We returned to the Grand Canyon to visit the North Rim for one night in the cabins at Grand Canyon Lodge. This gorgeous mountain lodge sits right on the rim of the canyon with a fine dining room and outstanding views from the nearby Bright Angel Point. This visit gave us a totally different perspective on the Grand Canyon, as we stopped by each of the roadside viewpoints. Just three days earlier we bobbed down the Colorado River at the canyon bottom, rarely able to see farther than the adjacent canyon walls or the next bend in the meandering river. Now we had sweeping views across the canyon, and could only catch glimpses of the river far below. Read on for more about our visit, and check the photo album.
There is only one road into the North Rim, and most of it passes through protected forest and then the national park. At one point the road passes through a broad meadow, which that day was filled with a large herd of grazing bison. We were not the only car to stop and watch and photograph these beautiful animals, enjoying in particular the many young calves.
We spent the late afternoon visiting the various overlooks – Cape Royal, Point Imperial, and Vista Encantada, before settling in to our cabins and heading for a fine dinner at the Grand Canyon Lodge (hmm, bison steaks).
The next morning I rose early and strolled past the Lodge to Bright Angel Point, perhaps a few hundred meters. At this point the clifftop juts out into the canyon, affording panoramic views of the region. Several dozen people were already there, and the sun was just peeking up above the eastern horizon. I staked out a spot on the tip-top rock of the point, and pointed my camera west. Most other people snapped their photos and left, but I spent about an hour there, watching as the light changed. It was a bit cloudy so the sun dappled the canyon walls in an ever-changing pattern. My best shot is in the album.
After breakfast, while the others slept late, I headed out to hike the Uncle Jim Trail – how could I resist? as it was my Uncle Jim who first introduced me to the Grand Canyon. This loop was a pleasant hike through a Ponderosa Pine forest that had survived a wildfire within the past few years. The trail, though well-traveled by mules carrying tourists, led me to some nice views and to some even nicer opportunities to photograph wildflowers and wildlife – including a surprising encounter with coyotes. More on that in the next posting!