Grand Canyon

On our way home from California at the beginning of the month, we stopped over at Flagstaff and made a side trip to see the Grand Canyon. A view from the South Rim – and that isn’t even a look at the bottom of the Canyon. One of my life ambitions now is to be able to spend about a week at El Tovar, and to see the Canyon at sunset, and at night.
(There are more pictures here at my author blog, and a fuller account of our excursion to the Canyon.)

5 thoughts on “Grand Canyon”

  1. I love the Canyon so I’m a bit jealous of you at the moment.

    We used to take the kids there and camp at the grounds on the South Rim. If anyone gets the chance, they should go to the North Rim as well. 3+ hour drive so make it a multi-day trip and spend time in southern Utah as well. The North Rim is 9000 feet up and the north Kaibab is gorgeous. Since the park on the north side is smaller you can find spots in the national forest to camp right on the edge of the Canyon, North Timp Point is my favorite.

    Looks like from the photo you are at the head of the Bright Angel Trail. I used to do a fair amount of hiking, making day drips down Bright Angel to the bottom and the South Kaibab Trail to the top. Only did that in the winter, wasn’t so much the temperature in the summer but the presence of too many tourists on the trail. Stupid Germans. Once the kids came and camped with us, I was told I couldn’t do that anymore so just went ½ way down to Indian Gardens

    My one brush with GC fame came a while back at a Christmas party. You will notice at El Tovar many paintings by Bruce Aiken. Aiken is a classically trained painter who in 1973 managed to wrangle the job of maintaining the Roaring Springs pumping station at the bottom of the Canyon. There he not only produced most of his work, but also raised his family. I think most of us in AZ knew the story of family at the bottom of the Canyon and there was a great documentary of it shown on the local PBS.

    At the aforementioned party, we were introduced to a man who when he gave his name, a quiet fell on that part of the room as everyone in earshot looked toward him. He sighed, exasperated, and admitted yes he was one of Bruce’s kids. He however wore his fame well and gave us some great stories about growing up at the bottom of the Canyon from playing pranks on the hikers to what everyday life was like.

    If you get the chance in the summer, hike to the top of Humphrey’s Peak just north of Flagstaff. It’s the highest point in AZ and from there you get a spectacular perspective of the width of the Grand Canyon 80 miles away.

  2. That lodge looks beautiful. I know you will appreciate the sights.

    The Grand Canyon seems to me the most impressive geography I have visited. More than the Sierra’s (view from Sierra crest trail on the way to Mt Whitney comes close), the Rockies, or the Alps, the GC has staggering immediate altitude changes (aka cliffs).

    As a kid along with family, I hiked down to Havasupai village and camped upstream from Mooney Falls. Later, while in college, along with my dad and brother, I hiked further, following the Havasupai River down to the Colorado River. (Now one has to make advance reservations to do this trip.) We hiked upstream and then swam across the Colorado, hiked back upstream, then swam back.

    A few years later, drafted out of grad physics, when the army moved me from basic and advanced infantry training at Ft Ord, Calif to Engineering OCS at Ft Belvoir, Va, my wife and I saved motel costs by sleeping in our car. Then we used that saved money to charter a flight in the GC. A canyon wall off each wingtip, our route included the section of Grand Canyon and tributary canyon in which I had hiked and camped. Treasured pics, including one hanging on the wall of a hall in my present home.

    Many years later, with teenage children, my family diverted from our route back from a Calif visit in order to make a side trip so our kids could see the GC. That trip brought a spectacular and rare surprise: heavy rain. We got to see rivers rushing off the far rim. These rivers never made it the 5,000 feet to the bottom. Instead, by less than halfway they turned to scattered mist.

  3. Yes, – we were close to the head of the Bright Angel trail – we could see it, zigzagging down the steep slope just to the west of El Tovar. We just walked from the visitor center along the rim to the Yavapai Point observatory – we had Wee Jamie with us in the stroller, and the sheer drop from the edge of the cliffs… well, he is3 years old and impulsive. And both of us have nightmares about falling from heights.
    Ooooh, seeing waterfalls from the rim! That’s something I would like to see, along with sunrise, sunset and moonlight over the canyon!

  4. I have never seen the Grand Canyon. Just one of many regrets…
    Decades ago, family friends retired to Jerome, Arizona, in the northern mountains. Decades later their daughter wrote in a memoir that when she and her family visited her parents in Jerome, they took a trip to the Grand Canyon. Her father, always very well read, commenced to give an impromptu hour-long talk on the geology and history of the Grand Canyon. Which, knowing her father, came as no surprise.

    Their son moved to Arizona for work reasons after his parents died. For his Master’s degree in EE at Arizona State, he designed an electronic communication system for rafts on the Colorado River.

Comments are closed.