Before leaving Kanab this morning I looked at the radar to see what the weather situation was going to be for the day. Sure enough, several pockets of rain were heading north from Arizona. The largest and most intense areas of rain appeared as though they would pass by to the west, probably hitting Zion National Park later in the morning. Another, smaller area looked like it would pass by to the east, probably hitting Grand Staircase – Escalade National Monument later in the morning. So I decided to head towards the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which was my primary goal for the day anyway.
And before I left town I treated my car windows with Rain-X and installed a new set of wiper blades. Today would be the most significant daytime rain I would experience since leaving Durham on July 5! It had rained some that day when I got to Tennessee, and it rained some at night while I was in South Dakota and Montana, but it has basically been bone dry since then. Sometimes rain was forecast for the area I was in but I was elsewhere when it hit since I move around alot. Out here in the west you can often see where it is raining nearby but it may be sunny where you are.
When my preparations were complete (including a stop at a local grocery store for Gatorade, a sandwich and cole slaw for lunch and a few other items) I set off for the Grand Canyon! I drove south on Route 89A and soon crossed into Arizona. I drove for about an hour until I reached Jacob Lake, where I had to make a decision whether to commit to the Canyon and keep going straight on Route 67, or turn east and stay on Route 89A and make a big counterclockwise loop to see things to the east. I no longer had access to radar so I trusted my eyes and continued towards the Canyon. I could always retreat if things got out of hand.
Both roads (89A and 67) were very pleasant rides, through a variety of terrains. There was very little traffic, and I stopped frequently to take in the sights, shoot some photos with both cameras (mostly the digital, which you’ll see some of eventually) and look for critters. It wasn’t all that far to get to the Canyon entrance but it took a while with all the stops I made.
I am accumulating more pictures like the one above for my “Go play in the street” series….
This native plant thinks it will grow up to be a Saguaro cactus.
Shortly after I passed through the entrance to the Park (The Grand Canyon is a National Park, by the way) a huge bolt of lightning hit a ways up the road ahead of me, followed quickly by a loud rumble of thunder. That means six more weeks of summer, right??
It rained hard, briefly, then slacked off to a gentle, steady rain until I got to the Visitor Center. I had forgotten that Arizona doesn’t play the Daylight Savings Time game so that meant I had a bonus hour to spend (well not really, until I went to Arizona and stayed there, which I will in a few days).
It continued to rain lightly, off and on, for about an hour after I arrived. I went in the various buildings and took some initial pictures (I’ll post pictures of the Lodge itself in the future). While waiting out the rain I went back to the dry comfort of my car (and I lucked out by getting rock star parking) and enjoyed my picnic lunch which I bought before leaving Kanab.
Now, on with the show. I know you are anxious to see pictures of the Canyon….