Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, June 17, 2013

Exploring the North Rim June 15

June 15. We slept in a little today, got a slow start, and Jeeped to the North Rim. We saw some bison, plenty of forest fire damage from 2006, and learned, as well as observed how fires benefit a forest as part of natures natural cycle. The North Rim is very isolated compared to the South Rim, which is exactly what makes it worth the trip. It is over 200 miles by car from Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim, to the North Rim Lodge. The elevation on the north side is 1000-2000 ft higher, so the weather, the foliage, and the critters are different. The tourists are different too. It's much quieter, and less commercial on the north side. As we hiked around some of the rim trails, we weren't trampled by Chinamen with cameras (even though the same Asian couple ask me to take their picture with their fancy camera, twice!) There weren't groups of Europeans crowding the trails and refusing to move ( even though I did hear some language I didn't understand, and some guys were wearing funny Euro hats). We spent the day in very cool temperature, even though the sun was warm when it was out. There were gray rain clouds, and it actually rained twice, for five to ten minutes, and only in spots. I was told that is a significant rainfall here. They only get an average of 15 inches of precipitation, and most of it is snow. We were told twice that today is the official start of 'monsoon' season here. Monsoons aren't the same here as in other parts of the world. It rains some, and it can rain heavily and flood the washes, but it is still rare compared to the east. By the way, washes are what they call their dried up creek beds. They seem to be everywhere , but get very little use. We saw many dried up lakes and ponds on our ride on rt. 67, and many meadows of significant size that were nothing more than dried up lakes. The wildlife also fluctuates with the water supply, and we saw none. We were looking for the elusive Kaibab squirrel, which is only here, no where else in the world. It looks like a grey squirrel with big ears and a huge, white tail, often mistaken for a skunk at first glance. This squirrel, (known as the silver ghost of the north rim) as well as the big horn sheep are two critters that have evaded our sight to this point. We did see a golden mantled ground squirrel, which we thought was a chipmunk on steroids until we read about it later. After a nice ride home, pleasantly tired from hiking 3-4 miles, we had hamburgers on the grill, and another campfire in the cool temperature of 8000 ft elevation.

Bison sleeping in the field

This is Brighty of the Grand Canyon!  Remember that book????  Legend has it that if you rub Brighty's nose, it will bring you good luck!

Walking out to a look out point when it was VERY windy!

Check out the hair! I told you it was windy!  Thought we were going to blow off the ledge!


One of Mike's artistic endeavors!  Note the pretty flowers in the foreground!

Mike climbed up on this rock at Bright Angel Point!

This is zoomed in - I did not go up to take his picture!  Way too windy!

Looking down into the canyon with an agave plant in the foreground.

Fire damaged tree on the trail.

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