Monday, September 26, 2011

Arizona Trail

In preparation for our rim-to-rim we did an "easy" fourteen mile hike on Friday. We hiked a section of the Arizona Trail from the park boundry to the East Rim view points. The section of the trail we hiked is outside of the National Park so we took the dog. Ryder is standing guard.
The trail is mostly flat and goes through beautiful meadows and forests.

Some of the Aspen groves are starting to turn yellow and their quaking leaves are gorgeous.
The East Rim looks out over the Marble Plateau and the Navajo Reservation. The beginning of the Grand Canyon can also be seen.

It was perfect day, mid 60's and not a cloud in the sky. The hike was the same distance we will hike on our first day of rim-to-rim, which we are doing Oct.11-12. On our way back we came across some wild Turkeys hanging out at a watering hole.
Saturday we went to a wedding between Bekah, who works in the HR dept. and Greg, who is an intern with NPS. They met up here and wanted to get married before the end of the season. So, they chose a little wedding area right on the rim at Cape Royal. The pastor better not take a step backward.
The reception was in the picnic area and we enjoyed food and cake before we headed off to work.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bill Hall Trail

Yesterday we went on our toughest and most scenic hike yet. We drove through the forest for one hour to reach the trail head for the Bill Hall Trail. We had a couple of hiking companions this time, Anthony who is the Assistant Manager of the gift shop and Bill who is the significant other of Anna a sales associate in the gift shop.

The Bill Hall Trail is a shortcut to the Thunder River Trail and the top is very steep and rocky as it goes through the Kaibab Formation. One spot requires lowering the packs down and scrambling.
The views from the trail are the broadest and most expansive that I have ever seen. This is Bridger's Knoll looking southeast from the trail. The next picture shows the broad views to the west as the river slices through the canyon
We hiked down the very steep section for three miles and took a break in a shady arroyo. At this point Sherri and Bill thought it would be best to start back up the canyon. Anthony and I continued on over the Esplanade for another 3.4 miles. The Esplanade is a flat and rocky section which feels like and looks like very different from any other section of the canyon.
Anthony and I made it to end of the Esplanade which looks over Surprise Valley and has a view of the Colorado River.
After hanging out on the edge of the of the Esplanade for half-an-hour Anthony and I began the 6.4 mile hike out of the canyon. The three mile Esplanade was not bad but the last three miles is 2,500 feet up. The weather here has been cool and rainy for several days, but today it was sunny and warm in the canyon and we kept looking for cooling clouds. Well, half way up the rains came and we took shelter under a rock overhang and watched the storm.
The cool rain was a welcome relief, but the storm passed quickly and the sun came out. The last mile is straight up hill and was a challenge. Anthony and I made it out; Bill and Sherri were waiting for us at the truck and on the drive back we talked about what a tough and beautiful hike we had just been on. At the end of the day it feels great to have hiked the Grand Canyon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Uncle Jim Trail

A little late with my post this week. Hard to believe that the season ends in five weeks here at the North Rim. A lot of employees are restless and leaving early, which makes it hard for a manager to run their department. I hope we have a few employees in the gift shop on October 15. It is maddening that people can't stick to a commitment.
Sherri and I hiked the Uncle Jim Trail on Friday. A very nice 5 mile hike close to our campground. Uncle Jim was a Park Ranger back in the 20's, he was involved with the cross breeding of cattle and bison and was one of the first to give mule rides.
Friday was cool and overcast; it was a very good day for a hike. The Uncle Jim Trail Point looks out over the North Kaibab Trail. The trail can be seen along the cliff on the right.
The Uncle Jim Trail is across a canyon from the Lodge. This photo shows Bright Angel Point which juts out from the Lodge area.
We got done with our hike just before this cloud turned into a thunder storm. Some fellow hikers gave us a ride back to our RV; if they hadn't we would have been wet.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Sherri and I got away for our first overnight trip away from the North Rim. Lizzie and Jessica took care of Ryder and Zeke...thanks. We went to Zion National Park in southern Utah, it's about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the North Rim. Here is one of the rock formations as we entered from the east:
 In Zion the main attractions are in the valley with the cliffs towering overhead, which is different from the Grand Canyon where most people stand on the rim and look down. Since the day time temps. are around 100 this time of the year we took a nice cool hike. Hiking the Narrows is a much differnt hike, it is between narrow cliffs in and along the Virgin River. This picture is close to the trail head:
The picture of Sherri is the first river crossing in calm and shallow water. The below picture shows where the water is deepest in the hike, which is a short way into the hike. Notice the hikers toward the back of the picture, the water was chest high on me and we had to put our packs on top of our heads.

This deep water quickly weeded out the less serious hikers. The hike can be very tricky as some of the river crossing are in waist deep rapids, but the 65 deg. water and mostly shade made for a nice hike on a hot summer day. We hiked for about four hours and covered four miles. Here are some more photos from the hike:

After our hike we had a nice dinner in the lodge and spent the night in a very nice "cabin". Friday morning we headed over to Saint George Utah for an oil change and to do some shopping. Sherri needed a new pair of hiking shoes and we needed supplies to last for another month. Before we left Zion I got a shot of the sun coming up:
It was great to get away and have a vacation from our vacation.