I had not been in the Grand Canyon since Penny and I went in June, 1981. We slept in the open that night. In 1983, we went for a day trip to the North Rim, but only went about a mile on the North Kaibab. We took Aram along the Rim Trail in 1996.
About a month ago, I read about the Alzheimer’s Association having a Longest Day campaign, to raise awareness on the plague of dementia. I didn’t have the money to formally register for the event, but decided to do a hike along the Bright Angel Trail, to make a statement, and maybe better-off people would feel like chipping in, on their own.
So, Tuesday afternoon, I headed north, through Williams and Valle, to the South Rim. Williams is the southern terminus of the Grand Canyon Railroad, a narrow-gauge system that also goes to the South Rim, ending at Bright Angel Lodge.
Here are a couple views of Williams.
Williams was named for Bill Williams, a roguish mountain man of the mid- Nineteenth Century, who is also the namesake of nearby Bill Williams Mountain, which I plan to hike over Labor Day weekend. His name extends to a river which flows from this area into the desert between Wickenburg and Kingman, eventually meeting the Colorado River, south of Lake Havasu City.
After a nice cup of joe at American Flyer, I headed on to Valle, home of Flintstones’ Bedrock City- a nice diversion for families with very young children. The outfitters’ supply store in Valle is made up of two pyramids.
The area from here to Tusayan varies between grassland and pine forest, but mostly has the former.
There are occasional buttes, like this one just north of Valle.
I got into Tusayan, the service town just southwest of the park, and purchased a few more necessaries, like granola for breakfast and ice for the cooler. Then, it was off to the campsite. Like South Carlsbad State Beach before it, Mather Campground was full. I took my reserved spot, at the tail end of the grounds and jerry-rigged my rodded tent, using twine and string. It served its purpose and any snickers were kept to a dull roar. NOTE TO SELF: Pick up some tent rods next week, before the three-day camp-out.
Here are a few shots around the Mather Campground area:
It’s dry here, so the ponderosas need all the help they can get.
At 6:30 PM, Ranger Kim gave a talk on the area’s wildlife.
At 7:15, one of her subjects introduced herself.
I arrived at Mather Point, the site of my evening photo shoot, around 7:20. Here is what awaited.
This is Kaibab Limestone, the topmost (for now) layer of the Grand Canyon.
Here is a formation of Navajo Sandstone.
Various Coconino and Toroweap (Limestone) formations bid farewell to the Sun.
This ominous looking creature is an outcropping of Kaibab Limestone.
Coconino Sandstone and Hermit Shale in twilight were awe-inspiring. These sights evoke my bird fantasies.
Sunset at any of the overlooks is a must-see. Now, for the piece-de-resistance.
This is one of the features that made me fall in love with this canyon. Next, I will present some of the others.