Wednesday 1st June
We spent the morning hanging around at the North Rim Campsite waiting to see if we could book in for a couple more days, unfortunately they have a similar system to the UK camping clubs which allows people to book up to six months ahead but who sometimes don’t show, so they are turning many people away when there are sites not used, but the site had a good laundry room so we did our washing, sent a few business emails and had a long Skype call with Nik & Annie, while doing that Steve realized that with the good connection we had here we could sort out a problem we had accessing one of our bank accounts on-line, sure enough the usual 45min call trying to get to the right department but got it sorted out ok in the end. With Skype it only cost about 60p I think it would have used all my 120 days worth of calls on our USA PAYG mobile (cell) phone. So all jobs done by about 1pm and Steve walked over to the office to find that we could have a pitch for just one evening unfortunately it was not within reach of the wi-fi.
Off we went to explore as many of the view points as we could. There was a driving route which we followed and saw some amazing sights ending up at the North Rim Lodge where we saw a great sunset from their patio. If you have a good map or look on Google maps, we visited; Point Imperial, Vista Encantada, Roosavelt Point, Walhalla Overlook and Cape Royal which was amazing walking out over a natural stone bridge to a small (fenced luckily) promontory hanging about 1000ft up. We arrived back at our pitch after dark which meant a bit of very careful maneuvering between the trees so as not to damage the van, nights are really dark here. We decided to get an early night so we could be on the road early in the morning so as to be able to get a parking spot at the trail-head for our decent into the canyon.
Thursday 2nd June
We found a parking spot at the trail-head of the North Kaibab Trail which heads down to the Colorado river, a fourteen mile hike and 6,000 foot decent. Not for us today! As we had a parking spot we decided to have a good breakfast first as recommended by the Rangers but a bit of a mistake because as we hit the trail at 8am the Mule train carrying tourists down came onto the trail ahead of us and the rule is that Mules have priority so we could not pass. Not a problem for us as we thought that the mules would be faster once the Wrangler had finished his pep-talk to the rookie riders. But after we got going we were caught up by three guys who were intending to walk from North Rim to South Rim that’s 14 miles down and 7 miles up so time was critical, eventually they called to the wrangler at the head of the line and he allowed them to pass so hopefully they made it in time, rather them than us although I would fancy it sometime but I thing I would camp at the bottom before the accent the next day but it would take a few days getting used to the altitude first. Anyway, we had dropped back a bit because apart from the dust the Mules were kicking up following them was like following a cart load of manure as they all started getting rid of their breakfast!!
Well we made it down two miles to a water stop, actually that is as far as the Mules go. Our pedometers registered just over 5 miles there and back because of the smaller steps you take walking down and up a steep slope, it was actually 8,100 steps and an accent/decent of 3,500 feet so not bad for a couple of pensioners!
Well after our hike we have spent a leisurely afternoon reading and doing emails etc. before we head out to the Forrest to park for the night for an early start to drive to the South Rim only about 8 miles as the “Condor” flies but 203miles 5.5 hours as TomTom directs us!
Till next time. …………………………..
Steve & Judy