We packed up our lunch leftovers and headed off on the 89. The 89 winds it’s way through
Kanab. The movie The Outlaw Josey Wells was filmed here… part of the set still exists in town. In Kanab we get on the 11 toward Fredonia, Arizona. In Fredonia, we pick up ALT 89 to Jacob Lake. The drive to Jacob Lake is about 55 miles on a two lane road through the middle of nowhere that also happens to be beautiful!
Along the way we stop to take pictures as well as a mini hike. We are, however, in a hurry. The clouds are getting grayer and darker. We can see the rain in the distance. I have my raingear with me but do not relish riding in the rain. I hope we can get to our cabin before we get wet!
Jacob Lake is the gateway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. At Jacob Lake there is an Inn that has been around since 1923… founded by the Bowman family. The inn has a gas station, a small grocery store, restaurant, bakery and gift shop. We stopped for a little while… gassed up, grabbed some pastries and beer for the cabin. The gift shop is full of great items. The Native American collection of jewelry, weavings, pottery and artwork is pretty amazing. The proprietors are very knowlegeable about their wares and have established relationships with many of the artists… some of the artists are internationally known. The Kaibab Plateau Visitor center is also located in Jacob Lake.
The elevation gain to Jacob Lake (elev 7900 ft) is enough that Sue and I have to stop and put on more warm layers… it’s getting colder… and darker!! The drive from Jacob Lake to the North Rim is roughly 45 miles on SR67. I made sure to put my rain gear on the top of my saddlebag in case I need to pull over and put it on. I am glad I did!! We ended up driving through a few showers and a deluge or two.
We left Jacob Lake and started toward the Grand Canyon. The road is two lanes and travels through the Kaibab National Forest. Ponderosa pines and Aspen trees line the road for quite sometime and then open up to a large alpine meadow. Along the way, we notice many large lifted pick up trucks parked on the side of the road. Upon further inspection, I notice people in camouflage walking around. Apparently, it is hunting season. While we were stopped taking in the view, some hunters were parked across the road from us. We chatted across the road with them. I think they liked seeing four women travelling by themselves.
We finally arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park entrance kiosk. After a short wait, we pay and collect the “newspaper” (The Guide) the ranger hands us. The sun is really starting to go down now and it’s getting colder. The road winds it way into the park. We travel through Aspen tree lined ravines and descend gradually through the park, finally ending at the Grand Canyon Lodge.