C.M. HalsteadC.M. Halstead

By C.M. Halstead

The Grand Canyon’s North Rim, a trip back in time.

Those adventurous enough to drive the additional 200 miles from the south rim of The Grand Canyon, located in Northern Arizona, to the North Rim of the same Grand Canyon, are gifted with a trip back in time.

Located just ten miles as-the-crow-flies from the south rim’s Grand Canyon National Park new Mather Point visitor center, the Northern side of the Grand Canyon takes us to what we would’ve experienced on the south rim if we were able to 100 years ago. Yes, we will still travel there in our modern cars and SUV’s cooled by air conditioning, although once you arrive at the 8,000-foot elevation of Jacob Lake, you will no longer need the AC and may want to consider opening the window and partaking in some cool fresh air. We will drive through giant ponderosa, aspen groves, a vast burn reminiscent of an unmanaged forest fire, finally reaching the meadows and the buffalo herd frequently found there in.

Only one Ranger hut guarding the entrance, worked by Rangers that still walk up to the car window, instead of impersonally working a booth, happily take their time with you, knowing there will never be more than a few cars waiting.

There is enough parking for the vehicles that arrive, a few cabins located on the edge of the rim, plus a few more and a camping area located back in the pines. The majestic Main Lodge, grandiose in its design and view of the canyon whose edge it perches upon provides shelter and food to those seeking it. Outside of the lodge is where it is at! The reason for the season! The  View into the Grand Canyon and across to the South Rim of the canyon. Most days, we can see the volcanic peaks of Humpries located just north of Flagstaff, AZ.

Most are content with the rural energy the developed area of the North Rim village provides; others need to level-up the adventure. These people jump into a 4×4 and travel out to the outer reaches of the park, there, at spots like Point Sublime and Timp point we generally have the view all to ourselves. The best sunset I’ve ever experienced was at Point Sublime! Shh, don’t tell, just go and experience it.

The trails that go down below the rim of the Grand Canyon are another level of adventure. The trails descending from the North Rim are less maintained and less traveled, even the main artery, the  North Kaibab Trail sees significantly less travel than its southern counterpart.

Although the North Rim sees a fraction of the visitors that the South Rim does, it is still a good idea to plan ahead. Both campsites and cabins are limited.

To plan your North Rim adventure, start here: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/north-rim.htm

If you desire to disperse camp in the Kaibab National Forest outside of the park, here is a link with some valuable information: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/kaibab/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=11697&actid=34

Oh, I almost forgot, there is next to no cell phone reception on the north rim or in the northern Kaibab N.F. Just go with it, embrace the journey back in time and do what they did, look at the views, and smell the clean air. And if you are a parent, watch the awe in your children, it will appear, maybe not until day three, when they are used to looking up instead of into a device. It is worth it!

Enjoy the adventure!

By C.M. Halstead

Why question abundance?

A while back, on a wintery weekend afternoon, a  desire for a jeep ride managed to bring me out of my nest and into Dirty Girl (aka the #jeep) for a country drive, in the blowing and still falling snow.

There is nothing like the contrast of red rocks and white snow, to entice me out of my warm nest and into the great outdoors. To be honest, I enjoy stormy weather days outside more than 80 and sunny days. There is nothing more boring weather-wise, than 80 and sunny. Whilst the ever changing views and elements of a blustery winter day, bring out the desire to hike or ride around in my Jeep, while smoking a cigar.

On this day the jeep (aka #dirtygirl) and the cigar win the competition.

As I did back then, I swung through a fast food restaurant to prepare sustenance for the drive. Pulling through the drive-thru, I notice they have a two for two dollar special on their name to fame, the big-mac. “Cool.” I think to myself, “I can get one at half price!”

“Pulling up to the depressing black drive-thru order box, I am greeted cheerfully, “Good afternoon, what can I make for you today?”

“I see you have a two for two dollar special on the big-mac.”

“Yes we do, would you like us to make you two big-macs today?”

“No, actually I only want one. Can I still get a deal?”

“No, if you order one, I will have to charge you full price, and that will be more than buying two for two.” the cheerful voice coming from the big plastic box says.

“For REALS? If I buy one, I have to pay full price! Can I pay for two and just take one?”

“No sir.” the not as cheery voice coming from the black box says, “You have to take both.”

 

Long pause by me, while I express the voices in my head, but keep them in my head.

 

“I guess, I’ll take two then.” I say out loud.

“Great. Thank you sir. Would you like anything else?”

“Yes,  a small diet coke and medium french fries please.”

Voice from the box, “Would you like a large drink, they are all the same price.”

“…sure why not.” conversation saving answer.

 

Pulling around, I think to myself, “There has got to be a reason; are they really that corporate, that they don’t allow their people to think? Or, perhaps it is an inventory thing. They need to sell product before it goes bad, and its cheaper to sell it at a loss, than to dispose of it or… “Here you go sir, enjoy. Thank you.” The voice now having a face, a twenty-something with dedication without knowledge as to why.

“Thank you; you too.” Pulling away, before turning out onto the road, again I ponder what I am going to do with the extra big-mac. I mean, I could probably eat two, but even I didn’t need to ingest that many calories while merely driving around sifting in the views.

Before I know it, the fries, one big-mac and most of the giant diet coke even, are gone. Easing my way through the forest and countryside, I admire the snow glazed wind, and the crisp February air, the crunch under my tires intermixing with the sounds of slush in the wettest spots. The sandstone takes on an illustrious orange hue when the shine shines bright, melting the snow recently attached to it. I come to another crunchy area as a motion is caught in my periphery to the right.

A coyote with legs minus one the usual amount, comes a trotting from my right, heading towards the road ahead of me. He scopes about the drifting snow, hoping for something, casting his trained eye across the horizon. Looking for food more than shelter, perhaps.

I think to myself, “How could I not..?”

Slipping Dirty Girl into neutral, I apply the brake and open her door. Grabbing the still warm, all beef patties, special sauce, extra cheese, lettuce, pickles, on a sesame seed bun while hopping out of the jeep, walking firmly, my head slightly down as to come across non-threatening, I walk out in front of dirty girl.

As I bend down, I open the box. Placing it on the glazed snow, I glance up at the coyote. The coyote has stopped moving and is staring at me, head still at scanning level.

I backpedal my way back and sideways into Dirty Girl, closing the door gently I sit and watch the three legged coyote watch me.

Nothing else exists, the snow blows through without notice, the earth turns, but who notices, clouds are moving and life is continuing for all else, in that moment he looks at me. Then moves forward with purpose, his nose a detecting whatever scents it can pick up in the perpendicular wind.  The coyote reaches the wax coated, pliable, two millimeter thick box. The container flaps its top lid, attracting the coyote to the free meal inside.

His eyes move from the contents to watch me inside my metal shell; snatching the prize, he gulps twice and it is gone.

 

Perhaps I could have saved him some fries.

The Grand Canyon’s North Rim, a trip back in time.
Why question abundance?