A Deep, Grand Hole.
Grand Canyon National Park
"There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm." - Theodore Roosevelt
The North Rim.
The Grand Canyon is in parts up to 1 mile deep and 18 miles wide, covering more than 1.2 million acres (roughly 4,900 qkm for the non-Americans). This huge area of cliffs, rocks, desert, valleys and the majestic canyon rims is a key item on anyone's American Southwest itinerary. So it was for us, however, we decided to start our Grand Canyon experience from the less crowded parts of the park - from the North rim.
The South rim is located a few hours outside of Las Vegas and more easily accessible then any other parts. The drive up to the North rim from the south entrance is more then 5 hours, and this is just taking a drive around not even half of the entire park. This might give some perspective on why it's called "Grand" - it truly is.
We've had two big trips planned for our North rim experience: the hazardous, long hour drive to Toroweap (read more about this adventure in our Toroweap post, coming up soon) and the trip to some of the most majestic view points in the North rim area, such as Wotan's throne (image below), Point Imperial (image above) and Cape Royal (last image on this post).
After entering via the northern park entrance, we were immediate greeted by a herd of huge buffalos and their calves, peacefully enjoying their lunch on and right and left of the driveway. These non-native bisons were initially bought from a cattle farmer in the early 1900's after being entirely extinguished by the 1800 settlers who killed all of them back then. Today's herd got again quite huge and discussions are happening about what to do with them. Read more about the story of these animals here.
The park highway winds up a long road to up to the Grand Canyon Lodge and we've passed multiple viewpoints with incredible vistas. This part of the park is quite easily accessible via car. If you'd like to get deeper into the canyon and explore it, there are numerous hikes either on the rim or short or lengthy explorers trails down into the Canyon.
We didn't do any hikes this time, just enjoyed some fabulous photo opportunities alongside the rim.
Overall, this park deserves more time than we had back then. One of the things that remained on my bucket list is the hike to Phantom Ranch from the South Rim.