Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grand Canyon, North Rim 2014

A wonderful trip to a beautiful place.  Yes, it was a long haul...about 9 hours from North Ogden, including breaks.  We reserved the horse camping again.  Apparently, it isn't used very much at all.  The ranger said maybe 3 or 4 times at most last year.  We were the first this year.  The fees are reasonable.  It cost us $10 for the permit and $5 per night for camping for a  total of $35. The park service recommends no vehicles longer than 30 feet, but our long bed truck and 3 horse slant had no problem.  I think a 3 horse with LQ would do fine. There is potable water and a large water tank for the horses in their corral.  We drove 2 miles to the "people" campground for showers.  ($1.50 for 6 minutes).  There is free Wi-Fi and $1.25 ice cream cones at the campground store and 3G cell service at the Lodge on the rim.  Our camp was secluded and comfortable.  We saw a couple of flies and maybe one mosquito.  The rest rooms left something to be desired.  Last year, they were great.  This year, it looked like they hadn't been serviced for a while.  There was toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but one of them was infested with black widow spiders.  Beware!  (I guess that's what we get for cut rate prices.  The people campground prices are $25 a night).  Here is the link to more information on reserving this campground.

Here is a link to last year's post with additional trail photos and information.:
Remember to click on a photo for enlarged images.  I also made an 8 minute video on You Tube.

Bison are not only in Yellowstone...They roam the meadows near the North Rim.  They are not appreciated because they really trample the fragile habitat.

Our camp. Photo by Teisha Preece. 

We were fortunate enough to have several sightings of the rare Kaibab squirrel--found only in 40 square miles on the North Rim. It's feature is the snowy white tail.

The horses' digs...

Rim view of Roaring Springs canyon...about 100 yards from our campsite.

Rim view of Roaring Springs canyon...about 100 yards from our campsite.

Heading out to the trails from our camp.  This way is to either the Uncle Jim or Ken Patrick.

Uncle Jim Trail--total distance ridden=5.28 miles; Min altitude=8,176', Max altitude=8,503';  Ascent/descent=900 ft.  Trail conditions=65% dirt, 35% rocky.  Thorny locust factor=15%.
We were able to ride out this trail from our camp.  There are occasional mule rides on this trail...just have to yield and stay way out of their way.

Point Imperial Trail (including partial rim ride on Ken Patrick)= 7.14 miles.  Min Altitude=8,652', Max altitude=8, 918'.  Ascent/descent=500 ft.  Trail conditions=75% dirt, 25% rocky; Thorny locust factor=15%

We had to trailer to this trailhead.  It takes about 30 minutes from the campsite, but well worth it.
We began on a portion of the Ken Patrick that goes right along the rim at Point Imperial.  We stopped just before the "hellish" portion that gave us so much grief last year.

New trail for this year....heading north from the Point Imperial parking lot.

This shot is of a road in the Saddle Mountain Wilderness area on the way to the Nankoweap trailhead, just outside of Park boundaries.

Nankoweap trailhead with expansive views of the canyon.

A good portion of the Point Imperial trail was through forest like this.

Ken Patrick Trail:  Total distance ridden=7.43 mi; Min altitude=8,236', Max altitude=8,574'.  Ascent/descent=1,050 ft; Trail conditions, 75% dirt, grass; 25% rocky; Thorny locust factor=less than 10%
This year we continued further on the beautiful forest ride on the Ken Patrick trail.  This trail is so little used that we appeared to be the first travelers this year other than park personnel who keep the trail cleared of downed timber.  This is another trail, accessible from the camp site.
Photo by Teisha Preece. 

Photo by Teisha Preece. 

An interesting ride through burned forest.

We rode to the overlook at the Old Bright Angel Trail.  Very secluded and spectacular scenery.

Bridle Trail/Arizona Trail combined, total mileage 7.78.  Minimum altitude=7,973, Maximum altitude=8,402.  My GPS said Ascent/descent=1,360 ft, but I am sure that is way wrong. Probably about 500 ft.  Trail conditions:  Bridle Path=98% dirt, 2% road/rock; Thorny locust=0% Arizona Trail=50% dirt/meadow, 50% rock/gravel; Thorny locust=2%.
For our last day, we wanted to do the Widforss Trail, but it is closed to horses.  So, we opted for the Bridle Path, which winds its way from the Kaibab trailhead to the North Rim Lodge.  Lovely trail, soft dirt. Recommended and accessible from the camp site.

When through with the Bridle Path, we rode on the Arizona Trail, which angles down from the Kaibab Trailhead.  

The Arizona trail reaches Harvey Meadow after a mile.

Then, the Widforss Trailhead.  No horses allowed.

Lovely lunch spot about 1/2 mile north of the Widforss trailhead on the road out to Point Sublime.  
Photo by Teisha Preece. 

One of the "downsides" to some of these trails is the prevalence of Thorny Locust.  The flowers are pretty, but the thorns are nasty.

Our great meal at the lodge.  Food and service were spectacular!  Photo by Teisha Preece.