Wednesday, June 30, 2010

North Rim, Grand Canyon

We found it good to have gone to the South Rim before we came to the North Rim, rather than vice versa. First, there are fewer people on the North Rim and you feel closer to nature. Second, the North Rim is an ecosystem higher in altitude than the South; it's fresher, greener, and less dusty. Third, the North Rim gave us a context for what we had seen on the South, helping us put together a more complete picture of the whole Canyon. For example, here is Joan at Bright Angel Point, looking down on Bright Angel Canyon and across to the Bright Angel Lodge on the South Rim. The view helped us understand our hike from the Lodge to Indian Gardens 25 years ago - how far down the face of the Canyon we went, and how steep Bright Angel Trail is - and how much further down we would have had to go to get to the Colorado River.

When we drove east to Inspiration Point, and then south to Cape Royal, we saw some of the interesting formations, such as Angels Window, that presage formations in Bryce Canyon. We were able to view the Painted Desert, 50 miles away and 3000' lower in elevation, that we'd driven through. It's hard to see the Colorado River from either Rim, although we had good views from Desert View on the South Rim and from view points on the road to Cape Royal. Here is a view of rapids on the east side of the Park. At Cape Royal, we were able to look across the Canyon to Desert View and its stone watchtower. And anywhere on the Rims, there are wonderful colors and rock compositions at sunset. (Maybe there will come a time when we get up for sunrise, but we're not holding our breath...)

So the North Rim was thoroughly rewarding.