Our first destination was Crazy Jug Point on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The back roads on the north rim are many while the visitors are few. The view from our campsite at the North Rim extended into the Grand Canyon, giving us a view a grand view into a small portion of the huge grand canyon. This allowed us to peer into the canyon while we camped. We played a variety of board games on an old folding table. The interesting thing about this old folding table is that the seats fold into the table and it all folds up into the shape of a briefcase.
Somehow this ancient old table held all 4 of us while we played a variety of games on top of it. The table is anything but flat as it has been used for over 30 years and my dad bought it used back then.
Our camping party of 4 consisted of my Dad (Ken), my daughter Jocelyn, my son Jacob and myself (Jake).
After the sun disappeared in the west and the view of the canyon melted away from the naked eye, the brightest star in the sky was the great red planet Mars. Mars was so bright that we thought it was a campfire or a red light on the far side of the canyon. But campfires don’t fly up into the sky over time, and so we realized that this very, very bright light in the sky was a celestial planet. The night sky above the north rim of the Grand Canyon is full of stars as there is no light pollution from the dark canyon below. So with campfires forbidden from within the National Park and National Forrest, the Grand Canyon is a very dark place and an excellent place to see stars.
We could easily see the clouds of stars that make up the Milky Way as if it was a cloud of white dust in the night sky. The moon was not visible until around midnight, and so we had several hours of star gazing before the brilliant and overbearing moon light would reflect into view.
My Dad likes to take photos – including at night. He surprised me by taking a photo of the canyon in these dark conditions and showing me how a 30 second exposure with the ISO set to 51K would allow for the star light to light up the canyon. It was amazing that the stars could light up the canyon and this high end Nikon could capture all of this light to create a beautiful picture.
While taking a few pictures of the night time sky, we would include part of our camp. The interesting thing about taking an exposure at night that takes several seconds, is that it allows us to paint with a flashlight. For example we took a photo that included our tent, and we simply turned on a flashlight inside the tent for a split second to burst the tent into the photo as a glowing object – highlighting it. Or we would sweep light across a few trees to make key trees pop in a photo. Taking photos at night is just as much fun as taking photos during the day.
While hiking around the edge of the canyon during the day, we ventured out into Crazy Jug point where the canyon surrounded us on all sides like a peninsula sticking out into the great magnificent canyon. I have a slight fear of heights – mostly just a fear of stopping suddenly after falling for a dizzying 2.8 seconds. My daughter Jocelyn does not have a fear of heights and that made me very nervous. I appreciate my son Jacob’s fear of heights as he moved slowly and carefully and helped me be less nervous for his sake. The thing about the Grand Canyon is that it is full of places to go without railings. There is one terrible drop off after another. The places we walked had loose rocks and so it is very intense to just walk in these areas. At Crazy Jug Point we walked along a narrow path with a great drop on both sides of us (and with a wonderful view of the canyon on both sides of us) as we walked along top of a skinny finger like peninsula stretch out into the canyon. While walking in this areas, we found about 5 rocks with sea shells in the rock. We left them for you to find when you check out this area. When you find a fossil, please leave it there for me to find when I go visit J The shapes in the rocks and the rocks in the rocks are very interesting to look at. The Grand Canyon is made of many layers of rock and it is amazing to peer back into time by looking at these layers. It feels a bit like looking at the rings in a tree stump but each ring is made of different material and its own set of colors.
By Jacob Barr