October 6, 2019, Jacob Lake, AZ-
Sitting at the counter of the restaurant, in this gateway community to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I enjoyed a sandwich of “Leftover Jalapeno Meatloaf”-(a tongue-in-cheek expression, as the dish was freshly prepared) and bantered a bit with a somewhat surly young man, who definitely wished I wasn’t there. Once he left, the waitresses seemed to relax and there was a light-hearted rest of my visit. The food was very good.
It had been that kind of day, a blend of dealing with surly people and those who relaxed when the angry ones left. A screaming woman, berating the disabled manager of the motel where I had stayed in Flagstaff, last night was replaced in my view by his head housekeeper, who helped the poor soul get his bearings.
This evening, just before sunset, I was being tailgated, at ten miles over the speed limit, on the narrow road leading to Cape Royal, where I was heading to take a photo of the sunset. Turns out, the motorist with a hair-trigger temper was also heading to the Cape, to take a professional photo or two. Once we got there, and he realized there was still time for his shoot, all was well.
In between, there were genuine moments of peace: A crew of high school soccer players washed my car, as part of their fundraiser. Then, it was off towards the North Rim, via a trio of scenic wonders, majestic in their own right.
Here are a few scenes of Marble Canyon, where I walked around Navajo Bridge, a New Deal project which replaced the ferry across the Colorado River.
Above, is Navajo Bridge, now a pedestrian walkway between Marble Canyon Lodge and a Navajo Artists’ Market. Below, is the Colorado River.
After a Thor Burger, at Marble Canyon Cafe-and pleasant conversations with the mostly Dineh staff, I headed up the road a bit, to Cliff Dwellers, also mainly a place for Navajo jewelry to be sold. It does have an astonishing series of boulders and rock formations, near what once was a settlement of Fremont people, who were mainly hunter-gatherers.
Vermillion Cliffs came next. There are an unusually high number of retired people traveling, this time of year. The warm weather has helped, as has the political tension in the country, which leads people to seek an outlet. We know that travel is one of the best outlets for relieving tension. There was certainly a time in my life, when that was so. Vermillion Cliffs is one of the most popular areas for many seniors to visit. A Road Scholars bus had just left the area, as I pulled in.
Here are some views of the cliffs and of a canyon that has been cut by the Paria River.
This sandstone spire reminded me a bit of Spider Rock-or maybe Darth Vader.
All of this set the stage for my second-ever visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, as an homage to the national park’s centenary. Having visited the South Rim in April, it was an equal time matter.
The aspens and oaks are turning colour, so the approach to the Rim, itself, was a treat. The area had been populated mostly with Ponderosa pine, but a fire in 2000 created a swath, into which aspen trees have taken root.
It was now time to take a look at the highest points of the Grand Canyon.