As we were still gainfully employed and our vacation time was limited, we moved quickly on from Bryce Canyon National Park to Kanab, then through the beautiful high meadows of the Kaibab Forest to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Nearly six million people visit the South Rim every year. Few make it to the North Rim. For that reason alone, you should try to do so.
It was one of the few places on our 1997 trip that we made advance reservations or needed them. We arrived on May 15, the first day the lodge was open for the summer season.
The lodge, perched on the cliff, was fantastic. We had cocktails on the veranda watching the sun set.
We needed reservations for dinner and still had to wait about forty-five minutes. Had we been anywhere else, we probably would have moved on. Alie says “if there is a line for the second coming, I’m not waiting.” But it was the restaurant’s first day, and I imagine they might have even greater problems in today’s post-COVID staffing era.
Our cabin was spacious and nice, and I was up early to see the sun rise over Bright Angel Point on the other side of the canyon. Four of us sat quietly and apart, but soon we were joined by a thundering herd of five or six more people. I wonder if it is still that isolated today. But back then, there were too many people, and I walked on to an overlook where the only other creature was a squirrel sprawled out on a rock that seemed to be enjoying view too.
After Alie was up and going, we went out the Cape Royal trail which was easy to walk and had many signs describing what we were seeing. Angels Window is a lovely arch close to the trail on Walhalla Plateau.
We had a picnic lunch next to the rim at Vista Encantadora near Point Imperial, the highest place on the canyon rim. At 8803 feet, it is about 1800 feet higher than Bright Angel on the South Rim. Notes I kept at the time say we were plagued by bugs. Looking back 25 years later, I guess they were probably flies. It was the only place on the trip to the Southwest where we were bothered by insects.
Click on photos to enlarge.
Date of our visit: 15-16 May 97