Camping at the North Rim (and NOT California)

I have so much to post about, I feel a wee bit overwhelmed.  I’m the sort who likes to do it right or not do it at all, and that, frankly, is not an entirely helpful outlook on life, because too many times, I assess a situation, big or small, and predetermine that I won’t be able to do it right or well, or excel in it, so I don’t even start.  How this affects blogging is that I know that, in the past, I’ve posted part one of what is supposed to be a fabulous series, and then it ends with part one;  I just never get back to the rest of it.  So, here I’m faced with a mass amount of information and pictures I want to share, knowing I can’t do it all in one sitting, but unsure of my ability/availability to do a proper series.


Thus ends the Therapy and Disclaimers Section of this blog post.

On to the real thing, which is hopefully part one of several.

We just got back from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, where we camped at the De Motte Campground on USFS land, just north of the North Rim, for nine nights.  That wasn’t quite our initial plan;  we were going to go to Limekiln State Park in the Big Sur area of California’s Central Coast, as well.  But, we had truck trouble.  It turned out to be REALLY minor, but at the time, we weren’t sure what was going on with our vehicle, and didn’t want to risk driving across the Mojave Desert with an unreliable vehicle.

On Saturday, July 2nd, we took the beautiful but arduous drive to Point Sublime — an 18 mile trip that took a full two hours to drive, due to the really rough roads.  It was gorgeous.  But, on the way back, the truck kept losing power…  With a lot of help from a Samaritan camper named Don from Kamloops, British Columbia, and a number of the employees of the Kaibab Lodge, my husband Martin narrowed the problem down to the catalytic converter.  The frustrating part with that was that we had JUST gotten that part replaced before our trip.  All the advisers suggested that Martin beat the bejeebers out of the catalytic converter with a rubber mallet in order to break up the honeycomb material inside, so that the exhaust would pass through unhindered — essentially rendering it useless as a filtering system but theoretically enabling us to drive.  Well, as he pounded, Martin heard a “ting! ting! ting!” and it turned out that a little plug, which had been spot-welded in place, had come loose.  This plug took the place of where a second sensor would be, if we had a larger vehicle.  In other words, it was a completely vestigial part of the truck.  But, because it was loose, the engine wouldn’t work.  Martin borrowed an Allen wrench (metric!  Since when are domestic vehicles using metric sizing??) and tightened up the plug.  Because of Sunday (when small towns are shut down) and Monday (the 4th of July), we had to wait until Tuesday to drive into Kanab, Utah, which was a 67-mile jaunt to the closest reliable vehicle repair shop.  They ran a diagnostic, discovered that our catalytic converter was working admirably (despite the beating it had undergone), but that, indeed, the plug needed attention.  They spent about two minutes welding it back into place, and sent us on our merry way.

Thus ends the Car Trouble Section of this post.

We plan on going to Limekiln next summer, and staying longer, to make up for my disappointment.  I’m mostly OK with the deferment, but trying to explain “next summer” to a 5 year-old girl doesn’t work;  you may as well tell her she’s going to have to wait until she’s 70.  Still, everyone handled the hiccup in our plans mostly with grace.

My mother-in-law works at the Kaibab Lodge, which is in the Kaibab National Forest, directly adjacent to the De Motte Campground, so we got to spend LOTS of time with her, which was wonderful.  Plus, the kids got to stay overnight in her RV many nights, instead of our tent, which was enjoyed by grandma and grandkids alike.

Most of the places we went were off of back roads.  The North Rim, due to its remote access, has only 1/10 of the number of people who visit the South Rim.  Due to our hermit-like natures (Not really.  Well, not entirely.), we decided to hit all the dirt roads and byways…  Most spots we visited had only one or two other vehicles present, if any.  Armed with a stupid-expensive Kaibab Forest map and 4WD, in one day, we visited Parissawampitts Point, Crazy Jug Point, North Timp Point, Timp Point, Locust Point, and ended the day with a sunset over Fire Point.  All that, and we didn’t feel rushed, and didn’t feel that we had had quite enough of the Canyon.  It’s so majestic, so splendid, so… grand… that each new view affords something dynamic and beautiful in a unique way.  Each spot, except for Fire Point, requires a wee bit of hiking — from a couple of hundred feet, to a quarter mile or so.

My faves were Crazy Jug and Fire Point.

In each pic, even if it appears that my children are about to topple off of the edge, and you’re questioning my motherhood responsibility, please know that all (or almost all) of the point overlooks have multiple “layers”, so if anyone would have dropped over the edge, they would have fallen only three feet, or perhaps five.  I didn’t let anyone get too close to anything that would have led to their death.  😀  Still, these backroads views are WAY better than the ones available off of the paved roads, with possible exception of Point Imperial.

Still, my favorite part of the whole trip was not actually at the Grand Canyon proper.  More on that later.  I hope.

Audrey, delighting in the abundance of Sego Lilies. And, since we were in the Kaibab Forest here, and not actually in Grand Canyon National Park, it was not illegal to pick them. So there. Pick away, Audrey!! Our picnic table was continually graced with Sego Lilies, Indian Paintbrush, various daisy-type flowers on unknown variety, lupines... Lovely.


Ethan, contemplating the vast view from Crazy Jug viewpoint.


Ethan, Grandma Detta, Audrey, and Grant at Crazy Jug

Fiala and me at Crazy Jug Point.

My handsome hubby and his mom, at Crazy Jug.

The view from... either Timp Point or North Timp Point. When you're there, you think you're never forget where *this* view was taken... but when one is faced with 430 pics from a camping trip, the certainty is reduced to pretty much nothing.

Sweet Fi at Timp Point

Audrey, at Locust Point (I think). You may be wishing for more scenic pics and fewer of my children. But, a) I think my kids are darling, and b) my camera isn't of such magnificent quality to catch the depth, beauty, and color of the Canyon, and c) the days were just a tad hazy, so all the long view shots are a bit disappointing.

Ethan, contemplative again, at Locust Point. It's the hat. His hat led to a lot of rear-view "Contemplative Young Man" shots.

Many of the trails at the various points were similar to this: Brushy and flower-strewn, which then opened up to a grand view. There's such a variety of flora at the North Rim -- It's high in elevation (around 8,000 feet), with a fair bit of rain, so much of it is alpine -- with aspens and fir, but some of the points are so windy and exposed, and the soil is so poor, the landscape and plants are more desert-like. Quite amazing.

This shot was Ethan's idea. Again with the hat. In shadow.

Martin, holding Audrey, looking off into the hazy beauty. We found out later that the wisp of smoke we saw to the left of us (the east) in this picture developed into a full-blown fire. Last I heard, it was "only" 12 acres... Hope they got that under control...

And that’s it, for now.  Out of time.  Hope you enjoyed.  🙂  Next up:  Sunset at Fire Point.



About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on July 11, 2011, in Arizona, Family, Loving Nature!, Summer Plans, The Dear Hubby, The Kids, Travelling. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Oh I love the pictures! My second favorite part of the post was your disclaimer. I have to admit that I am very much the same way and even said that same this this week. “If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all.” The problem is the older I get, the less I get right (ha) maybe it’s just that I’m actually beginning to learn I’m not as right as I once thought. 🙂

  2. Becky Starkweather

    Thanks for sharing your cute pictures of the kids! We don’t get to go places as a family due to work schedule. 😦 So I live through all of you who do get to go places and then share pictures!! 🙂

  3. Nice pictures! SUCH an unfamiliar landscape to me, so it’s neat to see non-National Geographic-type pictures (do you know what I mean?? haha…) of the Grand Canyon. I like how the shadow picture of Ethan just happens to look like Ethan’s left shadow hand is holding a rock. 🙂 I hope to go camping at Lake Superior National Park later on this summer. It’s going to be the first camping trip I’ve taken in years, and the first time I’ve ever camped with toddlers. Two of them. Yikes!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: