Wednesday, September 4, 2002
Jacob Lake, Kaibab National Forest
Team South is camping in the vanilla-scented ponderosa pine forest that surrounds Jacob Lake, Arizona. Jacob Lake is located at the intersection of highways 89A and 67 and it consists of a motel-restaurant-curio shop combo, a gas station, the Forest Service's Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center, and two campgrounds. It is 40 miles from Jacob Lake to the rim of the Grand Canyon; "if you go 41," John Hillers once famously told a visitor, "it's been nice knowing you."
In spite of its name, there is no lake at Jacob Lake, only a small pond in good years. The north rim country receives and average of six feet of snow during the winter but in spite of the abundant moisture, lakes or creeks are not found anywhere in the forest. The reason for this is the underlying and highly soluable Kaibab Limestone. Water percolates through the limestone then through craks and fissures in the rock formations below, often to emerge thousands of feet lower in the Grand Canyon.
Driving toward the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Jacob Lake, the traveler encounters large grassy meadows known hereabouts as "parks," and stands of mixed conifers and aspen. Interestingly, south of the Grand Canyon the same grassy meadows are called "prairies." A network of roads, legacy of a half-century of logging criss-cross the forest, providing access to several vista points on the rim of the Grand Canyon.