This post is late, but better late than never. This week (our third week) was awesome in more ways than one. The shortlist for this week was a couple more days at the North Rim, two days at Point Sublime, a visit in Flagstaff, and a great finish of the week in Santa Fe.
Summary highlights follow. I wish we could share it all…experiences, sites, and spectacular views.
North Rim -
We stayed three nights at the North Rim Campground. It rained most of the day on Saturday, but we were able to get out for a short bike ride before the rain moved in. We arrived back at the SMB just in time as we experienced what we hope was a once in a life time moment. A flash of light then BOOM!! We looked and there was a large plume of dust and the smell of burnt wood. It was a lightening strike! Let’s just say it was a close call. We experienced a lightening strike roughly 100 feet away from our campsite and us. Our site at the North Rim was just one camp road up from the rim sites. My wife wanted to book one of the rim sites, but they were already taken when we made the reservation in Jan/Feb. To our fortune, I am not sure what we would have experienced if we were sitting in the van at that moment at one of the rim sites. Good thing the campers occupying the two sites next to the tree strike were gone at the time. As you can see from the image here the burn area around the tree is quite large.
Grand Canyon – North Rim Campground
Grand Canyon – North Rim Lightening Strike
Point Sublime –
On Monday, we headed out the Point Sublime road. All I have to say is “awesome”. This is our element. Looking back on it, if we had known, we would book the entire North Rim stay at Point Sublime. We had the backcountry site(s) to ourselves with just a few day-trippers coming back each day while we were there. We had wonderful weather and spectacular views. My wife and I commented several times that we were glad we experienced the rain at the North Rim campground, so we could have the great weather at Point Sublime. The road out was sloppy and wet, but the SMB handled it great. I did not have to use the four-wheel drive at all driving to the point or back out.
Point Sublime – Meadow (The Basin)
Point Sublime – Crystal Canyon
Point Sublime – View at Point
Point Sublime – Campsite
Point Sublime – Sunset
Point Sublime – Campsite Relaxing
Vermillion Cliffs -
On Wednesday, we had to leave Point Sublime. We headed out a different way on Forest Service road W4. It was a nice drive out. My daughter went to a Ranger Program on the California Condor. We did not see any at the North Rim or Point Sublime. They say they are more numerous at the South Rim, but that you can often also see them at the Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon. So, we made a stop there as we headed to Flagstaff to see if we could get a glimpse of a California Condor. We did not. Maybe next time.
Vermillion Cliffs at Marble Canyon
After leaving the North Rim, we went to Flagstaff. We ate some great brick oven pizza at Beaver Street Brewery. We drove the most washboard gravel road I have ever been on up to Ashurst Campground south of Flagstaff and proceeded to turn-around and go back down to Pinegrove Campground by Lake Mary. Ashurst was scrubby, sunny, and dry while Pinegrove was in the pines with shade. We were glad we made that choice.
Flagstaff – Big / Little at Beaver Street Brewery
Flagstaff – Ashurst / San Francisco Peaks
Flagstaff – Pinegrove Campground
Flagstaff Meetup with JoeH -
As JoeH mentioned in his post, we met up at his house. A big “THANK YOU” for taking a half day to entertain us! My daughter fell in love with Cash, Joe’s dog. We loved your house and location. Plus, I am jealous that his house is just a short bike ride to some of the best trails in Flagstaff and some of the best trails I have ridden in the west. It was awesome!! Thanks JoeH for not kicking my butt too bad. Joe is a great downhiller with jumps and tricks!! ?
Titanium Bike Comparison
Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert –
We all enjoyed Flagstaff and hated to move on, but we needed to start making our way back east. We stopped at the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. We drove it from the south entrance to the north entrance. That worked out well as we could jump on I-40 east bound from there.
My Daughter and I at Petrified Forest
Lizard at Petrified Forest
SMB at Painted Desert
Santa Fe & Black Canyon –
We wanted to make a stop in Santa Fe on our way, so we took a jog to the north from Albuquerque to spend a couple of days there. Again, we all wished we could spend more time there. We will have to make a trip back. We took in the plaza while the Spanish Market was going on and we had dinner at the Shed. We camped at Black Canyon FS Campground. It was nice. We hiked up the Black Canyon trail and enjoyed the views once we were near the top.
Santa Fe Parking – near the Plaza
Black Canyon Trail – near the top