Bikepacking Adventure: The Rainbow Rim Trail #10

posted in: Arizona, Bikepacking | 0
Views from the Rainbow Rim Trail

Eric, Grizz and I had been itching for another long bike ride for some time. It had been about 3 weeks since our 70+mile ride to the North Rim where we were denied the last 16 miles of our trip after receiving some bad news. If you missed that story, click here to check it out.

After waiting out some rain, snow, and heavy winds, we finally had our chance at another long ride. We found the perfect hideaway deep in the Kaibab National Forest, packed our bikes, and set our sights on the Rainbow Rim. This is a 38.5 mile trail that runs along a Ponderosa pine forest with several viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. Plus, of course, an additional 8-10 miles of forest riding to get to the trail from the van. We were really looking forward to it.

Here is the story of our ride.

Day 1

Grizz patiently waits for take off

The Kaibab National Forest was almost eerily quiet during our entire stay and we were surprised that throughout the entire trip, we didn’t see one single person, vehicle, or OHV. In our world, that is a small (and much appreciated) miracle.

The Valley

A short, 1.4 miles in, we hit our first single track through a small canyon into a beautiful valley.

Green grass was just starting to sprout up and the colors were so vibrant at each and every turn.

There were also some really cool old trees!

Grizz was in dog heaven and was running and sniffing and jumping and panting and…well, doing what dogs do best—burning energy.

Our happy boy

While Grizz was running around like crazy, he found himself a friend. Let’s just say Mr. Horny Toad didn’t want a playmate and it didn’t take long to let Grizz know about it either.

The First Climb

Eventually, the terrain changed and we started hitting some bigger hills.

Eric leads the way
Several spots along the hill had snow and mud

After hike-a-biking up about a mile or so, we hit a flat area perfect for lunch.

Before we finished eating, I looked up and there was Grizz waiting by my bike. This dog. He seems to always be waiting on us. Usually it’s rather impatiently and he lets us know about it too! I’ll have to try to get him on video griping at us as he tells us what he wants in a language it seems we’ll never understand. It’s pretty funny to hear him grumble—rar, rar, rar…girrrrrr, jump-whine-lick-paw. It generally goes something like that, but it’s much more hilarious to see in person.

Twists and Turns

It was too fun to stop! So I had to settle for a happy smile at the end of this section.

A Detour

I know, we take a lot of detours. It was totally my fault too, but it ended up being a super fun with a view of the Grand Canyon likely never before seen by human eyes until now.

Basically, I missed our turn where the connector met the Rainbow Rim Trail. Oops. I stayed on road that led to absolutely nothing. But, instead of turning around, we decided to re-route and explore the forest with the goal of making our way back to the trail which we appeared to be very close to via the OSMand app.

Never underestimate a canyon! Unfortunately there was no way to get down the steep ravine but we did eventually find a way over without having to backtrack completely. Plus, we saw some sweet views of the Grand Canyon while we were at it!

Rainbow Rim Trail

Somewhere between Temp Point and North Temp Point

This trail was everything I dreamed it would be and more! Uphill climbs, that were generally rideable, mixed with fun downhills that would put a smile on just about any face. The forest was gorgeous and our first (well technically, second) viewpoint of the Canyon was magnificent (photos of this later).

The trail leading towards camp

Before going crazy with photos, we had more pressing things to do like find and make camp, refuel, and do chores.

We found the perfect spot to meet our needs for the night and keep us as warm as possible.

Grizz fell asleep almost immediately. Eric and I set up the tent, made dinner, fed Grizz, cleaned up. Dang. This dog has it made!

Eric put the finishing touching on our shelter for the night…

I, on the other hand, was distracted by this lounging ladybug. Typical.

After all the necessary tasks were completed, then it was time to play! Grizz and I headed back to one of the viewpoints in hopes of some interesting lighting throughout the canyon and it was better than I ever could have imagined!

Hike to the Rim

The timing couldn’t have been better—Golden Hour.

By the time we got to the rim, the clouds had moved in a bit more creating dramatic light over the canyon. Layers upon layers for hundreds of miles. It was quite a sight.

Here are some photos from our time along the rim.

The Rim

Day 2

That morning as we were breaking camp, we noticed Grizz had a limp. It was quite odd considering he passed his nightly checkup with flying colors. Basically, he went to bed fine and woke up not fine. We’re still not exactly sure what happened. Initially, we thought maybe he woke up a little stiff because he hadn’t tossed and turned or moved much through the night. But after about 30 minutes to an hour of the same results, we became more concerned.

The same booties we tried on our previous long bike trip

While still at camp, we tried his paw protective booties just to see if it was his pads that were the issue, but it was difficult to tell. Grizz doesn’t much like the booties and it makes him walk differently. So, I tried palpating his right paw, ankle, and leg and did not feel any swelling nor did he show any signs of pain with retraction or deep pressure. All-in-all, we decided to cancel the remainder of the trip and slowly make our way back to the van.

At that point, we were unsure if he could make it back on his own volition so we prepared for the worse—carrying him or having one of us ride to the van and pick the other plus dog up from a nearby forest service road. Luckily, the little man was able to get back home with minimal issues. In fact, the little punk started chasing squirrels and running around like a crazy man about half way back leaving Eric and I looking at one another like, “What the heck?”.

Border Collies are smart, but are they manipulative enough to fake injury just to get to go home and sleep in a warm comfy bed? Hmm….he definitely made us wonder. So, we ended up putting him on the leash and instead of walking all the way home, we rode at a very slow pace.

A shortcut up the FS road

After taking a shortcut up a FS road, we wound our way back up the rolling hills and through the beautiful valley as we made our way back to Van.

These hearty trees were my favorite!

While we were a bit disappointed, now Eric and I can look forward to coming back and riding the Rainbow Rim Trail next time we’re in the Kaibab National Forest!

Thanks for reading!

Until next time friends…

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