June 28 & 29, 2016
I love sharing Grand Canyon with everyone. Yet there’s nothing better than sharing Grand Canyon with friends. After blogging for almost nine years I’ve made a lot of friends online plus have fortunately met many in real time. It’s always like reconnecting with old friends because we know each other through our blogs. Last week I had the good fortune to meet another long-time blogging friend, Diane and husband Nigel from France. They’ve been planning this trip to the USA for many months starting with motel reservations at the North Rim even before buying tickets for their flight.
I met Diane, Nigel, and their friends Mary and Michael who drove them up to the North Rim from Mesquite, Nevada, at the Grand Lodge Tuesday afternoon. After they checked in, showing them the view of Grand Canyon, and saying goodbye to their friends, I whisked them off to my RV home and soon Bill arrived. They gave gifts from France and a pair of Diane’s handmade earrings with an elephant charm. You all know how much I love elephants. We sat and chatted away like old friends.
We returned to the Lodge for dinner but first took a short walk to further gaze upon the wonder of this big gash in the Earth called Grand Canyon. The westering sun brought the glowing colors out in the canyon and the clouds added drama to the scene.
Bill and Nigel really hit it off.
Unfortunately we were having dinner during sunset and I didn’t get a shot of the colors. Though Diane stepped out for a few shots. Dinner was delicious, though I have to admit that prickly pear cactus margarita was the highlight, other than the wonderful company. Walked them back through the maze of cabins to their motel room and arranged to pick them up at 10 the next morning for breakfast at my house then show them around the North Rim sights.
First stop along the scenic drive Wednesday was Greenland Lake, which actually has a small amount of water surrounded by tall lovely grasses. Haven’t seen water here in a few years. In fact when Pat visited three years ago in early June it was dead and dry looking. The surrounding ground offered moisture to a variety of butterflies but Diane was disappointed that the Western Tiger Swallowtails wouldn’t hold still long enough for a photo. However this Fritillary was mostly cooperative as we both tried to capture its wings fully open. Flowers bloomed below the aspen along with a dandelion going to seed.
Then Bill drove to the end of the road, as I always recommend to visitors, to Cape Royal, which I consider the largest view of the canyon including a section of the Colorado River. Walking the .4 mile (.64 km) paved accessible trail provides a view of Angels Window, a narrow fin of rock which you have the option of walking on top of. I prefer to line up the window with the river. Can you see it? Amazingly nobody was on top, a rare occurrence.
The end of the trail gives a stunning 170 degree view about 10 miles (16 km) across the canyon to the South Rim with rock formations like Freya’s Castle, Vishnu Temple, and Wotan’s Throne in between. The approaching storm clouds added drama to the scene, hopefully announcing the beginning of monsoon. Occasional flashes of lightning made us aware of the potential for danger on the rim yet was exciting nonetheless. But neither Diane or I had any luck capturing the lightning.
Yet to the west down canyon, blue sky with towering clouds belied the approaching storm. The constant changes entrance me here, color, light and shadow, textures and shapes, create such a variety and rarely repeated visual experience. The air even smells different.
Along the trail flowers bloomed and the currant bush offered a few ripe berries to munch on that the birds, bugs or squirrels hadn’t gotten to first.
We returned to the parking lot then wandered west past the picnic area to the rim Wedding site which provides a different angle of Wotan’s Throne. And yes, you can get a permit to get married here. Upon feeling a few rain drops we headed back to the truck but the rain just really didn’t come.
Stopped at Walhalla overlook admiring the stormy view and looking down on the Colorado River. Only a small curve in the river can be seen wrapping around the Unkar delta where the largest Ancestral Pueblo ruin along the river has been excavated. We pondered what life would have been like here over 1000 years ago. Then we took the short walk to the Walhalla Glades ruin were some of the Native people farmed during summer.
Made another stop at Roosevelt Point where the temperature took a dive as the wind picked up. Yet in the distance sunshine lit up strips of the Navajo land north of the Little Colorado River.
We continued to Point Imperial, Bill’s favorite view because of the Paria Plateau in the distance with less trees for this desert rat with admitted dendrophobia. The storm moved eastward across Marble Platform soon to devour the sun drenched Vermilion Cliffs where we’d be driving by the next day to share more of the Southwest with Diane and Nigel.
After a long afternoon we went back to my RV for a Mexican dinner and a quick walk to the rim to just about miss the last of sunset over and through the trees along the Transept trail.
The day was full of ooohhhs, awwwws and wows as we viewed the canyon from various angles and overlooks. I had a great time playing tour guide and Bill was a trooper driving us around and stopping when told asked. It’s so much fun to finally meet people after following their blog for years because we are basically already friends in the cyber world. Plus of course, I love sharing Grand Canyon.