We entered the Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) at Desert View, which is the Eastern Entrance of the park and drove the 25 miles to the Canyon View area and the Canyon Village where all the hotels and campgrounds are located. The South Rim is about a thousand feet lower and therefore warmer then the North Rim and it is open all year round. While we were at the park we walked or hiked (I don't really know the difference) the Rim and attended a number of Ranger programs. The evening programs were moved indoors for the Winter when we arrived but they were still very interesting. One of the Ranger talks we attended was presented by a Ranger who is also an Elder of the Havasupi Indian Tribe. The talk about his culture and Canyon life was eye opening for someone raised on the myths of the dominant Eurocentered culture. These people have lived in the Grand Canyon and on it's rim for thousands of years and many still live simple lives much as their ancestors did.

The Grand Canyon is indeed Awesome.

Eastern Entrance view through the Desert View Watchtower window.


In addition to walking the Rim we ventured into the Canyon and walked down (and up) the Bright Angel Trail for about a mile and half.

Bright Angel Trail

We stopped at the first rest area which has water, toilets and a phone. (you can't call home but you can call the Ranger's). We met about half a dozen people who were hiking Rim to Rim with an overnight camping stop. We had a real pleasant conversation with them. While I wouldn't hike Rim to Rim, we are considering hiking down to Phantom Ranch. The Ranch is a hotel at the bottom of the Canyon about 10 to 12 miles down. Most visitors to the Ranch walk or ride Donkeys down, spend the night and return in the morning. Since they are not camping they don't need to carry a 60 pound pack and all the camping paraphernalia.When we go, we could just take water, a change of clothes and anybody who wants to join us.

At one time the Bright Angel Trail was owned or claimed by a private individual who charged a toll to enter the Canyon. the Santa Fe Railroad didn't want to pay this toll so the established an alternate trail into the Canyon.

This alternate trail was located at the Western end of the park which is accessible by foot or shuttle.


Debby Resting in Hermit House which was designed by Mary Colter for the Fred Harvey Company

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department,The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, The National Park Service  and The Peregrine Fund a private non profit group just released 21 California Condors into the Canyon Area. (for more information visit the web site at www.peregrinefund.org

These birds are extinct in the wild but an attempt is being made to reintroduce them in parts of their previous range such as the Grand Canyon. The picture doesn't show it but they are large (sorry I didn't get them in flight ) they have an amazing wing span and are quite awesome in flight.

For information about the Grand Canyon  geology follow the link.

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