Bledsoe 2012 Western Tour travel blog

Bright Angel Point

Cape Royal

Grand Canyon Lodge

canyon panorama

The sunrises early here in northern Arizona, mostly due to the lack of Daylight Savings Time, and so did we. After a quick breakfast we packed the cooler, threw it in the Vue and started on the 45 mile journey to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The quaking aspens along the way were displaying their best fall colors, from gold to red. Mixed in with the conifer forest it was quite a sight. We also passed through many miles of charred trees, a result of a major fire in 2006. Lost were thousands of acres of Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine, now replaced by quick growing aspens.

We arrived at the entrance gate to Grand Canyon National Park, showed them the wonderful Senior Access card that saves us $25 each time we enter a park, then continued the additional 12 miles to the Visitor Center.

There isn't much in the way of development here in comparison to the South Rim. A small visitor center, a beautiful lodge built by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1925 and a few short trails leading to overlooks. The plus side of this is fewer visitors so we didn't feel as crowded as other parks we visited on this trip.

We walked out to Bright Angel Point from the lodge. Although not as spectacular as the other side of the canyon, the panoramic views here are still breathtaking. We could see roughly 100 miles today, our vision impaired slightly by haze from recent fires.

Becky was have a real difficult time coping with the 8800 ft altitude today so we opted to limit our visit to an auto tour as opposed to hiking. We left the lodge and visitor center area and drove the road out to Cape Royal, a distance of about 20 miles.

Along the way we stopped at a couple of overlooks, just a few hundred feet away from the car. Even though the distance between overlooks is just a mile or two the scenery changes dramatically.

We arrived at Cape Royal and spent some time just looking our over the canyon down to the Colorado River. This is the only spot on the north rim where you can view the river.

We reached the end of the road and headed back. We'd never visited the north rim before and were glad we did. It certainly is a different world from the south side.

Even though it's only a mile or so across the canyon we have to drive nearly 200 miles tomorrow to get to Mather Campground on the South Rim. I do wish this Winnebago had wings. Since we're dry camping we'll have limited power for the computer and wi-fi so our next update may be in a few days.

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