I am home from my rim to rim and back journey with Scott Turner through the Grand Canyon. The fact that I took over a thousand photos is a good indicator of how awe inspiring I found my experience. So, it will take me a few more days to go through those photos and share more comprehensive impressions.
For now, I just want to share my observation that vastness in the Grand Canyon is tempered by countless spots that would be cherished end destinations on hikes most other places. Ribbon Falls is an excellent example.
Scott and I initially saw Ribbon Falls off in the distance from the North Kaibab Trail on our way to Cottonwood Campground. We decided to set up camp at Cottonwood first and return to the falls on a 3.2 mile late afternoon hike. This turned out to be a great decision as the potable water at Cottonwood was murky containing a fair amount of red silt. Unpacking our packs allowed us to filter the clear water of Ribbon Falls with enough water for the night and the following day’s trip to the North Rim and back.
For many people, just being a waterfall would be enough to make Ribbon Falls a great spot. However, its multifaceted characteristics are what makes it stand out for me and are what makes it a good example of the kinds of spots I mentioned above. As shown in the gallery of photos below (click to enlarge), it is a complex area with many elements to the waterfall and many different places within it to view both the waterfall and its surroundings. Each place within yields an interestingly different perspective of the elements of the waterfall and there is a great view out to the larger canyon. Spending time at the pool at the bottom, or behind the falls under the rock overhang looking through the falling water toward the canyon, or off to one of the sides watching the wind change where the water lands and trickles down on the moss covered rock leading down to the pool could all be wonderful destinations on their own. This large space in terms our human scale is intimate by Grand Canyon standards. While this was my favorite spot in the Canyon (possibly due to my desire to drink clear water—which was fantastic by the way), there were just so many others!