Monday, March 19th, 2018 to Monday, 26th March; South Rim, Grand Canyon.
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|Looking west from Mather Point.|
|Bright Angel Fault & North Rim.|
Rim Lodge 10 miles distant, |
to the left of the fault.
Pyramid of Cheops.
The green colour is the Bright Angel Shale,
although there is a bit of contributing vegetation.
|View east from Mather Point.|
Monday was clear and cloudless, so I went to the Geology Museum at Yavapai Point, learned a lot about the Geology of the Grand Canyon, and listened to a most interesting talk. I also began to get a handle on some of the mesas, buttes and geological features in the Canyon. This knowledge was built upon over the next few days as I observed the Canyon from the various sections of the Rim that I visited. One of the best walks was from the Bright Angel Trailhead along past the Geology Museum to Mather Overlook, but especially that part from Verkamps Visitors Center to the Geology Museum. Along that section are a number of very good explanatory signs, and a series of rock examples from most of the rock strata in the Canyon. The only improvement I could think of would be some signs pointing out the various named buttes, mesas and other features that one sees; that would help confirm the identifications I've been making. I ended that walk near Sundown just short of the Geology Museum, where I watched and photographed the lengthening shadows at day`s end. That night I left the Park to find a campsite in the Kaibab National Forest. This was found 5.3 miles in on forest road 302, east of Tusayan.
|Give us a kiss, then (Rock Squirrels at Mather Point).|
|Aw … you scared her off.|
|Good Tail, eh?|
|Well, maybe I’ll take five.|
|Looking coy amongst the rocks.|
|And I do have claws, you know.|
Temple ... |
behind and to left of Isis Temple.
Garden … 3000’ below; |
note diverging trail.
spotted one of these ...|
so far below I thought it was a Raven.
|Examples of …|
|… Rock exhibits …|
|… along the Rim Trail …|
|… and of the information signs, too.|
On Wednesday the 20th, I took the South Kaibab Trail down into the Canyon to get a different perspective, and to get a feel for these trails. I only dropped about a thousand feet, and about a mile along the trail, but it was worth the effort. A couple of mule trains passed me, going up as I descended. I think they were resupply trains for whatever camps are down there; I should have asked. That night I was back on forest road 302, but only two miles in this time, in a very good spot, where I stayed for the next three nights, spending my days, painting and taking hikes through the Ponderosa Pine forest.
|Mule train coming …|
|… along the South Kaibab Trail.|
knob of rock on the white platform |
is called Duck on a Rock.
I came out on Sunday the 25th, and started out on the Desert View Drive, towards the east entrance. I continued my identifications of the Canyon`s features; seeing them from different angles was a great help. Back into the National Forest, this time on forest road 310 turning on to 307 about a mile in from the Desert View Drive. On 307 I had to go through a barbed wire gate, which was lying open as the old gate post was broken. This gave me a chance to use my hand forged Swedish axe, that was a Christmas present from my siblings. I found a downed tree that had a section about the correct thickness of the damaged post, lopped off the branches, and cut it off about the necessary length. The next morning as I drove out, I did a cursory gate repair; it was far from perfect as the wires needed some sorting out, and I do not have a fencing pliers, but at least I was able to close the gate, as the sign on it requested. That should take care of it until the Rangers can get to it. The day was one of passing snow showers, which made Canyon photography very interesting, and provided a perfect coda to my Grand Canyon experience.
|Thomas Moran … an Artist I admire.|
|Snow shower over the Sinking Ship …|
|… and further Snow Showers …|
|… throughout the day …|
|… ah, very Moran-esque.|
I left the eastern entrance to the Park and several miles down Highway 64, I turned onto the eastern end of forest road 307, the same road I had camped on the previous night, but about 20 miles to the east and a thousand feet or more lower, thus out of the Ponderosa zone and into the Pinions and Junipers, with the Coconino Rim beetling above me to the south. Supper was cooked during a brief snow shower as the Sun was setting below the edge of the snow cloud to the west. While this is in the Juniper/Pinion zone, in the morning I noticed pockets of Ponderosas up on the Rim in shallow canyons. These were reminiscent of the micro-climates within the South Rim of the Grand Canyon that shelter Douglas Firs, but this time the micro-climates were sheltering Ponderosas.
|They farmed down there a thousand years ago.|
Vermillion Cliffs (on the horizon),
46 miles away, from Desert View.
|Looking east towards Cedar Butte.|