“Unexpected” is the word that comes to mind when I remember our visit to the Grand Canyon’s north rim. We left hot, dry Springdale in the morning, drove through a tunnel under a mountain on our way out of Zion Canyon, and wound our way through patterned mesas of Navajo sandstone to a flatter, high desert landscape. It began to rain, and the rest of our drive became progressively less and less hot and dry. Heading into Arizona, this is the opposite of what we expected. We entered the Kaibab National Forest and were soon cruising through endless misty groves of fir and spruce, broken only by barren, ghostly patches that fire had consumed, broken stumps scarred dark with soot and char. As we approached the border of the park, the temperature dropped into the 40s and stands of aspen lined wide green meadows alongside the road. This was so not where we pictured the Grand Canyon being.
As the alpine landscape continued, signs telling us to watch for buffalo in the road were amusing and surprising (we were very disappointed not to see any). By the time we reached the park, we were over 8000 feet above sea level. No wonder it was so cold. The rain let up when we walked along the rim, and we even saw a rainbow. The delicate flora lining the canyon captivated my eye and the immense void before us was magnetic. Words really fail to describe what my pictures cannot even do justice. All we could do was laugh at the absurdity of this chasm and the unlikelihood of it being so deep in the cold, rainy forest.