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Old 10-04-2018, 11:44 AM   #1
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A Night at Point Sublime

Man I should be doing some more trip reports. I do like reading others. Well I retired from my first career in the spring and now have some time to trip and report.







Point Sublime is down a 16 mile dirt road inside the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I went there in the middle of May not knowing if the road had been opened and cleared of fallen trees. I pulled in the park and got to the Ranger Station at nine o'clock to inquire. I asked the ranger if the road had been opened, and he said it had. That morning, and he hadn't time to publicize it yet. I waited for him to help the couple in front of me, and got one of only two permits to camp there overnight. He gave me the run down. And a choice of how I wanted to get there. One way was to leave the park, and take some forest service roads, past Fire Point and onward. That was in excess of 30 miles but an easier stretch. The other road left from close to the ranger station, but was much more adventurous. That was his way of saying f'd up, as I was about to find out.






The road was pretty nice for first couple of miles, and I thought it would be a piece of cake. It soon narrowed down to a double track, and the trees began to close in. The trail wove it's way down through drainages and back out to the top of the mesas. Squeezing between rocks, branches, downed trees over rock steps and piles, exposed roots and gulley wash-outs. With lunch and a stop at the overlook the trip took four hours. For only sixteen miles. The math indicates about four miles an hour.



The last stretch was the most adventurous, ahem, rough. I started to hear some interesting noises of rocks hitting the tail pipe. As I approached the end of the road it definitely turned into a dragging pinging not good sound.





The tail pipe had separated from the muffler, fallen off it's hangars and was dragging the last half mile. Well crap. My M.O. for situations like these seem to always begin with a beer. Besides I had to wait for it to cool down before I could do anything about it. And beer has the way of putting things in perspective. Like, at least, I have it... perspective. And I was there. Phew.


Next up...Bailing wire. Lots of it. Always bring bailing wire. A lesson I learned from my days campervanning in a 76 Westy. I put the tailpipe on what was left of some of the hangars and bailing wired the rest.









I spent the rest of the evening making images, and into the night and next morning. There was a very bright moon that night, which extended my viewing pleasure.







Dawn of a new day.





The next morning I drove out the long way. It was still rough up until Fire Point, then smoothed out a little. I was going to go to the Rainbow Rim but was kind of longing for pavement. I camped that night off of FR22 in the aspens. I inspected the vehicle for more damage. One of the strings in the shades broke, the pop top latch fell apart, I had a crack in one of the shock mounts, and by the time I got home a new oil leak. And as I found out later at the muffler shop a crack in the manifold.



Boy adventure sure has it's price. Or is that priceless.....


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Old 10-04-2018, 12:12 PM   #2
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Great trip report.

Clearly you were driving too fast. Perhaps only 3.5mph next time?
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for the trip report!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pritikin View Post
Clearly you were driving too fast. Perhaps only 3.5mph next time?
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:16 PM   #4
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Sounds like a great trip despite the issues. Excellent report. I still haven’t made that trip yet. Thanks for posting.
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:07 PM   #5
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All in all, sounds like you had a great time. Besides the Fun & Experiences, "Adventure" has always included the need to navigate disagreeable circumstances. Its how you approach the situation that reveals one's commitment to continue - On numerous occasions BEER was my first resolve as well !
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:59 PM   #6
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Nice report. I would love to stay at point sublime some day. Did you need 4wd to make it out there or could it be done with 2wd and some clearance?
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Old 10-04-2018, 05:25 PM   #7
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^^ Oh no, if I remember right Point Sublime is one of the ones you can only do with a pretty capable 4wd. We stayed clear of it this past summer because the rangers told us even some 4x4's can't make it.

Wade, great pics! Thanks for sharing. Sounds like an adventure. We love the North Rim as well and the crowds don't so we'll always be back there.

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Old 10-04-2018, 06:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for commenting! It was fun, but a nail biter for sure. And I was by myself. There were other people out there, day tripping, though. The first guy I saw had a BMW dirt bike, another couple had a 4WD F150, and the last couple had a Jeep Grand Cherokee rental. The Jeep people were complaining how rough the road was and they came the easy way.



The Ranger asked me what vehicle I had, and I pointed out the window. He said I'd be fine...


Seriously if you take the Basin Road from inside the park I couldn't imagine making it without 4WD and high clearance, especially if there were any rain. A Subaru would still be looking for their oil pan. The other way, maybe just high clearance, and throw in a rear posi for good measure.


I dug up the map which shows the routes. You can see the yellow markings indicating each drainage you go through on the Basin Road route. You're basically driving down into each drainage of the Grand Canyon's points.





If I had a EB, high top, or a big Sprinter, I might get into trouble. Some of the trees, tight turns and steep approach angles might cause some body damage.



Here's a pic of the road, the easy part. An appropriate place to take a leak.






And the final campsite off of FR22, somewhere.


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Old 10-04-2018, 06:16 PM   #9
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man, what an amazing spot, absolutely beautiful!! thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-05-2018, 09:27 AM   #10
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Love it! We were there in mid-May for a one nighter and had the place to ourselves. Took the long way in and out and signage at the start off Fire Point Road is lacking. We ended up on NW-4 due to lack of signs but figured it out pretty quick. The other permit holder never showed up so that was awesome. If it matters, we had 3 bars of cell service at the point so my wife could do some work after the sun set. Rangers told us that even NPS staff go the long way around.
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