Day 31 – Those North Rim Views
Seeing the North Rim view was 100% worth the 2 plus hour drive to get there.
The Long Way Around
The birds may be able to quickly fly the few hundred yards from the North Rim to the South Rim, but humans have to travel hours to get to the other side. We packed up first thing in the morning and headed out of the park. It took us over 100 miles and 2 1/2 hours to get to the North Rim.
Finding a Campsite
The campground on this side is tiny, only 13 spots. The competition to get a spot felt a little like when backpacking and there are limited flat campsites. If you go during the week like we did, I think this competition was more hype than reality. Most people only stay 1, maybe 2 nights. This leaves plenty of open sites by the 1 pm checkout time. While there are no reservations and not many sites, what this campground does have is spectacular views of the canyon just steps away.
Enjoying the Views
Like the South Rim, this side had a road that snaked all the canyon edge. However, this one did NOT have guardrails and often went right by the sheer drop off.
The views on the North Rim are so much more accessible (shorter walks) and better. The sun hits the rocks of the North Rim, melting away the winter snow. The South Rim had far more shade, so has crumbled away due to the melt/freeze cycle. The North Rim walls drop straight down still, offering much more expansive views. You can see whole sections of the canyon at once, straight down to the Gunnison River.
Having the view right off our campsite made it easier to head back for an afternoon view (the grey clouds only covered again today, no actual rain) and sunset view.
John had a hard time going right to the edge of the fencing – it took him all day to be able to look straight down. He thought I was laughing at him the whole time, but I was laughing at the irony. I had no problems, because there was a fence. Every other time on the trail I’m the one shouting for people to get back from the edge of the rocks and John is the one with no problems.
While the afternoon here can be hot, hot, hot when you don’t have shade, it has been a relief to not be freezing at night. I don’t have to use hand warmers and toe warmers. I don’t have to sleep in my puffy. I don’t even zip my sleeping bag up all the way. The early mornings are pleasantly cool and the early evening is pleasantly warm. It hasn’t rained or hailed in two days. I guess we just had to leave the Colorado Trail to find nice weather.
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