|Day 17 - Grand Canyon North Rim, AZ
||[Aug. 23rd, 2004|10:00 pm]
Trip Odometer: 4451 mi|
36°12’N, 112°03’W (no change)
We woke up around 8am today, and headed for the visitor’s center after a breakfast of French toast. The visitor’s center was really small compared to, say, Yellowstone’s, so we didn’t spend much time there other than to figure out what trails we were going to hike. I also purchased a book called “Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon” which gives accounts of a great majority of the fatalities that have occurred at Grand Canyon.
While walking around the top of the canyon, it was pretty cold (compared to what we had been experiencing) and very windy, especially near the Canyon’s Edge. The elevation was also among the highest we’d been at, about 8800’ above sea level.
The first trail we took was a short hike out to Bright Angel Point, which was a good introduction to some really spectacular canyon views, and really hit the best part of the Grand Canyon home. Its big. Big Big Big. Very Very Large. Scale has very little meaning any more. Not only that, but everything in the area we were in was pretty green, it wasn’t completely bare dark red rock like I remember from the last time I was here.
We then walked down the Trancept trail which went between the visitor’s center and the campsite. It was a nice trail, but it didn’t have any great canyon views. Something that was amusing though was the way back took about a third of the time of the way out – the slope changed from uphill to downhill, which was nice.
After lunch, we briefly considered taking a mule trip, but the into-the-canyon trips were done for the day, so instead we drove out to the Cape Royal area and walked down the Cape Royal trail. This had some good canyon views, and we also got to see the Angel’s Window natural arch – which we also got to walk on top of, which was pretty cool. The wind out here though was phenomenal, and it definitely felt like we might get blown off the top of the arch at any point (despite the railings).
We also hiked the Cape Final trail, which was nice and a good mix of forest and a few different views of the canyon. We stopped at the end for a while and just sat around the Cape Final survey point for a good amount of time. There was also a set of families here that looked like they were running a cub scout den hike or something given the number of kids around.
Since it was getting on to late afternoon we eventually had to leave though, and the hike back was nice and easy. When we finally got back to the camp site, we had pineapple chicken (which had been marinating since yesterday) which was very very tasty, though a mess to clean up…) then we just read books for a little while and went to bed. It’s a nice area, its just absolutely freezing here.