What a Difference a Day Makes
It was no surprise that the Grand Canyon Lodge didn't have any vacancies; it's advised to book a year in advance.
However I felt confident that the Jacob Lake Inn wouldn't be a problem, seeing how it was nearing the end of the season. Unlike the South Rim, the North Rim does close, mid-October and doesn't reopen until May.
Cell service was spotty at best and internet was even more of a challenge. But I managed to make a reservation for the night
Or so I thought.
After watching an incredible sunset from Bright Angel Point, we made the hour long drive back to the Jacob Lake Inn.
Exhausted and very ready to get a good night sleep, we went to check in only to find that I had reserved a room for the following night and that they were completely booked up for the evening, as was every hotel in a 100 mile radius.
What I didn't know was that hunting season was in about to start and rather than being the low season it was actually peak season for the area.
As we sat in the lobby trying to figure out what to do, the wonderful lady at the desk came to us and said that we could stay in the conference room.
She felt really bad about the mess up (which was entirely my fault) and didn't want for us to have to keep driving that night. There was a bed and a bathroom in the conference room. The only problem was that there was currently a seminar being conducted there.
We decided to have some dinner and wait.
A little after 10 pm the lecture finished up and we ambled and shambled our way down the drive to our room. There was a Murphy bed, (I have never slept in one, but I love the concept) and they rolled in a cot for Skye.
We had a very sound sleep.
We had to decide whether we wanted to hike down into the canyon or hike along the rim.
The plateau walk, the "easy" hike won.
Cape Final was a 4.0 mi (6.4 km) round-trip through the forest and then to the edge.
A little side trail took us off the path and gave us an amazing view.
When we got back on the actual trail, we went a little further and found an even more exquisite view of the canyon. As we continued along we would find ourselves at around half a dozen "end of the trail", until we went well beyond where the official trail ended and to the real Cape Final.
We still had time for one more "hike".
Not really a hike at all, but wow.
More incredible views and .....
A California Condor sighting.
I had read somewhere in my Grand Canyon research that California Condors had been reintroduced in the area.
I was a little confused. I had always thought that the California Condor was, well from California and I really didn't expect to see one while in Arizona.
We saw two and they were magnificent.
"Fossil evidence shows that condors have nested in the Grand Canyon area for
approximately 50,000 years. During the Pleistocene, when the canyon had a cooler
and wetter climate, the California condor scavenged carcasses of sloth, mammoth, and
horse. A once-flourishing bird, the California condor was almost gone by the 1980s when
there were fewer than two dozen left in the world. There are many reasons for their
decline, most involving human impacts. With this in mind, scientists have been working
to re-establish their presence in central California and northern Arizona." from the NPS brochure.
Skye was spinning in circles trying to get a good picture of them.
They swooped by, spread out their nine-foot wings and hopped onto a thermal that carried them far above us in a matter of seconds.
An incredible way to end an already awe-inspiring day.
So, so glad we left the hustle and bustle of the South Rim for the quiet desolation that is the North Rim.
Back to the Jacob Lake Inn where we would move into the room that I actually did reserve, to get a good night's sleep so we would be able to take on the "hard" hike down into the canyon itself.