The following is a transcript of the narration for this panorama location. To watch and listen to the narrated panorama, enter the project here at this location and then press the play button.
Point Sublime has a fantastic panoramic view, and you can drive right out to it. Just don’t expect to do so in your regular car. For many years the park service kept the Point Sublime Road in good repair, but diminishing budgets brought that to an end a couple of decades ago. Now a four wheel drive is a must, and a high clearance vehicle is advisable.
If you do venture out to Point Sublime, do yourself a favor and get a back country permit to spend the night, preferably in July or August, during the monsoon season. The views down into the canyon, extending for 270 degrees, from Grama point to the northeast, sweeping past scores of temples, points, and buttes as we swing around through the south, finally all the way to the Powell and Rainbow Plateaus to the northwest, are always spectacular. But in the monsoon season, if your are just a bit lucky, the sky will be spectacular as well.
I was very lucky this evening in July of 2008. At first the sunset was not promising at all. The sun, low in the west, remained hidden behind the clouds, leaving the scene drab and far below its potential. But at the last moment, with the sun just above the western horizon, sun broke through a narrow band between the clouds and the horizon, casting a lovely yellow light on the Coconino Sandstone layer running through Shiva, Confucius, and Mencius Temples off to the east, and even all the way to the Temple of Isis. To the west, Havauspai Point, Mt. Huethewali, Huxley Terrace, and Wheeler Point were backlit beautifully by the sun just about to set behind the Powell Plateau.
Next morning the sky was not nearly as dramatic at sunrise, but the first light nicely highlighted the long sequence of South Rim points sweeping past you as look off to the South. Pima Point, Yuma Point, Cocopa Point, Diana Temple, Jicarilla Point, and Piute Point are all no more than half lit, but swinging further to the west, the upper slopes of Walapai Point and Havasupai Point are fully lit.
The morning sun has not yet reached down to Sagittarius Ridge, arcing below us for over 90 degrees from south to west, though there is just a bit of sun on the knob on top of Scorpion Ridge, just behind it. Nor has the sun reached down to the Tonto Platform, or any of the long string of panorama points along the Tonto Trail, curving along the Tapeats Sandstone rim of the inner canyon south of the Colorado River. And we only have a faint view of one spot along the Colorado River, at Boucher Rapids, in this sunrise panorama, and it is faint in the sunset panorama as well.
But we do have a clear view to the river in this panorama, though I’m sure you can tell that it’s not a photograph. People have been admiring, and artistically rendering, the vista at Point Sublime for a long time. The US Geological Service in the early 1880’s, sent a survey party, lead by Clarence Dutton, to map the Grand Canyon. Dutton, however, wanted to do more, and brought along William H. Holmes, a geologist and illustrator. In 1882, following the expedition, Dutton published his famous Tertiary History of the Grand Cañon District, illustrated by Holmes, including his famous triptych panorama of Point Sublime, with three separate panels displaying the views to the east, south, and west.
And that’s just what we are looking at here. Holmes’ three panels fit together nicely end to end, and I’ve stitched them together and rendered them as a third panoramic view here at Point Sublime, for your enjoyment.