Kanab and North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Kanab is another one of those cool border towns for the National Parks. A place people move to after having traveled through the area at some point or another. It’s a fairly small, but there are quite a few awesome little restaurants that remind me of my beloved Coral Gables home in Florida. Unfortunately, these are also places that charge $12 for a side of Brussel sprouts.
For one evening, I pretended I was back in my hometown and enjoyed an expensive cocktail and dinner at one of these roadside eateries, Rocking V, sharing a conversation with a gentleman who was doing the same. He was a retired doctor from Canada who sounded like he was going through a mid-life crisis, racing his crotch-rocket down to Mexico. He made it clear he was interested in high speeds and didn’t have much fear of the road. It was the kind of awkward conversation that I wouldn’t have stuck around for under normal circumstances, but it was the first time in quite a while that I enjoyed a nice dinner with someone else. I would learn throughout this trip, that dinner with strangers can be exciting, informative little snapshots into other people’s realities.
My hosts at the Airbnb spent almost 45 minutes telling me about the interesting places I needed to visit nearby. I mentioned I wanted to see the Grand Canyon so when I left they pointed me in the right direction and told me about two other places I must see along the way. Looking at the timing I realized it would take too long to go to all of these spots because I still had no clue where I would be staying overnight; so I decided to skip these for now. I have added Paria, Toadstools, Glen Canyon Dam and Buckskin Gulch to the list of places to come back to see and explore.
It was hard to leave my Airbnb, where I felt so cozy and welcomed, but I said goodbye to their pet donkeys and set out on the next leg of my adventure. They were some of the best hosts I have stayed with and I would definitely recommend their Airbnb home if you are in their neck of the woods - which you should be at some point in your life.
The approach to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon started to look more and more forested as I got closer. A stark contrast from the dust bowl appearance of Kanab and the surrounding areas. It’s amazing how different the landscape can change in such a short distance.
Inside the park, you travel for quite a distance before you approach the lodge. It was very resortish with the Welcome Center seeming to be a last minute thought. My first site of the Grand Canyon was through the rustic lodge’s window- large wooden beams highlighted the natural beauty of the place in a way that you imagine Roosevelt himself to be ushering you to view. I wished I could join the other guests in lounging around the fireside, dining at the patio restaurant and not have to worry about finding a place to sleep for the night. I searched one last time to see if there was a reasonably priced room but the lodge was by far out of my budget, even factoring in the sublime beauty and convenience. I would love to come back on a better-planned adventure and stay or eve camp.
The site from the lodge was such a striking view that I could have just sat on the couch for hours looking at it, but I decided to immerse myself on the short trail that went out to another overlook. It was only a 15-minute walk round trip, but I took 45 minutes to explore and absorb the staggering view before heading back to my car. The canyon itself provides an enormous amount of scientific data with exposed formations that were created 500 million years ago and having been carved in the last 70 million years. If these numbers make you say, “Wha”, they definitely should and the sight itself will humble and render you speechless. National Geographic Society(2016). Guide To National Parks of the United States (8th Edition). Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.
At this point, the only way to get anywhere was to do some serious backtracking. There is no bridge over the Grand Canyon (thank God), so I headed out of the park the same way that I went in. Fortunately, the drive was beautiful.
From here I could have gone to Paige or Flagstaff for the night. Being Labor Day weekend, I knew that Paige would be busy, and Flagstaff would seriously take me out of the way. It also wasn’t known for its beautiful outdoor features – however, it would be less time spent on the road.
The landscape turned into a dustbowl once again. I passed through a couple of teeny towns before I made it to the outskirts of Paige and traffic started to back-up. My hosts from Kanab told me about Horseshoe Bend - it was about an hour hike and very crowded. I decided to add it to my bucket list and moved on to find a campground at a large reservoir on Labor Day weekend...