Kevin's Utah and Arizona trip, 2011
Thursday - Grand Canyon
next: Friday

I went out the Kaibab Plateau and through the Kaibab National forest. There's not much out there but trees. Oh, and cattle. I was a little surprised to see herds of cattle lounging among the douglas fir and aspen. There were some pretty bad forest fires a few years ago. It had been so long since the previousfires, that the flames were so strong that the trees didn't survive. Some of the trees were charred black. Some of them, the charred bark had fallen off, and they were bone white. Some were patchy black and white. So I was driving along a ridge, and was surrounded by these tree skeletons. But at that point, it was snowing. So the bones were fading in and out of view. Kinda spooky.

It's a good hour's drive from Jacob Lake down to the park entrance. It was only snowing for a bit, about halfway down. But the closer I got, the more snow there was on the ground. They had gotten several inches the day before. I had heard they got a foot in places.

I drove down to the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim. When you reach it, you can't really see the canyon. You go into the old lodge - it's big, open, has log walls and beams, and huge Navajo rugs on the walls. Just past the front desk, there are some stairs that lead down to a spacious sitting area with a big fireplace. From the top of these stairs is your first view of the canyon, through the windows.

I went out on the patio. It was damn cold, damn windy, and damn cloudy. But it was still impressive.

The canyon is so big, you can hardly get a feel for it. You just gaze out there and... it's big.

You read one of the signs, and it says that point out there is three miles away.
Okay? How far is three miles? You don't really have context.

I walked to a couple of vista points. Same canyon. I kept looking.
It was cloudy, so it was not photogenic. But I took pictures anyway.

I wandered slowly around the area.

The restrooms were small. The gift shop sold books. The book store sold more books, but also happened to be the Visitor's Center where the rangers hung out to provide info. There were rows of little cabins. I got a sandwich at the deli and headed out.

I drove out a winding, hilly road to Point Imperial. Another vista, but it was looking east. You can actually see the Colorado River from there. Still damn cold. I was very glad I had some warm clothes and a knit winter hat.

From Point Imperial. That's the Vermillion Cliffs in the distance.
That's the same area I drove through, after taking this other picture.

As I exited the park, it was snowing. It was really coming down.

Before too long, it was sticking to the ground. There were even
a couple of slippery spots on the winding, hilly road.

I stopped in Jacob Lake again and talked with Cyn for a bit. I was heading back to Kanab for the night. I got behind a couple of semis on the winding, hilly, snowy, four-mile six percent grades. It was a slow trip, but at least the snow stopped when we got back down below 7000 feet. I got back to Kanab around 10:30. The office at the motel closes at 11:00, so I was a little worried that I wouldn't make it in time, but I did. This motel had only a space heater in the room, so I asked for an extra blanket. I had told the clerk about the snow at Grand Canyon, so she brought me two blankets. It was the best night of sleep I had the whole trip.

Utah index
prev: Thursday, pt. 1
next: Friday
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