Grand Canyon North Rim Sunset

Grand Canyon North Rim Sunset

Our 2011 National Parks adventure started with a stop at the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center.  We walked on the first bridge which was built in 1928 and were captivated by the green Colorado River running through the bright red cliffs.  After crossing the second Navajo Bridge our drive paralleled the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.  At Jacob Lake we headed south to the north entrance of the Grand Canyon North Rim.  Shortly after passing the entrance station, a herd of beefalo, a cross between domestic cattle and buffalo, was grazing in a meadow near the forest.  Our drive continued through the remains of a major 2006 forest fire.  We successfully found a parking place at the North Rim and walked along a trail with views of Roaring Springs Canyon.  We then took in the spectacular views of the Grand Canyon from the half mile round trip Bright Angel Point Trail.  On our return we stopped in at the Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge which was in the midst of a fire drill.  After checking in and making dinner reservations, we continued our exploration by hiking a portion of the Transept Trail which connects the Lodge with the North Rim Campground.  We spotted a deer feeding in an area below our room.  We attended two Park Service Ranger led programs, one on the geology of the Grand Canyon, the other on the reintroduction of California condors.  Before dining in the Lodge restaurant we enjoyed the changing colors as the sun set.  After dinner we returned to the deck to look through a telescope at a cluster of stars and simply to soak up the incredible number of stars that are visible to the naked eye with such a dark sky.

Spectacular Sunset

Spectacular Sunset

We started our second day seeing the light hit the canyon walls shortly after sunrise.  We drove to the North Kaibab Trail parking lot and followed the five mile round trip Uncle Jim Trail.  We spotted another deer along this trail and saw lots of birds, frolicking chipmunks, and many different wildflowers.  The view at Uncle Jim Point, 8,336 feet above sea level, was spectacular.  A half-day mule trip follows this trail.  In addition to hitching posts, the Point also has an environmentally friendly toilet with three sides and an open view of the Canyon.  After this hike, we took a pleasant drive on a winding road to Cape Royal.  We stopped for the views at Vista Encantada and Roosevelt Point.  The 0.6 mile round trip paved Cape Royal Trail passes by Angels Window which has an opening with a view of the Colorado River.  We lunched near a location set up for small weddings with a special view.  A common raven located on the ground kept cackling with another nearby raven.  Sunsets are very special!

On our departure from the Grand Canyon North Rim we saw another deer, a lonely beefalo, and a flock of wild turkeys determining which side of the road was greener.  The North Rim offers spectacular views of one of the world’s wonders with fewer visitors.

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