I drove out of the park last Wednesday morning to meet Bill at the junction of Forest Roads 22 and 425 at 10 Arizona time. That’s 11 his Utah time. We were headed to Crazy Jug Point to camp for the night. I told him it wouldn’t rain with only a 30% chance. But we did get to watch some crazy skies at Crazy Jug Point when two storm fronts swept towards us across the canyon from the west.
After we chatted alongside the road for almost an hour I led the way 12 miles to Crazy Jug. But I had to stop along the way several times. I just love the Kaibab forest with it’s wintery white trunked quaking aspen and deep green evergreens.
When we pulled into Crazy Jug Ranger Jake was there with his parents. He had two cameras set up on tripods taking a GoPro time lapse while the Nikon worked at multiple shots to catch lightning, which I did not get hand-held. I couldn’t wait to get to the end point before firing off photos because of the light and shadows in the canyon.
I could hear the spewing sound of a hawk which I could not see and watched as 6 pairs of Ravens did acrobatics overhead. We all stood mesmerized by the approaching storm. So much energy carried on the preceding windy. Which increased rapidly while the temperature dropped.
Eventually, and reluctantly, Jake and I the last hold outs, turned off cameras and headed back the short distance to our rigs. As it started to rain Bill and I said goodbyes to Jake and his family then they headed back to the North Rim. We jumped into the truck camper where an uneasy Sasha tried to find a corner to hide in as the thunder grew closer and louder. Oops, I told Bill it wouldn’t rain. Then a deafening rain mixed with pea-size hail pounded on the roof.
We tried to figure what mountains were in the distance. Barely visible through the saturated sky. Bill took a compass bearing and figured out they are the Unkerets beyond a more familiar yet not noticeable from our viewpoint Mt Trumble. Still I could hear but not see a hawk.
After almost an hour, and many more photos, part of the storm slid by to the south yet also continued to head towards us from the west. Back to the camper with rain for another hour that made puddles, running water and a muddy mess. We made the mistake of walking in the mud and our shoe sizes became quite a bit larger. A couple had pulled in just as it started to rain and set up a tent before jumping into their car.
We ventured back out just before sunset under clearing skies with the last light shining on select pieces of the canyon. I continued to search for the source of the hawk sound and saw a large bird, but not a Raven, perched on rocks. Still not sure what it is and the photos are all terrible.
The morning dawned clear for a last walk to the point and once again I heard and saw the hawk on the same rock as the night before. Bill suggested it might be a newly fledged immature. Then I saw the Ravens again and this time they were chasing a hawk but the photo is totally blurry and I can only tell it has a light buff underside.
I guess when I told Bill it wasn’t going to rain, I lied. But we sure enjoyed the crazy skies at Crazy Jug Point.