Travels in the American Southwest

Grand Canyon North Rim

Wednesday, 9/3

There's something about waking to the aroma of Ponderosa Pine. For me it's an invigorating, get up and get moving scent so right after our morning jolts of caffeine, off we went exploring. Our waiter from the evening before had mentioned that the sights from Cape Royal and Point Imperial were among the best on the North Rim so we set our sights there. Access is the narrow two-lane Fuller Canyon road, which winds back and forth as you climb to the highest elevations of the park. The road to Point Imperial is the first intersection you arrive at. The three mile road leads north to the Point. MSO and I joined the awed visitors standing in silence contemplating the vistas to the east. Fluffy clouds dotted the sky over the Painted Desert to the east. Humbled in the presence of nature, we boarded the RV and returned to the Point Imperial intersection. Ten or so miles later, we're at the highest point on the North Rim, Cape Royal. A short walk from the Cape Royal parking area leads to Angel Point. The point is reached by a natural bridge which can be most appreciated from the path to Cape Royal before reaching the Angel Point path. We continued our stroll on the main path to Cape Royal. This vantage point provides views to the south. Flashes of light seen in the far distance are the result of the sun reflecting off the windshields of cars driving along the South Rim.

While strolling back from Point Royal, we noticed a small group standing by the canyon's edge near the Angel Point cutoff. A member of the party, obviously a trained vocalist, belted out a clear note into the afternoon air. Moments later, the echo from the nearby canyon wall sent chills down my spine.

Cape Royal and Point Imperial are easily accessible and it should come as no surprise that the views from both scored high on the 'Oh Wow' factor. We finished our sightseeing and picture-taking as a mass of dark clouds rolled in from the north. MSO and I scurried to the RV; I didn't want to test my driving ability under really adverse conditions but it turned out I didn't have to! Storms seem to be extremely localized. A massive downpour in one place completely misses another place only a couple of hundred yards away! We drove past evidence of the heavy rains; stones, dirt and small branches washed into the roadway but the RV remained unrained upon.

Dinner was a simple affair at our campsite. As the sun set, we could see the lights of the South Rim twinkling across the canyon. Tomorrow, we'd be where those lights were.

Main | Trip Reports | E-mail | Next Report