Michael and Mary, our friends from Mesquite, very kindly offered to drive us the 3 hours by car to the North Rim (and collect us afterwards!) as otherwise we would have had to hire one specially - so spoilt we were!
Just after we passed into the GC National Park, we were delighted to see a small grazing herd of bison/hybrids with a couple of calves. We kept our distance, but thanks to the telephoto lens, managed a reasonable few shots. So many people do not have respect for wild, often dangerous, animals and these especially, females with calves at foot.
Arrival at the Grand Canyon Lodge. The Lodge was rebuilt in the 1930s, the original from 1928 burned down due to a kitchen fire. The top of the canyon is 8,000 feet (over 2,400 metres) above sea level and so it is closed to the public in winter due to severe weather and snowfall! This was where Gaelyn, a Park Ranger, met us. Gaelyn and I have been following each other's blogs from the time I first started blogging, so I felt that I had seen so much of the canyon through her eyes, long before we arrived there. If you are not following her already, I highly recommend her GeoGypsy blog which you will find HERE.
So many of the physical features along the North Rim have names, but the chances of me getting them right are slim, so just enjoy the magnificent views!! The South rim of the canyon is on the horizon , at anything up to 18 miles away, under this swirly atmospheric sky.
The colours of the rocks seem to change with every different light, as the sun moves across the sky and clouds pass in front of it. This is just a side canyon and the Colorado river is in the main canyon behind the peaks at the top of the photo. The landscape is breathtaking!!
The Colorado River can be seen at the base of the canyon, which is 6,000 feet deep in places. There is a walking trail for the fit and adventurous, down one side and up the other, if you have 3 days to spare!
On our first evening there, I rushed out in the middle of dinner, just to get these shots of the setting sun!
As above. You can see what I mean about how much the light changes the colour of the landscape!
A monsoon on the South Rim, perhaps 25 miles away. At this altitude, storms are not for the faint-hearted, with plenty of impressive thunder and lightning! Try as I might I could not get the lightning on camera!
and after the monsoon had passed. Look closely to see the rainbow on the left of this photo....
The Wedding Site at the North Rim; can you just imagine these views as a background to your wedding photos. Don't be tempted to stand mother-in-law too close to the edge!
Gaelyn taking more photos; her camera never seems to leave her side and the results she achieves are generally pretty amazing!
Angel's Window; look closely and you can see the Colorado river way down below! Visitors are allowed to walk to the end on the promontory - see the safety railing!
Information about the feature. There are loads of useful signs like this dotted around by the Park Service for the benefit of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the canyon every summer.
Bill, Gaelyn's partner, was most generous of his time and we spent a day upstream from the Grand Canyon, being chauffeured through the Vermilion Cliffs countryside; our experience and enjoyment was compounded by Bill's extensive local knowledge and commentary. Thanks to them, we saw places that we would never have had the opportunity of going to, if we had been travelling independently.
This photo above is of the two Navajo bridges crossing the Colorado river as it runs through Marble Canyon. The left hand bridge is the one referred to in the sign below. The right hand one was built for $15 million and opened in 1995 to cope with modern traffic weights and flows. You can still stroll across the original bridge and soak up the history!! The California Condor, now hopefully rescued from extinction but still rare, has a 10 feet wingspan and pairs have been known to roost under Navajo Bridge and nest in the area; unfortunately, they did not appear while we were there!
Further information on the original bridge. Back in those days, this was another US engineering achievement, built nearly 500 feet above the river. A worker sadly slipped and fell to his death during construction. Supervisors rejected the idea of rope safety nets, as they said there was too great a risk of red-hot rivets setting fire to them. If only..........
A breathtaking spectacular panorama of the Vermilion Cliffs near Lee's Ferry (Northern Arizona) - one of the most impressive sights in the whole US of A! The rock is a type of sandstone and the pink colour is caused by red iron oxide and other minerals.
Gaelyn and I on Colorado River near the confluence of the Paria (a tributary of the Colorado) near Lee's Ferry, which, due to its unique geography is the only place in hundreds of miles from which one can easily access the Colorado River. Early explorers and later, settlers, were able to cross the river here in the mid 19th century, looking for routes to the west coast. John Wesley Powell, from an English Methodist family,was a pioneer of the exploration of the Colorado river and its dangerous rapids. The books about his life are fascinating!
One of the still surviving buildings at Lonely Dell, the settlement established by John D. Lee at Lee's Ferry in 1870 and for whom Lee's Ferry is now named! A baking hot day when we visited, with temperatures over 40 degrees!
Gaelyn and Bill framed by the window in one of the surviving buildings.
I have many more photos of the Canyon, surrounding area, flora and fauna as well, so at some stage, I will try to do another blog on this amazing area. However, I feel under some pressure to prioritise the completion my accounts of the remainder of this holiday before we leave for southern Africa at the end of this month! (tough job, but someone's etc etc!).