We had our first few days off this week and we wanted to get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon before it closes to all traffic on October 15th. We left early Tuesday morning and set out for the 6+ hour drive. As you can see by the map below, you have to drive AROUND the canyon to get to the North Rim.
We drove on up to the gate at the South Rim and paid our ONE TIME $10 fee for our LIFETIME Senior Pass for nearly ALL Federal lands. If you are 62 or over and are not aware of this senior benefit, check it out here. It’s one heck of a great value. While we paid $10 for a lifetime, others at the gate were paying $30 per car for a one day pass.
On our way up from Cameron to Lee’s Ferry, we crossed over the “new” Navajo Bridge, built in 1995 replacing the earlier bridge built in 1929. When it was built in 1929 the next closest crossing of the Colorado River was over 600 miles away!
The Navajo Bridge crossing the Colorado River
Looking from the bridge to the river below
Can you imagine having to travel in the 20’s in this area of the country? The story of the bridge(s) is really interesting and you can see and find out more by clicking on this link.
After visiting the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center and walking across the “old” bridge to take a few pix, we got back in the car and continued up Route 89 to Jacob Lake where we had a nice lunch at the Jacob Lake Inn. All the serving staff were young folks and I asked our waitress if they were all living on-site. She told us there are about 75 staff “kids”, they are all attending college and they live in dorms back behind the inn. She said it’s a great way to spend the summer and earn some cash and make a lot of new friends. They all seemed to be having a good time while they worked.
Dining Room at the Jacob Lake Inn
Navajo woven rugs for sale on the wall in the dining room
The trip north brought RAIN all the way. A light drizzle down to a gentle mist, but rain nonetheless. When we finally arrived at the North Rim it was still drizzling and down in the 50’s. Lots of folks around us were dressed in long pants and sweatshirts along with hiking boots. We (of course) were in our shorts and tee shirts. A little out of place but no matter, we were eager to get checked in and scope out the surroundings.
The lodge (building architecture) was amazing. Built in the early 30’s, then burned down to the foundation four years later, this site sat untouched for six years. Finally in 1938 it was rebuilt using the original stone foundation. We didn’t have a reservation for dinner so we opted to go to the “deli” to eat and had terrible pizza. But that’s ok, we were ready to hit the hay, it was getting dark and the fog at ground level was thick as pea soup.
BUT WEDNESDAY MORNING WAS ANOTHER THING ALTOGETHER
We had so hoped Tuesday night when we went to be that Wednesday morning would be better weather and our prayers were answered. It was still a little foggy but clearing. We went on to the lodge for breakfast (by the way, there is NO lodging at the Lodge) and enjoyed our meals while catching glimpses of what was to come as the clouds moved in and out of and around the rock formations.
Dining room in the morning
HUGE windows allow a panoramic view
Looking out one of the big windows from our breakfast table
Kathy’s Strawberry French Toast
So I took about a hundred or so pictures as we traveled the North Rim seeing Cape Royal and Point Imperial, so I’ve set some of them into this slide show so you can get a sampling of what we saw. The morning sun broke some fog/clouds and the longer we stayed, the more we saw. It was a beautiful morning to be alive.
We stayed until about noon on Wednesday and then headed back home to Camp Verde. On the way though, we wanted to stop and check out Lee’s Ferry which is the spot that the early pioneers used to cross the Colorado River (before the Navajo Bridge was built in 1929)
We got a real treat when we realized we could pull right on down to the river and step on in the cool, clear, fast-running water! Lees Ferry is the only place within Glen Canyon where visitors can drive to the Colorado River in over 700 miles of canyon country, right up to the first rapid in the Grand Canyon. A natural corridor between Utah and Arizona, Lees Ferry figured prominently in the exploration and settlement of northern Arizona. Lees Ferry is now a meeting of the old and the new. Check out the pictures below.
That’s the recap of our trip to the Grand Canyon North Rim – what a sight to see.
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Herb & Kathy