The Peak of the Canyon: Part III

2

October 6, 2019, Jacob lake-

I came to the highest point of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, a bit earlier than planned.  My initial goal of hiking the Uncle Jim Trail, in honour of my late uncle, met up with the reality of approaching sunset.  I decided to head for the twin high spots, Point Imperial and Cape Royal, instead.

Point Imperial, the eastern flank of the North Rim, gazes towards the Navajo Nation and the various smaller canyons of the Paria River basin and House Rock Valley.  Such Grand Canyon landmarks as Vishnu Temple and Desert View Tower may be seen from here. The shadows were creeping in,though, so that added to the sense of grandeur.

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A soldier is, of course, watching.  This is also the best spot on the North Rim from which to get a clear view of the Colorado River.

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The striation of the entire canyon wall may still be discerned, layer by layer.

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It appears that the various peaks are lined up, almost directly, north to south, across the canyon.

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Seeing the shadows lengthening, I headed west, towards Cape Royal. It was this leg of the trip which reminded me that I am living in a society that often knows only “full speed ahead”.  The professional photographer, whom I mentioned a few posts ago, was on my tail, the entire fifteen miles.  We both made our goals, though, so the forty mph zip was an odd footnote.

One side feature, along the Cape Royal trail, is Angel’s Window, an eroded spot in the middle of  a sandstone promontory, on Cape Royal’s east side.

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The Cape offers a full-on view of the Canyon’s majesty, even towards twilight, as it faces mostly west and south.

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Below, is a better view of Angel’s Window.

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Sunset was gathering.

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There is always majesty in  the gloaming.

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The final moments of a sunset confirm that all is well.

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So, I bid farewell to the North Rim, for now.  Uncle Jim Trail still awaits-on June 3, which was his birthday.

NEXT:  The Legacy of Glen Canyon Dam

 

 

The Peak of the Canyon-Part II

4

October 6, 2019, Jacob Lake-

I made a silent promise to my long-departed maternal grandfather, whom I never met in this life, but who has appeared to me, a few times, that I would not give in to a more irrational level of acrophobia.  He has been one of my spirit guides, all these years, exhorting me to face life and overcome obstacles.  He and Grandma imparted that message to my mother and her siblings; an examination of their lives bears out  that exhortation’s fruits.

So, as I readied for visits to three of the overlooks at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, there was no trepidation at engaging the heights of this wondrous place.  The North Rim exists at the highest point of the western Colorado Plateau. Had the canyon never been carved, one would face a 2,000 foot increase in elevation, from Tusayan to  the site of Grand Canyon Lodge.

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My first order of business, after looking around the Lodge for a bit, was a walk out to Bright Angel Point.  As today was one of the most gorgeous Sundays in quite a while, there were dozens of people, of all ages, walking about or at least lounging on the Lodge’s patio, which also offers views of the canyon below.

Here are a few of those scenes available to the sedentary.

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I then availed myself of a couple of overlooks, close to the Lodge.

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Bright Angel Point involves a fairly strenuous hike, mainly due to the elevation.  Those with pulmonary issues do best to stick to the Lodge area. An intrepid woman using trekking poles made it half-way, before concluding it would be a mistake to continue.  There were several of us late middle-agers who made the walk, though, along with folks as young as five.

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It was at the above guard fence that a little girl wanted to climb up, for  “a better view”.  You’d best believe her mother’s hands were firmly on her, for that exercise in bravery!

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The various striations in the sandstone clearly show the levels it has taken, to build this most magnificent of geologic records.

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In the next post, Point Imperial and Cape Royal offer a northeastern perspective of the Canyon’s wonders.

 

 

The Peak of the Canyon- Part I

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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.

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Above, is Navajo Bridge, now a pedestrian walkway between Marble Canyon Lodge and a Navajo Artists’ Market.  Below, is the Colorado River.

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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.

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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.

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This sandstone spire reminded me a bit of Spider Rock-or maybe Darth Vader.

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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.

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It was now time to take a look at the highest points of the Grand Canyon.

 

 

Tapeats Creek

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April 29, 2017, Prescott-

I’ve not been to Tapeats Creek.

I hear it is a raging torrent, right now.

Reachable from the North Rim,

of the Grand Canyon

of the Colorado River,

via a trail best used

by the hardiest

of the hardy,

Tapeats tempts

and threatens.

So, a hardy family

set out,

on Easter Weekend,

to take up the challenge.

So, a woman with

consummate wilderness skills

led her grandson,

to the water’s edge.

So, they lost their footing,

and were taken,

by Tapeats Creek.

The young man

was found, yesterday.

Tapeats had claimed

another victim.

The woman’s fate

remains yet uncertain.

The waters do not invite.

The waters only accept us,

on their own terms.