In a typical year, Carolyn organizes a trip to the Grand Canyon and our 2020 trip was canceled due to Covid Restrictions for staying on the North Rim. This year, Jordyn and Carolyn booked a cabin on the North Rim over the Memorial Day weekend and the plan was for all of us to hike Rim to Rim, south to north overnight arriving Saturday morning. The plan went on without me doing the hike due to multiple issues including not being as prepared as I might normally be.
Carolyn and Jordyn drove separately and left on the Bright Angel Trail around 10 pm Friday night. I slept and was scheduled to drive to the North Rim Saturday morning with our oldest daughter Caitlin and Jordyn’s husband James. By the time I got out of bed, Carolyn texted me letting me know they had arrived at the North Rim in under nine hours.
We loaded up the car and the rest of us headed on our long road trip to the North Rim traveling I 17 to Flagstaff, US 89 towards Page, US 89A to Jacob Lake, and AZ 67 to the lodge. The six hour drive is always one that keeps you on edge especially with heavy traffic on US 89 towards Lake Powell.
Caitlin, James, and I stop at Jacob Lake store for some cookies. The store is known for its home made and baked cookies. Caitlin and I also sneak in a butterscotch malt. It was a good one. We see no bison on the road to the rim and upon arrival we meet up with Carolyn and Jordyn to get checked into our rustic cabin on the west side of the lodge located close to the Rim. It seems fairly crowded and the girls shower up so we can enjoy the sunset and some walks along the Rim.
Jordyn and Carolyn are tired after hiking all night but they manage to eat dinner with us at the lodge. In talking with our older waiter, Covid has impacted them getting staff to work so like everywhere else, they are short staffed and no where near capacity for dining.
On Sunday we drive out east of the lodge for some beautiful views of the Canyon plus we hiked Point Imperial, some of the Saddle Mountain Trail and some quick hikes out to various lookout points along the way. For the day, our hikes total around 8 miles. Along our Point Imperial hike on the return part, yours’ truly (me), trips over a rock and I land flat on my face knocking myself silly. I am dazed and confused, bloodied, and embarrassed. My family rushes to my rescue making sure that I am not seriously injured requiring assistance. Chris Stapleton sings that “falling feels like flying ’till you hit the ground.” I can say it was a surreal experience, straight down with my chest and head smacking the ground. Thankfully, I have a hard head and survive with multiple abrasions and a nasty cut on the bridge of my nose. I can’t even explain what happened but I’m not about to hide the fact that I fell hard on a hike. I sure don’t like admitting those failures but it happened. We get back to the trailhead for our picnic and a couple of Huss Brewing craft beers to help ease the pain. I just had too.
We return to the lodge and Carolyn and I walk to the NPS fire station and the EMT checks me out and want a pleasant young man. His opinion was I probably did not need stitches and to keep the skin flap taped down. (As I write this blog, my face has acquired a nice scar on the bridge but such is life.)
Jordyn and James rest up at the cabin since they will be hiking from the North to the South Rim overnight. Carolyn, Caitlin, and I enjoy dinner and some walks along the rim by the lodge and sometime around 10, I drop off James and Jordyn for their midnight trek across the Canyon.
On Memorial Day, Jordyn and James have texted us that they have arrived on the South Rim just in time to enjoy breakfast at the El Tovar. The rest of us pack up and head to Jacob Lake for breakfast at the cafe.
Our trip back to Phoenix was uneventful and traffic was not near as bad as we had anticipated on I-17 heading from Flagstaff. Another year and another Grand Canyon trip in the books. For Carolyn and I, this trip was extra special having both of our daughters with us. That is a rarity on our adventures but we have been blessed to have them for a trip into Zion in April and this Grand Canyon mini adventure. I missed my time inside the walls of the Canyon but I do hope that I still have some gas in the tank to revisit the spirituality and specialness of hiking through the grandest of canyons. If you have never been to the North Rim, it is extra special for views and way less crowded. It is truly a special place.
Next stop, Park City and Moab.