I’m sure I sound like a broken record now, but I gotta say it. The drive from Zion to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was just amazing. The diversity of the landscape was spectacular. From red rock to national forests to desert plains and back to national forest only to be dumped on the top of more red rock canyons again…..seriously, it’s just amazing!
The last big leg of our adventure was the North Rim. We were hoping to luck out and get a backcountry pass to Point Sublime, which we did and made our day. I know, prior planning 6 months out would have ensured we got a reserved spot, but we didn’t even know if we could make this trip until 2 months out. Anyways, we got our pass.
We knew the trail was approximately 18 miles long, but what we didn’t know until the ranger told us was that a series of storms (many of which we had seen during the previous days) had really eroded the trail. The ranger even made a visual inspection of our rig to make sure we had the capability to make it up there. (Apparently he wouldn’t take my word for it. Something about never seeing a lifted/modded Trailblazer before). He was still skeptical about our clearance, but told us to be careful and sent us on our way. Mike had the foresight to ask about any trees being down on the trail. We were told that we should be good, but if there was, to come back and let them know. See, the night before we had discovered the axe we had brought along was rather dull and useless, so we’d be pretty SOL if we had to cut wood.
It was for this reason that we decided to head up the trail shortly after visiting the gift shop to get my decal. As someone who absolutely abhorred stickers on her rig, I figured the stickers on the Trailblazer were sort of like trophies to prove she conquered the trails well. Except for Zion, but that’s just because the name “Zion” is so cool. Anyway….
We aired down at the trailhead, much to the bewilderment of hikers parking their Outbacks, and started out.
The trail itself is pretty tame for the first 4 miles or so as you pass through some woods and open areas along twin tracks.
And this was boring for Mike.
So when we came up to a part of the trail that was broken up by 7 different, deep looking puddles, he punched it.
Skid plate to the rescue!
Seriously. If I didn’t have such healthy teeth and bones I’m sure I would have broken something. Apparently some knuckleheads had gotten themselves stuck at some point and the water had covered the evidence of their trials. We found them though, and I’m pretty sure the only reason we got out was the momentum of the vehicle forced us out. We had a good chuckle at the mud stuck in the holes in our radiator skid.
Not to long after the trail left the flat, open areas and began to follow along the rim of the canyon. The rain had washed a good chunk of dirt away, leaving a lot of rock exposed that would slip and shift in the soft mud under the traction of the Trailblazer. It made for a pretty fun drive, but I gotta be honest, I’ve been a REALLY great wife up until now, and I wanted to drive dangit! I haven’t driven since Canyonlands!!
But the scenery was still beautiful and worth a few stops to explore!
We even “passed” (read: climbed up off the trail just enough to let them by since they wouldn’t budge) oversized, overdone show Jeep that was suspiciously covered in mud spatter…..
And this is the other reason I wish we had a GoPro. While climbing up a hill, we both caught a glimpse of a very large, very tan cat with a very long tail dart across the trail before disappearing into the woods. Suddenly I was very glad with had a few guns locked away in the back. Really wish I had gotten a picture though!
We arrived at the campsite and explored a bit, enjoying the view from Point Sublime.
However, it was only 2 in the afternoon, and Mike didn’t feel like sitting around camp for the rest of the day. There aren’t many trails to hike at Point Sublime either, just lots of air on 3 sides of the immediate area. The drive into the campsite itself traverses a ridge that at its narrowest was less than twice the width of the Trailblazer. Space was really at a premium up here, as we would discover later that day.However we were also low on supplies for food. So we headed back down the trail to hit up the small convenience store just outside the park. And guess what? I got to drive, finally! Happy day!
About 2 hours later, on the way back to our campsite, we came across these guys.
Back at our campsite, we came across an old Dodge diesel with an old camper on the bed. It was a family of 4, young couple with two kids around 2 and 5. They also had a mutt, and they were the best campsite buddies you could ask for. We had some great conversations about our travels and the trails while we cooked dinners and enjoyed the sunset. We even scared away a fancy looking Nissan Armada and the French owners who didn’t understand the concept that just because you have 4×4 doesn’t mean YOU have the skill/capability to hit the trails.
The sunset was absolutely gorgeous.
This was the view from our tent.
It was a bittersweet end to our adventures. We weren’t looking forward to starting the journey home the next day.