Thursday, November 10, 2022

Shutting the Place Down: Grand Canyon's North Rim


We shut the Grand Canyon's North Rim down. No, we weren't rowdy. In fact, it was a pretty quiet place. But we were at the historic Grand Canyon Lodge for its final two days of the 2022 tourist season. 

In mid-October, lodging and services at the North Rim close for the winter. The South Rim is open year 'round. We visited the South Rim BC - Before Children - so that's been awhile ago. Staying at the North Rim was on Randy's bucket list.

Accommodations were "rustic," I reported to my family. However, my sister-in-law put things in perspective when she asked if the bathroom was inside the cabin. It was. And she texted back the  #winning. Indeed!

The main lodge was built in the 1920s on the lip of the canyon. The Lodge was rebuilt after a fire in 1932. Randy estimates our cabin was only about 100 yards from the rim.

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon, October 15, as clouds moved in.

On the first night, we had dinner in the Sun Room and watched the sun set. 

The meal was delicious (and expensive). But the meals on the next day were meager, as staff attempted to use up supplies before closing everything down. While refrigerator-case sandwiches were not the culinary highlight of our trip, it was a "million dollar view" all day long.

Since we'd watched the sun set the day before, we were up before the sun and on the patio to watch the sun rise that Saturday morning. 

We were able to watch as the sun began touching the canyon peaks. While the canyon walls themselves may seem unchanging and timeless, the scene changed subtly throughout the day as the sun and shadows moved throughout the canyon.

The glories and the beauties of form, color and sound unite in the Grand Canyon - forms unrivaled even by the mountains.
--John Wesley Powell, 1873

The view into Grand Canyon from the North Rim shows a geological history that spans nearly 2,000 million years. Collisions between giant land masses and flooding by ancient seas created the canyon's rock layers. Squeezed between the Pacific Ocean floor and the Rocky Mountains, the layers rose to form high-elevation plateaus. During the last 5 million years, the Colorado River has carved the massive canyon, and the river is still at work today. 
In the afternoon, clouds began moving in and rain was forecast. 

 The overcast skies gave a whole different perspective.

Even though it impacted the drama of sunset that night, it was worth it to watch the afternoon scenes.

Park rangers kept advising us to watch for lightning, which is prone to strike quickly in the high elevations. However, I only saw one bolt, off in the distance. It didn't start raining until nighttime and into the morning as we departed.

I asked a park ranger to take a photo of us. He took the one at the top of this post, but had us turn around for this photo. He said it was his favorite pose for families for whom he took photos. I saw him do the same for a family group.

Really, I started the story backwards. The photo below was actually our first look at the Grand Canyon on Friday, October 14, as we arrived from Bryce Canyon. 


Our first stop was Point Imperial, elevation 8,803, the highest viewpoint in the park. 


Roosevelt Point is named for Theodore Roosevelt, who is known for his love of nature. Here's what he had to say after a visit to the Grand Canyon:

Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children and for all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.
Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Some 900 years ago, prehistoric Indians known as the Kayenta Anasazi lived along the Walhalla Plateau. In the winter, the cold and snow on the rim forced them to inhabit places like the sandy delta of Unkar Creek, where they could continue to farm. During the summer, some of them moved up to the rim to live in seasonal farming communities, where they grew beans, corn and squash. They also hunted in the forests and gathered native plans for food, clothes and medicine. About 1150 A.D., the people left the Canyon, possibly because of a decline in rainfall. They are believed to be the ancestors of the present day Hopi Indians who live east of Grand Canyon.

Angels Window was a highlight of a scenic hike we took as we reached the end of the Cape Royal road.


This was the view as we later stood on a viewing platform on the top of the window.

We listened to several other visitors talk about hiking into the Grand Canyon and then making the trek to the South Rim. Not surprisingly, that was not on our agenda.


  1. I love the photos taken of you and Randy.
    Your photos truly capure the spectacular beauty of the canyon in its different moods. What an amazing view from your lodge.

    1. It was a memorable trip with such amazing scenery.