The night before we had taken accommodation at Jacob Lake Inn, about 25 kilometers to the North Rim of Grand Canyon. We were on a family vacation and it was a Road trip along the west coast of US , covering the states of California, Utah , Nevada and Arizona .
Majestic North Rim – Grand Canyon
One thing we surely didn’t expect the North Rim to be was lush green.It was a cloudy morning and we had reached the North Rim quite early. We had elaborate plans for the day and were eager to cover most of it. The nearest viewpoint from Jacob Lake was the North Entrance 8824 ft above sea level which is higher than Darjeeling at 6982 ft. From here you can go directly to the Bright Angel area which gives a panoramic view and is complete with a Visitors Centre and Lodge.
Those who are adventurous at heart can follow various trails like Widforss trail and Kenpatrick trail to the interiors of the gorge and enjoy nature in all its ruggedness. In fact travelers with lots of time in hand can visit the other viewpoints-and there are quite a few-such as Uncle Jim Point, Saddle Mountain, Point Imperial, Roosevelt Point,Cape Royal,Walhalla Overlook ,Cape Final and follow various other trails like Point Imperial trail, Roosevelt Point trail , Nankoweap trail and other sonorously named trails. Brave hearts can go further down the trails of Bright Angel, South Kaibab, North Kaibab, Roaring Springs and many more…
Even when you drive into the park entrance, you would not guess that the canyon lies just on the other side of that heavily forested area. Once parked, we dashed to the nearest cliff side spot and stared out in awe. The canyon seemed to go on forever ahead of you.
North Rim looked dizzyingly ravenous with steep, tall slopes. I just strolled around the numerous pathways built on the edge of the canyon-all narrow -jutting out – from where I could see the deep cuts through the high ridges which differentiated them from mountains. They looked more like plateaus and were full of coniferous trees –in complete juxtaposition with the dry desert land surrounding it!!
Simply loved the paths-very narrow and uneven, bordered with rocks and directly plunging down-and so, so many trees.The viewpoints were scary , not mellowed out for the comfort of tourists but kept just the way they were-rugged, rocky and wild, very thinly wired, jutting out like dinosaur muzzles. On our side were creamy yellow and beige colours alternating like stripes on a uniform.
A group of visitors were enjoying the view just like me. We discovered a squirrel perched on a faraway rock staring into the horizon as if in meditation. I had actually seen two of them a few seconds back, and animatedly narrated my discovery to the others.
Bows of trees formed arches above the paths which in turn diverged into slimmer paths going down towards the canyon and stairs going up to the stone huts which were actually lodges for visitors. Sometimes the paths became too narrow for more than two people to pass through which somehow reminded me of the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost. Sometimes it widened into clearings.
The canyon– red, maroon, pink , green, creamy white – three, four parallel ranges with the gorge made from the river clearly visible… frilling out like a lady’s skirt-the demarcation between colors clearly visible like a layered cake.
What looked so beautiful and dramatic to a layman’s eye were actually a living proof of billions and trillions of years of earth’s geological history. Grand Canyon is nothing but rocks but it’s composed not just of one type of rock like the one and only mighty granite at Yosemite but that of layers of different rocks of different hues and textures deposited in different ages!