind us just a bit. Feeling adventurous Andrew scoots up rocks with me nervously holding the camera to take that shot of him just inches away from the cliff ledge.
We continue hiking the Transept Trail. This trails travels along the rim of the canyon with some fantastic overlooks, then up into the woods and to the camping area. The sites here are very nice indeed and would be great to stay at. I had looked into staying here but the only draw back is that they are completely without electricity. Not that it matters for a/c needs. The air here is definitely cool enough during the day even in the middle of the summer. However we are not equipped to cook without electricity or to keep items cold. I think it would be great though if we ever pick up a newer model camper that we can use the fuel instead with. They had a few that could be reserved and if we ever come back and plan to spend more time specifically in this area only then I know I would definitely book to stay here. Lake Powell this time was more convenient as we have activities planned around using where we are as a central point.
To Be Continued…….