I had planned to be up before sunrise and make my way back into the National Park to see dawn break over the canyon, but when the alarm went off I really did not feel like getting up, so turned over and went back to sleep. When I did finally wake I decided to remain in the forest for another day, and relax a bit.
However, after breakfast, relaxing too the form of a four mile hike up through the forest to the East Rim, where ther was not another soul. I spotted what looked like a wonderful viewpoint further down and around the valley, and tried to make my way ther, but could not find a path. Undeterred, I made my way through thick undergrowth and on very steep slopes scattered with dead trees, towards where I thought the vantage point was.
Eventually I made it, wondering what it is that causes me to set these challenges for myself. But sitting there in silence, watching a couple of eagles soaring back and forth on the updraughts just above me, I reflected that it is often only through such extra effort that such wonderful moments can be experienced.
By the time I made it back up to the forestry road, with a four mile hike ahead of me back down to the RV, it was starting to rain. Fortunately I bumped into a forest ranger, who kindly offered me a lift back down to the main road near to where my RV was parked.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening reading, and sitting out by a lovely glowing fire.
I did manage to get up when the alarm went off the next morning, and drove back into the national park, but instead of heading to the visitor centre, I turned off the main road onto the Walhalla Plateau, and saw sunrise from one of the viewpoints looking to the east. Once again, there wasn’t anyone else around. It really does pay to get up a little earlier, and make that extra effort to get away from the visitor centre area, and be able to enjoy such majesty in total peace and silence.
Cape Royal Point further alont this quiet stretch of road offers stunning views of the canyon, and the Angel’s Window is quite breath-taking too. This is the only place in the North Rim National Park where you can actually get a glimpse of the Colorado River, over a mile below in the depths of the canyon.
It is hard to capture the incredible grandeur of the spectacle, and even multiple pictures of the sweeping vista do not truly do it justice. Eventually I stopped trying to capture the scene with my camera, and just sat and gazed in awe, trying to soak up the whole spectacle.
The huge scale of the place is hard to grasp, and signs point out the distances of some of the features that you can see. It is astounding that one of the closer buttes, which really does look close in comparison to the rest of the vast vista, is over two miles away. The far, south rim of the canyon, where I stood in November last year is ten miles away! Absolutely awesome!
Back at the North Rim, I went to the campground and used the showers and laundry there, before continuing north-west, crossing back into Utah again, and heading for Zion National Park.
More info on the Grand Canyon here:-
Grand Canyon National Park