Saturday, August 27, 2011

North Kaibab

Seven weeks from today is the last night that the North Rim facilities are open. The last two weeks have been the slowest of the summer, but past year's numbers show that Labor Day through the end of September are very busy. The visitors without children like to come in September.
We are working on our rim-to-rim hike in October, but we are having trouble finding a spot to spend the night in the canyon. We did not realize that reservations need to be made up to 13 months in advance. We will keep working on it and hopefully we can get a campsite.
Friday we went down the North Kaibab Trail to Supai Tunnel. This is the fourth time this summer that we have hiked to at least Supai Tunnel. Each time we go the light and conditions are different. This time Sherri took a picture of me on Coconino Overlook:
This is monsoon season in the southwest and shortly after we started our hike the clouds began to build. We saw lightening in the distance and heard thunder echoing around the canyon. Some ominous clouds were building overhead:
By the time we hiked to the tunnel most of the storm had moved off toward the south rim.
We did have a couple showers, which felt good. A ranger on the trail told us that a little earlier in the day the temperature was 98deg. at the tunnel, which is 1,400' below the North Rim. When we got to the tunnel the temp. was in the low 80's. I took a neat photo out of the tunnel toward the rim.
By the time we hiked back up to the Coconino Overlook the skies were clearing and we were fortunate that we did not get hit with a heavy rain and hail. Here is a final view from the Coconino Overlook, in a different light, which is named such becauses it looks over the Coconino Plateau on the South Rim.
This was a relatively short hike of four miles, but the hike up is a heck of a climb. We hope we will be ready for our rim-to-rim in six weeks.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tiyo Point

Another fun week at the North Rim. Wednesday evening we had a six team double elimination volleyball tournament. There were 4 on a team and each team had to have one woman. The woman on our team was Karma, so our team name was Instant Karma. Our average age was 52 and we were playing against 20 somethings. We held our own by winning our first two, but we ran out of gas and lost two 15-13 and 15-14.
Thursday Sherri and I hosted a picnic on the rim. Anthony, the Gift Shop assistant manager had his 23rd b-day and Lexci, our superstar associate in the Gift Shop left to go back to school. Lexci will be missed. Here is Sherri serving up another Chile Cheese Dog to Justin, also an associate. We had 20 people come by to say Happy b-day and goodbye.
Friday was our hiking day. We drove out 4.5 miles on the Point Sublime road and then set out to hike to Tiyo Point, 6.5 miles one way. The wildflowers were magnificent the entire hike.
The hike to Tiyo Point is on an old road which has been closed off to vehicle traffic. In many places the aspens and wildflowers are taking over the trail. Here are Sherri and Ryder emerging from a grove of Aspens.

It was a warm day, for us, close to 80deg. so hiking in the woods was nice. We reached the point in 3 hours, had a snack and rested a while. I also took some photos, no place along the rim has the same views and we were rewarded with beautiful vistas. Tiyo point has views to the west which we had not witnessed yet. Here are a couple of photos from Tiyo Point.

We were a little sore and tired after our 13 mile hike, but it is always a good feeling to finish a nice long hike.
The number of visitors to the North Rim are starting to wane as it is back to school time. We are still busy and we lost three associates this past week, so it becomes a struggle to cover all the shifts since we are open 13 hours a day. I have a great crew and we will get it done...if we don't loose anyone else before seasons end.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Heritage Days

This week has been dedicated to learning about Native American culture and heritage. On Tuesday Sherri and I along with two other couples drove 47 miles to Jacob Lake. The owner John Rich is a descendant of the family that founded the small rest stop back in the 1920's. It is the last place which is open through the winter in the Kaibab Forest prior to reaching the National Park. Jacob Lake has a beautiful gift shop full of Native American rugs, jewlery, and pottery. Three nights a week John gives a presentation on Navajo culture/history and how it relates to their rugs. We had a good dinner in the restaurant and the talk lasted over two hours. It was a fascinating presentation and we did not get home until after 10:30pm, late for us early risers.
Thursday and Friday were Native American Heritage Days at the North Rim. There were dancers, drummers and artists; many of which we carry in the gift shop. The pictures below are of the Hopi Dancer's, the gentleman is a world champion hoop dancer.

The drummers are a couple of young men from Taos Pueblo. They were passionate and entertaining.
Tonight is Symphony on the Veranda, which is where the drummers and dancers were. I will leave you with a picture from the veranda as the drummers were finishing their set. There is a benefical fire about 10 miles south of the South Rim.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


This weak was Hump Week at the North Rim, we are now past the half-way point. To celebrate Hump Week we had competitions all week between the different departments. The Warehouse-Accounting-Gift Shop (WAGS) which I was the coach of, easily won the most points for the week. We played kickball, volleyball, had a poker tournament, Gong Show competition, Fear Factor eating contest, and many other events. I am now the North Rim Ping Pong champion, not bad since I have not played much in the past 30 years.
Sherri and I did get away for a nice but tough hike yesterday. We drove 30 miles to the trail head in the Kaibab Forest which leads to the Nankoweap trail head. Since the trail is in the forest and not the National Park we were able to take Ryder, the dog. The trail goes through the Saddle Mountain Wilderness and is not maintained like those in the National Park. From where we started the hike is 3 miles and drops 1,200' in elevation, so that means coming back is 1,200' up. Most of the trail is not in switchbacks, it goes straight up and down. Going both ways was tough because of the steepness of the trail. I was a dummy and forgot new batteries for the camera, so we used Sherri's cell phone for pictures. I am posting a few of those pictures and I hope they came out okay.

It was a beautiful hike with fabulous views of the Canyon and Marble Plateau to the east, that would be the second photo from the top. Marble Plateau is where the Grand Canyon begins to form.
Many of the employees are getting restless and some are back to school soon. The remoteness of the North Rim has many wanting to move on. I hope the Gift Shop and the rest of the departments can hang on until closing October 15. If any one knows of someone looking for a couple months of work have them contact me and I will forward their information to HR, it truly is a beautiful location and with fall coming soon it will be spectacular. The best way to contact me is email: