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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

June 24, 2008

Rest Day at North Rim

Filed under Back in the USA

Our trip coordinator Lisa Fenchel planned a rest day for the day after our arrival and before the first day of our two day hike.

After having spent about 12 hours en route on the day before, that turned out to be some wise planning on Lisa’s part.

Grand Canyon Trip
 A cup of coffee on the North Rim at 6 a.m.
Grand Canyon Trip
 Darris took full advantage of our rest day.
Grand Canyon Trip
 Matt & Lisa Fenchel and Darris McNeely at
 dinner on the evening before the hike.
Grand Canyon Trip
 This time Ted and I pose at the North Rim
 before we hike down the next morning.

We were two hours ahead of schedule, though, so we were awake around 5 a.m. Arizona time. Then we waited a half hour until the coffee shop opened up. Darris and I were the first ones from our group there, and since the attendant did not have the cash register open yet the fellow let us take our coffees on "good faith". Later Matt, Lisa, Ted and Monica joined us and we sat outside next to the North Rim lodge watching sunrise over the Grand Canyon. Quite a site!

After breakfast we walked about a mile to the campground store at the edge of the campground. Our pace was moderate and one mile is not much of a distance, but the elevation of 8255 feet (2576 m) was noticeable at times. Upon our return to the North Rim lodge in mid-morning, we had an opportunity to just sit and relax and look at the canyon in front of us. At the lodge there was cell phone service from the cell towers across the canyon at the South Rim, 10 miles distant line-of-sight. That provided an opportunity to some brief phone calls and for Darris to check his email on his iPhone. :-)

In comparison to the South Rim the day before, it seemed that things were more relaxed at the North Rim. At the North Rim you do not have the feeling that you are at a tourist attraction. One reason for that was that fewer people travel over to the North Rim. In fact, National Park statistics show that the number of people who visit the North Rim is only 10 percent of the number who travel to the South Rim.

During our "day off" we heard two lectures given by park staff. One lecture was on the condor, the magnificent birds once on the verge of extinction but now making a comeback, with several of them visible during our stay at the canyon. The other lecture was on the geologic history of the canyon. Our lecturer explained the millions of years needed in her view for the Grand Canyon to form as we see it today, but she admitted that some of the time sequence was conjecture and a million years here or there would not matter. :-)

After a relaxing dinner at the North Rim lodge we had time to go to a scenic overlook where Ted and I posed for a picture on the other side of the canyon from the day before. With a clear sky we watched a spectacular sunset before "lights out" at about 8:30 p.m. so we would be ready to get up the next morning at 4 a.m.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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