Grand Canyon - North Rim, Hiking
By DAVE GJESTSON
If you have been to Grand Canyon, chances are you visited the South Rim where most of the parks six million visitors toured last year. Since we had been sequestered the past five months because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we thought a more remote visit to GC was warranted, so we thought the North Rim was a good choice.

We made our reservations for a cabin rental before the pandemic hit Arizona. We anticipated canceling if the risk was too great but the facility cancelled our reservations first because of extensive fires near the North Rim in June. Two weeks before our requested dates of July 24-25, the park administration restored our reservations.
Lauras sister and her husband, Kathy and John Eastwood were paired up with us for two nights in a cabin with a canyon view, easing the pricey $355 per night fee for us. They live in Flagstaff, which is a convenient jumping off place for visitors. Most fly in to Phoenix and rent a car for this adventure. It is a four-hour drive to the South Rim from Phoenix but a six-hour push to the North Rim.
Isnt this trip risky because of the corona virus threat? It is but we thought the safety precautions we had in place minimized that risk. Both couples had been isolated and symptom free for an extended period. We avoided people on the way up, and the park had restrictions in place that included a closed visitor center, closed camping area, closed restaurant (only grab-and-go meals available), excellent cabin sanitation measures, and masks required for staff.

Because the facility was not crowded, we thought avoiding crowds would not be a problem. However, contacts with individuals turned out to be problematic. We were rather taken aback when we ran into people on the trail and at overlooks who were not masked up. I sat on our cabin porch one afternoon for an hour and counted 22 hikers with masks and 63 without!
A geologic explanation of how Grand Canyon was created is mind blowing for most of us. How can anyone comprehend 1,200 MILLION years ago when the area was a huge, flat plain? Can you picture the Pacific plate sliding under the continental plate 500 million years ago and pushing up the Sierra Mountains, the Colorado Plateau, and the Rocky Mountains? How about understanding the impact of the Colorado River eroding the area for six million years?
The profile of Grand Canyon makes it obvious how old this magnificent resource is today. The layers of rock are very apparent and the visitor should have at least an understanding of some basic geology to fully appreciate one of the seven wonders of the world. Each layer took millions of years to deposit either by continental oceans, swamp lands, volcanos or wind carried parts of the earth.

The picture above shows the very distinctive white layer of Coconino Sandstone Formation, often called the bathtub ring around Grand Canyon. Once a huge sand dune more than 1,000 feet deep extending from Arizona to Montana, it was deposited 265 million years ago!

Grand Canyon got its start in 1909 when President Theodore Roosevelt designated it as the Grand Canyon Game Preserve. It became a national monument in 1908. Finally, President Woodrow Wilson designated it as a national park in 1919. While the South Rim drew more visitors and building construction, the North Rim was generally ignored and had its modest beginnings with 40 tents that could be rented.
The Grand Lodge was constructed in 1927-28 and was followed by a visitor center and rental cabins. Eventually, 91 standard cabins and 23 deluxe cabins would be constructed along with a developed camping area. The fees range from $189 to $355 per night. Because of the Covid-19 risks, the number of cabins available for rent was reduced to minimize crowding and staff workload.
Trail hiking opportunities are somewhat limited compared to the South Rim but are more than adequate for those wanting to stretch their legs for more than an hour or more.

We chose two hours worth of the Widforss Trail (9.6 miles) but other opportunities exist on the Ken Patrick Trail (9.8 miles), Arizona Trail (12.1 miles), Cape Final Trail (4.2 miles) and the looped Uncle Jim Trail (4.7 miles).
Tennis shoe and Flip-flop hikers can enjoy paved, short hikes including Bright Angel Point Trail (0.5 miles), Roosevelt Point Trail (0.2 miles), and the Cape Royal Trail (0.8 miles) taking you to splendid overlooks of the canyon.

And, if walking is just not your thing, make a reservation for a mule ride along the rim (one hour, $45; three hours, $90). Our cabin was located right at the trailhead for Bright Angel Point, so we enjoyed that hike several times.









As Laura and I wave goodbye, wed remind you that there is plenty to see while you are in the Grand Canyon area, so you might want to extend your stay.

Special sites include Antelope Canyon (reservations required), Lake Powell/Page, Navaho Indian Reservation, Grand Staircase National Monument,Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Hopi Indian Reservation, and Walhalla Glades Pueblo.