Grand Canyon

Are we excited to be exploring the great National Parks of the southwest? You bet!  I’ve wanted to see these sights since I learned to read. John and I visited Zion National Park a few years ago as tent campers, tagging a few days onto an epic Las Vegas cycling trip. These next few weeks will take us to places we’ve both dreamed of hiking and biking. So, if you are a reader of this blog who doesn’t know me/us well, you’ll have to put up with the oohs and aahs of these first-time eyes seeing the sights.  They are genuine.20140312_181813

Four days in Grand Canyon, camping in Mather Campground are a glorious start to this adventure.  We’re at 7200+ feet elevation, and it’s March.  But, the weather is fantastic!! Last year at this time, we had reservations, but really cold temps scared us off.  This year, we’ve got more T@DA experience, and are unfazed by potential freezing conditions.  Cold nights are tempered with campfires, and bright sunny skies bring temps into the 60s.20140313_101359

Totally unexpected, and very welcome.  Our solar system is cranking!  Mather Campground is beautiful.  Elk roaming everywhere! 20140312_174531

Campsites are large, bathrooms are adequate.  There’s a sparkling-clean laundry and busy coin-op shower facility nearby.  No electric service – water nearby. Enormous ravens.20140313_101616

We cycled from the west end to the east end of the pavement at Grand Canyon, stopping at every single lookout point to examine a new view.20140313_120627 Hermit’s Rest at the far west end.20140313_133502

We spent one day was spent hiking 4.5 miles down Bright Angel Trail to Indian Spring, along with the 4.5 mile trek back to the rim.Here’s the view of the Trail from the Rim.20140313_114926 Along the Trail, we encountered incredible beauty.20140314_11421320140314_111351

One thing that’s incredible to comprehend is that we are allowed to stroll along the Canyon Rim with a mere 4″ wall separating us from the abyss.  There’s (mostly) no fence or obstruction to keep one from stumbling or jumping off the edge.  It’s just a matter of how brave you are – I’m not so brave – my toes are 3′ from the edge here…..20140315_134539

John is a bit more brave.  He did manage to crawl back over the wall.20140315_135928

Our last night in camp (Saturday) was the day before a full moon, so we decided to hike back to the South Rim to see the Canyon in the moonlight.  It was amazing.  We saw only a handful of other wanderers in our 4-5 mile stroll from the campground along the Rim Trail. The distant rim of the Canyon was bathed in eerie moonlight, and the western edge of the south rim was dotted with amber lights from the hotels.  So quiet.  As our eyes became better accustomed to the dim light, we could pick out a few distant campfires and see lights from Phantom Ranch, at the bottom along the Colorado River.  It was a special evening. Too dark for photos, although I did make several attempts.

We took our time heading out on Sunday, making sure we stopped at every lookout heading to the East exit of the Park.  The Desert View Watchtower with its Hopi murals was moving, and a spectacular last glimpse.  wpid-20140316_115257.jpgwpid-20140316_115926.jpgAfter believing that the Canyon goes on forever, it does melt into the Painted Desert.wpid-20140316_120140.jpg

You’ve probably all seen wonderful photos of the Canyon.  My camera cannot possibly capture what my eyes took in.  More than a view, it’s an experience.  Our four days were Grand Canyon 101 – a light scratching of the surface.  So much left to explore.

Posted this from Zion National Park, where we are camped for the next four days.  WOW, already!

22 thoughts on “Grand Canyon

  1. Every time you post a spot I`m ready to pack up and go there! Loved the pictures. Can you e-mail me this last blog? It was so good and really captured the essence of the Grand Canyon. I want to send it along on my journal list. The world needs to see it. Hugs, Sis


    • There are plenty of queasy moments in Grand Canyon to be had. Then you will see some kid jumping from rock to rock, and it strengthens your backbone. The trail is steep, but not hairy to walk. Just hard enough to make you appreciate any flat spots!


  2. Beautiful pictures….your excitement comes through loud and clear! It’s great that the cold did not scare you away.
    Can’t wait to see your pictures from Zion!
    We have been to both parks but your pictures are prompting us to make another visit.


    • I like what you said to the other T@b Lynne about truly living being on the road. That’s exactly how we feel. And wanted to point out that you have two Lynne’s!
      Casita Lynne


      • Can there ever be too many Lynnes? I think not. ;-). I initially thought her comments were from you, and was puzzled by the snow comments, since you had just published your first flower photos. Happy not all Lynnes are snowbound.


  3. Great photos, Judy! I’ve only been to the Grand Canyon once but it was amazing. Word and photos can’t really show how GRAND it really is. I am so jealous of your T@DA voyages. Especially when I look out my window and see the ground 80% covered by white snow and the fact that we don’t have our T@B yet. I can live vicariously through you.


    • When you get your T@B, and get a few trips under your belt, you’ll want to be camping all the time. Hope our paths criss sometime. Where do you live? Thanks for reading. We are truly living being on the road.


      • Judy, this “Lynne” lives in snowbound NJ. You’ve commented on our T@B blog a couple of times and I just thought I should visit yours! In two years we hope to get back to our original “roots” in Colorado and then we will be closer to you!

        Lynne is not that common a name, so this is humorous to me! :)


      • You won’t be closer to us, as we’re Michiganders. Running from winter, as many do. Haven’t visited NJ yet, but hope to get there eventually. Imagine there’s some great shoreline camping. Any favorite spots?


  4. Beautiful. I am working on jean to take a September trip down and hit Bryce, Zion, and the South Rim. Don’t know yet if it will actually come to fruition, but I’m trying hard.


  5. Great pictures as always. You have a real eye for composition. Add the natural beauty where you are and you’ve got pictures worthy of framing! I wish Patty enjoyed remote camping. Staying in mobile subdivisions is getting old!


    • Thanks, Gary. I do get a kick out of playing around taking photos.

      You are an RVer, and we are campers. Just a style difference. We’re pretty willing to give up comfort for ease of mobility. That said, we’re not suffering much. ;-)


  6. Oh, that looks so gorgeous. It’s on my bucket list. I’m betting you’re planning a return trip already. Thanks so much for sharing. Your pictures are amazing… and so tempting.


  7. As I am without bike and stuck in the house, I enjoy your travels a lot. The Pictures are great. thanks so much.
    Expecting the PT to show around noon, steps are on the agenda for to day. I had enough of pain for a while.
    Have a great Trip Jochen


    • You’ll be back on your bike soon, I’ll bet. One of the best things about the way we travel is having our bikes to go everywhere. I feel sorry for the folks who hardly ever get out of their cars.

      Listen to the PT, and get strong.


  8. WOW, that’s a BIG wow! I bet the moonlight stroll was the best…lots of stars?! And no more wall climbing…you’re scaring me :)


    • The moonlight stroll WAS the best. John’s idea. It’s too easy to just stare at the fire all night after being on the go all day, so I’m kind of surprised that we actually followed through and did it, especially considering that we had to walk about a mile just to get to the rim. Totally worth it.


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