More Than Grand

Back in July of 2001 we rafted the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. It was an amazing, exhilerating experience we’ll never forget (the photo on the upper left of the title banner was taken along one of the river’s branches). It was Bob’s second trip down the river but Ellen had never been to the Canyon before that trip.

Now it was time for her to see the river from the South Rim!

There are no words, even for this writer. The best ones have already been used. Let’s just say that if you think that because you’ve seen photos of the Grand Canyon you’ve already seen it — think again. It looks like the photos except it doesn’t.

Photos are tiny things.

This place is bigger than huge.

It’s a long way down, so you want to be careful where you step along the rim!

Along this section of the rim, we caught a glimpse of our beloved Colorado River (you have to look very close to see the tiny light brown puddle toward the lower left):

Zoomed in, here’s the same view of the river with the bridge across it connecting the North and South Kaibab trails. The tiny light blue specks in the water on the left are rafts. So that tiny river in the first photo is actually pretty wide at this point!

The “Trail of Time” is a relatively new feature along the South Rim Trail. Rocks representing the various strata of the canyon — and their geologic age — give some perspective on how much time it’s taken for the canyon to evolve into what we see today.

It’s sort of a touchable version of that postcard that shows the Milky Way and an arrow pointing to some speck in it that says, “You Are Here.” These rocks, and how they’re spaced along the Trail of Time, remind us of how short life is, and how quickly we can destroy something that took so long to be created.

And the elk roaming the area gave furry, breathing life to the lesson.

Despite getting the screaming meamies from an $80 lunch at the El Tovar (we won’t be eating there again!), Bob was up to a hike the next day, so down the Bright Angel Trail we went!

We hiked beyond the two tunnels…

… spotted this California Condor (#4 to be exact)…

… and watched it land atop a nearby cliff:

It was a gift to see this amazing bird!

And it was fun to see the mules pass by (though not as much fun to step around what they leave behind on the trail)…

Every view, around every curve, is a Grand one, so stopping for lunch in a great spot just meant stopping wherever we wanted.

Of course, we had to ignore the big, begging eyes of the local critters.

“I’m not feeding you,” I told this little one. Clearly it was used to handouts, which is a sad thing. Many people don’t realize how many animals they actually kill by feeding them. It isn’t just the type of food that we eat, but they lose the ability to forage for themselves and starve to death during those months when they can’t get handouts.

Don’t feed the animals!!

Before long, it was time to head back out of the Canyon. Can you see the trail in this shot? It’s tiny and hidden!

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About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in and Critters in General, Attractions, Cool Experience, Hiking, National Parks and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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