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.
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.
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. Along the Trail, we encountered incredible beauty.
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…..
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. After believing that the Canyon goes on forever, it does melt into the Painted Desert.
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!