Thursday, October 6, 2016

Kanab Utah to North Rim Grand Canyon AZ

Tuesday October 4, 2016 

Breakfast and packing up for a night a way from the Sprinter in a room at the North Rim. It was down to 36 last night but it was 68 in the Sprinter – well spent $16 for that little heater!  This campground goes in the class of very nice – would be near perfect if it had had cable TV for Ben.  However he has so many TV shows on his hard drive he can pick and choose whatever he likes.  We have been watching some of the “As Time Goes By” series which is always fun. 

We were on our way about 9 AM. The trip was not long.  We drove maybe 10 miles south and were in Arizona.  Then we began the climb up the Kabib Plateau.  Within a few miles we climbed nearly 2,000 feet. The view back down where we had driven yesterday along the vermillion cliffs was amazing – it is very clear and we will have fantastic views at Grand Canyon if this holds.
Vermillion Cliffs where we were yesterday

We continued on east through the ponderosa pine forest until we reached Jacob Lake.  This is the turning point on 89A for heading the 40+miles south to the North Rim.  There is a gas station, cabins, restaurant, RV park, and gift shop.  The bakery here is fantastic and we have stopped in on our other two visits so we could not pass it by – coffee and split a blueberry turnover - we were on our way.
Before long we had gained enough elevation that aspen were shimmering in the sunshine among the dark green of the ponderosa pines and fir trees.  At the lower elevations the leaves on the aspen were gone but at the higher elevations they were in full glory.  A favorite part of coming to the north rim is the approach through wide meadows with the trees further away.  The meadows are brown now and we did not see any of the buffalo that usually graze here.
Meadows on Approach to North Rim

Bare Aspen

Glorious Aspen

We found a place to park, wandered around the Lodge area to discuss dinner plans and our reservations for the night.   Our room was ready – it was we thought 11:30 but we had gained an hour so it was only 10:30.  Anyway we went to the visitor center, checked out the gift shop, had a relaxing 30 minutes on the porch of the Lodge overlooking the canyon, and finally had lunch at what was 1 for us but really 12.  This will be our life for the next week as AZ time, Navajo time, and NM time will fluctuate by an hour back and forth! 
Ben relaxing on porch North Rim

We split a huge ham and cheese sandwich in the Deli and decided to take the drive out to Cape Royal – this would be about 15 miles along the rim with several viewpoints to observe the canyon. We did not even try to take photos on the porch as it was middle of the day and very bright glaring sun. 

The views by mid-afternoon were fantastic and hopefully we got some good photos.  The view at Cape Royal is really something and there is an arch called Angel’s Window giving an unusual view of the Colorado.  There are two stops where the river is easily visible which had not been the case at all viewpoints.  The canyon is so deep you really can’t see the Colorado most places.
Canyon Looking East

Colorado River

There was a large forest fire earlier this season and we drove through some of the burned area. The ponderosa pines often are not killed – some of the branches turn brown but the tree itself is not always destroyed.  There have been many fires here and you can see some areas that are 100% aspen on hillsides where all the other trees are only black stumps.  
Burn area Fuller Fire 

Colorado through Angel's Window

We continued back to the Lodge area, found our room and about 6:00 headed down to the Lodge for dinner and to hopefully see a sunset.  We had the cowboy buffet which was good - brisket, pork, salmon, chicken, salads, veggies, and peach cobbler with ice cream.  No one left hungry.  This is the Lodges method to feed all the people who do not manage a reservation in their dining room. Jane managed to get a sunset photo - not the best but it was nice to see.

Banquet Hall

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