Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Viewpoint Hopping

Localized deluge at sunset from Jumpup Point

 "Rise free from care before the dawn, and seek adventures."
-          Henry David Thoreau

Grand Canyon National Park is a very busy place in the summer, and I’m a little crowd-averse.  The North Rim, though, is a whole lot quieter than the south.  Better yet, when you’re willing to get off the paved roads there is near-solitude.

There are a lot of dirt roads north of the Grand Canyon, and better yet, they’re mostly in the Kaibab National Forest, which allows dispersed camping.  So, after lots of research my husband and I packed up the Four Wheel Camper and the dog and enough beer and ice cream sandwiches for a week and headed out.

Monsoon view from Crazy Jug Point
July and August are Arizona’s Monsoon season, and we really got lucky the first part of the week with the breathtaking light and rainbows of summer storms.  We started at Crazy Jug Point, and had the good fortune of running into a very kind off duty Park Ranger, who gave us all the information we needed and had been unable to get through the usual channels. 

My favorite shot (The header image) comes from Jumpup Point, where wave after wave of rain passed to the south and the gorgeous light intermittently broke through.  This was the toughest of the drives by far, but absolutely worth the trouble.

Fire Point Sunrise
The third night was at Fire Point which, because it is in the Park, requires a backcountry permit for camping.  There’s a lovely spot on the rim where we enjoyed chips and salsa and beer with a new friend who was out to see the sunset on his motorbike.  I shot this image in the morning, leaving my husband and dog cozy in the camper.  There’s a real advantage to camping close to the view, especially for them.

Summer lupines and indian paintbrush among the aspens
After a burger for lunch at the Kaibab Lodge (our concession to civilization) and a flat tire repair, we crossed highway 67 and made our way to an unnamed viewpoint near Saddle Mountain.  We heard about this one from our Park Ranger friend.  It was secluded and beautiful, but high winds literally kept us up all night.

Marble View sunrise
We cut our explorations short (though we did stop to photograph some flowers on the way) and tucked into the forest at Marble View Point for naps.  This place is famous for high wind, and there are wind-pruned trees and ground-hugging vegetation everywhere to prove it.  There was one other couple there who, providing a bit of comic relief, thought we should give up our campsite because it was their favorite.  No sale.  Protected from the wind, we slept all night.

We were out of ice cream sandwiches so, as much as we hated to leave, it was time.  Like any good trip, I’ve gathered enough ideas for at least two more trips out here and I know I’ll be back.

Thanks for stopping by.  There are more images from this trip in the Grand Canyon Gallery in case you haven’t yet had your fill.

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