Driving the Narrow North Rim

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Scouting Our Adventure

Today’s trip to the North Rim with Jagger is turning out to be a scouting expedition. After showing our America the Beautiful Senior pass to the Ranger on guard at the entrance, we enter the park late in the morning.

It’s a mostly sunny day, however there is some wispy grey smoke from control burns in the area. After visiting with one of our hosts yesterday, I had a good idea of the major sight to visit. She gave us some park maps that she had made notes on and printed. But as we drive down the two lane, narrow paved road we pass many other viewpoint opportunities not recommended by our host. I wonder what we are missing? I also wonder what it would look like during a different time of day? The shadows on the cliffs change so quickly and some of our pictures have such contrast that the shadows appear like ink stains running down the steep mountain cliffs. Maybe we should visit at sunset or at night?

Turn Outs Were Mostly Empty

There are a lot less visitors here than I’ve seen at the Grand Canyon South Rim. I’ve been there several times with my family over the years. More Photos: Grand Canyon Visit 2012.

The two lane road is very narrow and has many unexpected turns. Also there aren’t any tour buses here like the ones you are required to take at South Rim due to the large crowd of visitors.

At times we are driving the Workhorse along the top of steep canyon walls with breathtaking views. In some places there’s not even any barriers so I need to pay close attention to my driving. Other than the major viewpoints, there’s not many places to pull off the road, no shoulder and it’s a long way down to the bottom! So I miss some sights, but it’s better to be safe.

Making a Trip Change

After stopping at a few of major viewpoints, getting out for a short walk and to take some pictures, I return and say, “We are definitely coming back here, Jagger! I don’t want to be rushed!” This place is beautiful. The views seem to pull you in, but I’m unable to reproduce that here in photos. It’s just not the same.

We continue driving, checkin’ out the main points of interest that our host has marked on the map. Before reaching the end of the park we make a u-turn and go back to our camp.


Once back at camp, I’m relaxing and reviewing the day in my head. “Today is starting to become typical or routine”, I tell Jagger, since nobody else is within ear shot. “I’m traveling too fast and need to slow down, way down. You would think taking almost a full month to travel 1,100 miles, that I could easily drive in two days or fly in four hours, would be plenty slow.”

There are so many things that Jagger and I have never seen. I find myself staying too long in some places and not long enough in others. Of course it doesn’t help when you make reservations to be in places on specific dates, which I do most of the time. Anyway, Jagger and I plug along, learning along the way. “The next trip to Winter Camp, we’re taking two months, maybe more”, I wonder if it’s never enough, I think to myself.


This evening I meet several new people in our campground, but I don’t take out my mobile phone and make a note in my Evernote app. By the time I get back to our camp I forget their names.

One of the special times of day that I enjoy during my vagabond lifestyle, is relaxing outside with Jagger after our meal and chores are done. The Sun is low in the sky, it’s a warm evening, life is good. I sit back in my lounge chair and dream of our next visit to the Rim tomorrow.

Safe travels…Gary and Jagger

More Photos: North Rim of the Grand Canyon NP

Campground Review: Jacobs Lake

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2 Comments

  1. janessacrosthwaite January 12, 2017 Reply
    • RetiredVagabond January 12, 2017 Reply

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