Aug 142014
 

Wotans Throne shrouded in fog from Cape Royal North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaDepending on where you’re from and what language is spoken you may know Wotan as the Norse god Odin who ruled from Valhalla.

Fog around Wotans Throne Cape Royal North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaBut here on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park early geologist Clarence Dutton, who named many of the landmarks in the canyon, called this Wotans Throne seen from Cape Royal at the end of the Walhalla Plateau.

Clouds around Wotans Throne Cape Royal North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaHis wife, Freya, has a rock castle nearby which was buried in fog.

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Aug 062014
 

Cloudy view of canyon Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaOn Sunday I enjoyed a marvelous monsoon day at Grand Canyon.  I love the rain especially now that I live in the SW.  And as long as it’s not too hard.  But visitors to Grand Canyon want blue skies and no rain for their canyon views.

Cloudy canyon view Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaI spent a lot of time giving pep talks to visitors disappointed in not seeing the full canyon.  But everyone has seen Grand Canyon’s red rock under Arizona blue sky.  It’s truly a unique experience to see clouds play in and out of the canyon.

Cloudy view of canyon Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaThis is my seventh summer working on the North Rim and I’ve only seen this one to two times a summer.  When the canyon and temples peak out of the clouds the view is beyond words.

Foggy drive on Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaI drove out on the Walhalla Plateau through foggy patches of forest, destination Walhalla overlook for a 1:30p Archeology talk.

No view of canyon Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaArrived 12:45 under a soft female rain so sat in the truck eating lunch and enjoyed the non-view into the canyon wondering if I’d really be giving a program or not.

Cloudy view of canyon Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaThe rain stopped about 1:20 and a family of four joined me at the rim asking if I was giving the 1:30 talk.  It was rather informal as we all began taking photos of the canyon peaking out of the clouds.

Clouds opening Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaCamera wouldn’t focus on the foggy sky and unfortunately I forgot to put it back on auto focus until later.

Foggy view of Angels Window Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaHurried out to the end of the road to Cape Royal hoping for more fantastic monsoon views and had to stop on the way to catch Angels Window.  Note the people on top where a short trail leads to.

Cloudy view of canyon Cape Royal Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park Arizona

Cloudy view of canyon Cape Royal Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaAs I walked the short trail to the Cape a few glimpses of the canyon showed between the clouds and at one point a window opened to reveal sun shinning on the far canyon walls.

No view of canyon Cape Royal Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaThen it closed in again and at the end of the trail was socked in completely.  Yet I hung out knowing how quickly that can change.

Temple thru clouds Cape Royal Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaA family from the Netherlands got so excited when tiny windows opened.  All of us would run from one side of the overlook to the other sharing in the joy of seeing the canyon.

Temple thru clouds Cape Royal Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaA few other visitors came out, “didn’t see anything” and left disappointed although I encouraged them to stay.

Cloudy view of canyon Cape Royal Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaAll too soon it was time for me to leave, not an easy thing to do considering the marvelous monsoon conditions.  I am reminded of Merlin’s dragon’s breath.

Cloudy view of canyon Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaOne last stop at the Walhalla overlook where I could see the curve of the Colorado River.

Wildflowers Walhalla Plateau North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaAnd a quick stop for the wildflowers.

Sunset from Grand Lodge North Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaThen after a marvelous monsoon day at Grand Canyon and dinner it was back to the Lodge for an evening program.  Rangers get paid in sunsets.

Jul 212014
 

Jumpup canyon Kaibab National Forest ArizonaI have never experienced such a remote and isolated place surrounded by a palpable silence as Jumpup Point, a narrow peninsula of land jutting out into Grand Canyon.

The drive

Rocky FR201 Kaibab National Forest Arizona44 miles of gravel road in the Kaibab National Forest removed me from civilization.  The last 10 miles along FR201 are a brutal drive over a rocky road that appears not to have seen a grader for a while.  It took me 1.5 hours avoiding the potential tire punching pointy rocks and crawling over slickrock boulders.  But the reward at the end was entirely worth it.

Meadow FR22 Kaibab National Forest ArizonaFrom high plateau pines and meadows a drop of 2500 feet (762 meters) in elevation brought me through the Juniper and Pinyon to a low elevation of heat and seeking shade amongst the sparse desert environment.

FR236 Kaibab National Forest ArizonaDefinitely need a high clearance vehicle to make the last 10 miles.

Being there

Jumpup canyon, point & beyond Grand Canyon ArizonaI went alone to be with my cluttered brain thinking about the future, or at least what I plan to do at the end of this summer season. Yet what I discovered was just to be in the NOW of this most amazing place.

Esplande from Jumpup Point Grand Canyon ArizonaIt took a while to settle in to this absolute silence surrounded by a canyon so vast.  I felt disoriented to my place here.  What is the name of that point, drainage and temple?  Hey, I’m into geography.

Jumpup trail Grand Canyon ArizonaYet after I set up camp and had dinner I finally settled in and watched the late sun rays glow off canyon walls and create shadows in the depths.

Esplande from Jumpup Point Grand Canyon ArizonaNo signs of human activity within the many miles of sight.  The western wind brought a scent of dry desert.

Shadow over Colorado River canyon from Jumpup Point Grand Canyon ArizonaI talked out loud to break the silence yet felt intruded upon by the distant sound of an occasional jet which I could not even see.

Sundog from Jumpup Point Kaibab National Forest ArizonaPre-sunset a sundog appeared high above mountains on the distant horizon.

Sunset from Jumpup Point Kaibab National Forest ArizonaAnd as sunset blazed across the western sky a sense of calm finally came to me.

I was HERE, NOW, and that’s all I needed to be.