Grand Canyon North Rim & Rainbow Rim Trail

It was with great pleasure that I awoke to a lack of sound from the wind chimes – things were a lot calmer than yesterday.  We left town by 8.30 & headed west back into Utah briefly before dropping south back into Arizona & towards Grand Canyon North Rim.  Once we hit the small town of Fredonia I was back on roads I’d traveled before – the first time since Bragg Creek almost four weeks ago.  After a brief stop at Jacob Lake for me to get a forest road map & Valerie to buy more souvenirs, we were driving through the Kaibab Meadows.  It must have been cold there last night – there was still some fresh snow that hadn’t melted just yet, seems I can’t get away from the stuff.  With the long winter, all the spring growth was not completed & the meadows weren’t quite as pretty as last time I drove through – but they are a still a magnificent sight.

We didn’t stop too long at the rim, maybe an hour, to get a good view of various parts of the canyon.  The sky was wonderfully clear all the way down to the horizon & this enabled us to see some of the mountains a hundred-odd kilometres away – I don’t think I saw these last time.

We drove out of the park & soon after turned onto Forest Development Road 22, continuing on for about 22 miles & 40 minutes to the Parissawampitts (I don’t know how to pronounce it either – I prefer Paris-saw-armpits) trailhead so I could get a ride in.

I was most excited to be riding along the rim of the Grand Canyon on good singletrack.  The trail in its entirety is almost 29 km to the Timp trailhead.  It forms a sawtooth route (roughly) to keep on a reasonably similar level by following all the little side canyons in & out.

This was a great fun trail – I would grade the trail itself as beginner-intermediate level, but at the higher end of that due to the length & elevation (all between 2260 & 2270 m).  The start of it is rocky, but later on it’s mostly dirt.  You do spend a lot of time in the trees, but every so often you get a glimpse of the canyon & then all of a sudden there is a magnificent view that you can be sure not many other people ever see.  I had heard that there’s not much climbing, but there is a bit (apparently I did almost 600 metres all up) – but it’s all pretty easy (middle ring the whole time, & mostly in a small cog).  Despite having been up in the mountains for over a year, I was a just little shorter of breath than normal.  The last eight or so kilometres is great fun as it only has one decent climb in it & you can let it rip on the flatter sections.  I saw quite a few deer, some beautiful birds & flutterbys (the bright yellow ones were the best) & something that may have been a marmot. Only hitch of the ride was losing the seal on my tubeless rear tire – a bit of rest while I had to go back to a tube.  Unfortunately the smog rolled in from California & obscured the view a little in haze.

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