Monday, November 23, 2015

Baja Trip--Grand Canyon & time with Vanajeros!

I spent the night at Homol’ovi State Park. When I woke up, the interior temperature of the van was 37⁰F.  This actually was just a warning of what was to come for the next few days. 
Before leaving, I took some time to check out some Native American ruins in the park.

I continued down the highway and took the eastern entrance into Grand Canyon South Rim and got to check out some nice scenery enroute. I learned that Arizona has a volcano that erupted only about 1,000 years ago, and got to see some cool overlooks of the Little Colorado river and its gorge. This was a much more interesting approach to the NP than the entry point directly from the south that I'd taken the last time I was here in the 1980s. In my opinion, it would be worth the extra miles even if you’re coming from the west.

Sunset Crater volcano

Little Colorado River Gorge

Little Colorado River Gorge

It was a great couple of days in Grand Canyon. While I'd hoped to be on the North Rim, that part of the park closed for the winter at the end of October. Luckily I found this out before driving there and finding a locked gate. Some did not have such luck. I got to see all the typical South Rim sites, do a little bike riding to overlooks, and most importantly got to meet up with Aidan & Madison from Vanajeros

It's always cool to meet up with fellow Vanagon folks, and these two are no exception. They are on a "dream job" assignment for Backpacker magazine, traveling the continent doing photo & video work in the parks for 9-months!

My first stop inside the park was at the Desert View overlook. Note how relatively close and visible the river is in these photos compared to those more downriver in the park. The ‘bluffs’ visible in the background of the first shot are the Vermillion Cliffs which are near the end of Glen Canyon where the river is dammed upstream of the Grand Canyon. This is where the river trips put in to run the 277 miles of the Grand.

A few miles downstream, this is the view from Lipan Point.

Grandview Point is a large viewing area where Aidan and Madison did some timelapse work at sunset more than one evening. It also has a hiking trail that goes all the way down to the river from this point. We began a hike, with no intention of going to the river and back, one morning from here. Unfortunately, the trail was just too sketchy for me to feel comfortable given the exposure involved. I went back up after about ½ mile. Aidan and Madison continued on a bit further.

A panoramic from Grandview

Madison overlooking Grandview

This is the point of the trail that I abandoned. I think that Aidan had spikes in this boots with how confident he navigated this part.

Aidan and Madison continuing on for a bit. Be safe!

Finally, here’s a photo from Mather Point, the viewing point closest to the GC Village area. If you zoom and squint real hard, you can view the bridge over the rive at Phantom Ranch, which enables the (crazy) Rim To Rim race from the north to the south rim. 

Just right and down from center is the bridge at Phantom Ranch.
 Next: Progressing south to warmer climes!

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