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Point Sublime, AZ
mini location map2016-09-29
19 by photographer avatarAZWanderingBear
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Point Sublime, AZ 
Point Sublime, AZ
4x4 Trip avatar Sep 29 2016
4x4 Trip44.52 Miles
4x4 Trip44.52 Miles
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1st trip
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The first big objective of our 10-day overland trip was to camp at Point Sublime. Reputed to have some of the finest views of the Grand Canyon, Point Sublime makes you earn your reward with a bumpy and often muddy drive. It is 18 miles from the turnoff of Highway 67. The Park Service checks the roads occasionally. We checked with the Backcountry Office the afternoon before and they said it would be muddy and there was a high likelihood of trees falling onto the trail. The new truck is meant for that kind of driving and we had both a saw and a winch for the trees.

The morning of Day 3 of our trip found us packing up our camp after an all night rain, grabbing a hot breakfast at the Lodge and pointing the truck towards Sublime. We stopped to stretch our legs on Widforss Trail since there was a break in the rain.

Early on the trail was pretty easy. Descending down into the first meadow was slick and a little technical but nothing very exciting. We encountered a couple of vehicles and coming the opposite direction, a fairly good sign. One guy stopped us to say he had seen some buffalo hanging out in the trees off a meadow, but we never saw them. The rain came and went.

A couple of places along the trail offers great views down the side drainages toward the Canyon. Our favorite was the Crystal Creek drainage. The views were fantastic and Crystal Rapids is a exciting ride during the raft trips we've done down the Colorado.

The Point Sublime peninsula gets pretty narrow well before you hit the two campsites. But you can't beat driving on a slick trail with huge drop offs on each side. We wanted the east most of the two campsites because you are literally on the edge of the Canyon. No one was around so we got our pick. The rain had slacked off, but was seriously threatening. A couple of tarps got strung up over the very aged picnic table and our planned tent site before the rain returned. The clouds were being pushed up the side canyons by the southerly wind and often would completely fill the Canyon leaving you looking into a white abyss from above and then they'd just spill over us on our tiny spine of land enveloping the entire world in a white fog.

We were snacking and sipping under our tarp in a driving rain when two muddy vehicles arrived. Bad timing sucks. I felt for them having to assemble a camp in a storm at the SECOND BEST campsite at Sublime. But they all managed nicely. Later a truck that looked familiar roared by. Turns out it was photographers who we had seen our first night out on Marble Overlook. They were hoping for a break in the clouds and some good light for some sunset photos off the Point. We drove down to the end of the Point a bit later and renewed acquaintances just as the clouds parted and emitted both rainbows and soft evening illumination. Thunderstorms shot lightning bolts across the Canyon miles away, amazingly many horizontal to the ridgelines.

The rain subsided overnight and the sunrise was only moderately magical from the end of the Point. We'd made coffee before heading out to enjoy the day break and that helped ward off the chill wind. With a quick breakfast and camp tear down, we left north bound for adventures in Utah. The route out was to be longer, 27 miles vs. 18 miles. than the way in via some sketchy trails north to some well maintained forest roads outside the national park. But that route offered new scenery and deposited us well north of the Park when we finally emerged. Almost to the promised well maintained forest roads, a freshly fallen tree blocked our path. It was move the tree or drive and extra 2 hours. Out came the winch controller and the saw and some 15 minutes later we were moving. All adventures need some actual adventure to be worthwhile.

Point Sublime is a magical place, one of the few spots left on the Rim where you can avoid the bus loads of tourists looking for a trinket to prove they were there. "Where are we again? Oh yeah, the Grand Canyon."
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