Our last full day at the North Rim was designated for driving along a scenic road to take a look at various views of the canyon, including Point Imperial (the highest point on the North Rim) and Cape Royal. We got up around the same time as the day before and grabbed breakfast after a mostly restful (yet chilly) night. We weren’t quite in as much of a rush that day because we had the car with us and could take as little or as much time at each site as we wanted. While we got ready, the kids finished up their Junior Ranger booklets so we could hit up the Visitor Center later and get their badges.
I should note that the day before, the park had turned off water to the laundry and showers, so while we still had plenty of water to drink and wash dishes with, we hadn’t actually bathed in a few days. It was starting to get to me by this point (and likely no one else in our family…), but it was a “dry heat,” so it was bearable. Believe you me, had we been in Missouri without showers for that long, it would have been bad news.
Honestly, like much of the North Rim, many of the scenic views were similarly gorgeous, so I probably don’t need to recount them all here except to post a picture or two. There were a few more interesting spots to check out on this part of the trip, like a pueblo site with a self-guided tour that Meg and Brooke read through. It was nice to see the proverbial “wheels turning” in Meg’s head as she thought about lost cultures inhabiting this region, and Brooke getting to pull some anthropology knowledge out to impress her with.
Again, the views were spectacular and the kids could get a bit closer to the railing at some of these sites, which was a change from the day before. On the Widforss Trail, there were more trees and progressively shallow hills, but this section had steep rocky cliffs that were more desert-like.
The weather was a bit warmer that day, too, but still very nice. The clear, blue sky showed up in the pictures pretty well, and we had to keep an eye on sunburns. Speaking of which, it took us a bit to get used to the sun out in Arizona, as it was cool enough that we didn’t feel the burning sun on our skin as readily as we do in Missouri. The backs of our hands burned, which is not something we had expected.
We spent a few hours hitting the various scenic sections of the region and did lunch while we were up there. We probably spent more time at Cape Royal than anywhere else because it took a bit to walk to each point of it. Point Imperial is where we ate (they had a nice, shaded picnic area), and that was the last spot we hit. By this point, the kids were getting a little tired (and/or annoyed?) of getting in and out of the car, but they held it together remarkably well.
Part of the day involved bribing the kids with the reminder that “if we can get through this, we will go get your Junior Ranger badges and then go get ice cream,” and it worked for the most part. We stopped by the Visitor Center again and the kids turned in their books and said the oath to get their Junior Ranger badges. We’ve only got two so far (including Rocky Mountain National Park from 2016), so we’ll need to hit up some more parks in the next few years!
After we were done with that, we went back to the tent to hang out for a bit and read some books. Meg had finished the fourth “A Series of Unfortunate Events” book earlier that morning, so she was out of reading material, but Brooke had a Tony Hillerman book to read and I had fooled myself into bringing a book along, too (I actually made it about half-way through…so there!).
The evening was mostly uneventful, but we made friends with the neighboring family from Tucson that was there with their two kids for the week. Meg and Calvin played Hide and Seek for what felt like hours with them while we cleaned up dishes from dinner, then we joined them for some s’mores (on their propane stove because of the fire restrictions) and then we watched the sunset for awhile. It was nice to be neighborly with the other folks around the campsite (there was a couple from Kansas City there for a few nights, too)!