Thinking we'd reached the height of our wilderness wonder with Antelope Canyon and the Wave, we met up with my younger brother and caravanned south toward the Grand Canyon's North Rim.
In typical Wayfare West fashion, we drove several hours through pouring rain and building fog to find ourselves overlooking nothing more than a dreary haze.
The following morning, despite unfavorable weather reports and warnings of high evening winds, we secured the sole backcountry permit at Cape Final and meandered toward the trailhead. Along the way, we hit every obscured overlook on the way, catching glimpses of the yawning canyon during intermittent cloud breaks. With the weather slowly clearing, we arrived at the trailhead, hoisted our packs onto our backs, and hiked to Cape Final.
Located on the Walhalla Plateau, Cape Final is more isolated than other parts of the North Rim and overlooked by many park visitors. An easy two miles from the trailhead, the path slopes gently through a forest of Ponderosa pine and yellowing aspen trees and ends abruptly at the canyon rim. We set up camp quickly as evening fell, worried that mounting winds would blow our belongings off the rim and down thousands of feet into the canyon below. Despite the snap and crack of the tent against persistent gusts of wind, we crawled into bed and fell asleep in hopes that we'd wake to a calmer morning.
Luckily our optimism paid off! Emerging at sunrise, we finally saw the canyon stretching out before us and not a cloud in the sky. The limestone of Cape Final juts out high above the forest behind and canyon below and offers unobstructed panoramic views of the Grand Canyon. And you guys: it's huge.