After my little diversion through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, I finally arrived at the Grand Canyon, my main destination.
I was camping in their main campground, Mather Campground, which was very nice, though I had to cheat a little to get my tent nestled in amongst the trees trying to get some shade.
The next day I thought I’d do a small practice hike.
Grandview Point is around 10 miles east of the main Grand Canyon Park complex.
It really has a Grand View.
One thing about the Grand Canyon is that it operates on its own separate kind of time. First of all, it is in Arizona, which does not follow Daylight Savings Time. But that doesn’t matter, because what really matters in the Grand Canyon is sunrise and sunset (these days, around 5:15am and 7:45pm). Buses start operating early, and keep operating late, so that folks can get to locations to see and photograph sunrises and sunsets.
The other dictate of the sun is heat. If you are going to be doing any sort of hiking in (even partway in) the canyon, you do not want to be there midday, and anytime near midday.
I kind of thought I’d started early by starting my Grandview hike around 8:15am. No-siree. It got hot by the time I reversed myself and made my way back to the top.
To whet your appetites, here’s a typical “boring” canyon view.
And here I am, along the trail. I think that’s called the Coconino Mesa (because as you cross over it, that’s called the Coconino Saddle).
I’m down around 700 feet from the top here, and you can see that the Mesa looked closer.
It is just about 5000 feet from the rim (on the south side of the canyon) to the Colorado River at the bottom. They heavily warn people not to try to go down and back up in a single day (though they do it anyways). On this hike, I just felt like going down a ways and then back up.
On my way down, one the everpresent lizards happened to catch a grasshopper right in front of me, and I had the time to get out my camera.
That’s pretty good camoflage.
Also along the way were some blooming agaves. These are also known as Century Plants, because they flower after about a century, and then die.
Finally, I made my way below the top of the mesa.
At this point I decided to turn around. I was about 1,400 feet below the rim here. The trouble with hiking the Grand Canyon is that you always want to go just a little bit farther, and next thing you know, you are in trouble. I didn’t want to do that, so up I went. By the time I finished, around 10:30am, it was getting pretty hot, so I was seeing the wisdom in early hiking.
Despite the elevation and the climb, I thought my body did fairly well, so I was feeling good about what I planned for the next day.
On the way up, I noticed a beautiful blooming prickly pear that I hadn’t seen on the way down.
And let me end up here with a sign along the road that I bet you’ve rarely seen before (unless you’ve been to the Grand Canyon).