I have time now to to start bloging again, and rather than skipping to the present, I plan to seek closure by continuing our trip report.
GCT Day 7: Today, we traveled to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, crossing the Colorado River on the Navajo Bridge near Marble Canyon and historic Lee's Ferry. Here, at end of Glenn Canyon and the start of the Grand Canyon, the roadway is only 470 feet above the water.
The sunny weather we enjoyed thus far turned toward storms and rain. We were caught in several furious downpours before reaching the Kiabab Plateau. On top of the plateau, we turned south at the Jacob Lake Inn and drove down through a pleasant series of forest-ringed meadows to the North Rim vantage point and lodge. The lodge overlooks a side canyon called Bright Angel. Bright Angel Canyon erodes a fault line that cuts transversely across the Grand Canyon.
The North Rim Lodge shares the vantage point with a number of cabins. We really liked the cabins and decided next time we would get reservations far enough in advance to stay there.
The North Rim is higher than the south one, is cooler, and is heavily forested because it gets more than twice the rainfall.
It was overcast when we got there, cold, windy, with an intermittent fine, misty rain so we looked, took a few pictures, and left for our lodging back at the Jacob Lake Inn. The Grand Canyon is a fantastic place, is huge, and defies description, but after several days of seeing it, we were jaded.
GCT Day 8: A day of rest. We explored the area around the Jacob Lake Inn by car and by foot. Jacob Lake is a small limestone sinkhole a few miles south of the Inn. We saw several other sinkholes along the road to the North Rim. Small and insignificant today, but they were probably important sources of water in the early days.
The Kiabab Plateau is surrounded by deserts and canyons, isolating it and its creatures from the rest of the world. Some of the creatures have evolved unique sub-species. In our exploring, we saw some small animals with black furred bodies and white tails cavorting beneath the trees, Skunks, we decided, and dared each other to get close enough for pictures. Then one started climbing a tree like a squirrel. The others quickly chased after it. That was our first introduction to the black and white Kiabab squirrel. We saw others that day, but none allowed us to get close enough for pictures.
We ran across a human traveler in the woods and took pictures of his three mules. I asked him where he was from, and he said "I live out." Nothing more, as if that explained things. He seemed anxious to get south of the Grand Canyon before cold weather. He was irritated with park rules about such things as campground limits and reservations. Apparently, he'd experienced some trouble with the park rangers in the Canyon the year before and was trying to follow rules this year.
The Inn is a generational enterprise that has grown with its owners over the years. There is a restaurant, a bakery, a number of small cabins, and a couple of multi-room units, all of typical quality for a historic remote tourist location. I can recommend the cookies, baked fresh each day, especially the chocolate parfait ones, but not much else, except the locale. Their advertized wifi proved to be non-existent.