Grand Times at the Grand Canyon!
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|We all enjoyed our visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. As we approached the entrance to the Park, we passed fields and fields of snow, with melting ponds in them. We had no idea that the snow would still be around this time of year but it was beautiful. At the Visitor's Center, we learned that the Park had only opened one week prior to our visit, which explained all the snow. But the day was hot and we strolled along the viewpoint trail by the Lodge.
Mom, Nathan, and I took a short hike along the ridge from the Lodge to a campground and Dad and Al picked us up. Then we drove out to a viewpoint at the the edge of the Park and found that the road to the other point was closed. But we noticed a hiking trail that joined the two viewpoints and which traced the rim of the Canyon. It looked fun and was just two miles long so Mom, Nathan, and I decided to hike it. We would emerge from the trail at the other viewpoint and then walk down the closed pavement to an intersection where Dad and Al could pick us up in the cars. Then we'd all go eat dinner and get back to Jacob Lake Inn. Well, that was the plan, anyway...
The trail turned out to be in rough condition. It was partially blocked by deadfall, thorns, and snowbanks. I don't believe that the Rangers had cleared it for the hiking season yet! We took a lot longer to get to the other side than we thought we would and were running out of water. There was also some question about whether we had lost the trail or passed the road without noticing it. In some places, the trail was very faintly marked and we wished we had our GPS's along with us. The sun began to set and the shadows grew ominously long around us. We tried our cell phones but got no service. We thought about turning back but we felt we were so far along that we might as well keep going forward. We remembered what the rangers always say: "Stay on the trail" and so we did. Just as we were discussing plans to spend the night on the trail curled up together in our summer clothes while the temperature plummeted, we spied a bulldozer - our signal the we had reached the road! Boy, oh boy, were we glad to see that pavement! From there it was a short, half-mile hike to the intersection. What a hike! Our legs were scratched raw and bleeding and I had almost lost my voice from being sick most of the weekend and panting on the hike (there's no AIR up there at almost 9000 feet!).
We didn't have to wait long before Al and Dad arrived. They were understandably worried about us, and maybe just a little bit put out since were almost two hours later than we said we'd be. But they were mostly just happy to see us.
We left the Park just as the sun went down and stopped at the Kanab Lodge for dinner before returning, exhausted, to the cabin at Jacob Lake. The cabin wasn't much to look at but it had a hot-water shower and we all slept like rocks.
On Monday, Al and I dashed back to the Park while Mom, Dad, and Nathan went on to Pipe Springs Monument and then to the Las Vegas airport where they flew home. Al and I made our flight with plenty of time to spare and we smiled all the way home at what a wonderful, adventure-filled vacation we'd had.
|photo credits: My camera broke just before this trip, so all photos on this page were taken either by Mom or Nathan. I'm very grateful to them for letting me use them on this site.|