Sunday, 8 January 2017

Part 11 of our holiday- North Rim Grand Canyon and surrounds - a week of wows!!

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!)

28 comments:

  1. what a great trip! i flew through the canyon in a small plane once...what a sight!

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    1. Jaz it is quite an amazing place and we loved every minute of it thanks to Gaelyn and Bill. Have a good day Diane

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  2. So nice to relive this fun experience with you both. Love that last shot and stole it.

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    1. It was great reliving it all again writing it up, but still so many photos that I need to go through!! Have sent you the last photo, original without copyright, enjoy. Hope you have a good week ahead of you, love seeing all your photos. Take care and best wishes to Bill, Diane and Nigel

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  3. What a beautiful place. you sure were spoilt by your friends taking you there and by Gaelyn once you arrived. A private tour guide. It can't get much better than that. It must have been fun to meet up with another blogger. I was to meet one there, who worked there but she wasn't there. So off on another adventure, lucky you, have fun.

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    1. Oh for sure we were spoilt, Gaelyn and Bill made it the most amazing visit ever. Yes so looking forward to a rip in the sun :-) Have a great week t'other Diane

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  4. Hi Diane - amazing photos ... you've achieved some glorious shots ... of the Canyon as I've never seen it before. No wonder you're in awe of the trip ... wonderful to see. Looking forward to more, and then the southern Africa trip ... take care and all the very best for 2017 - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks for the kind comment Hilary, it really was an amazing trip. We are so looking forward to the end of the month and some sunshine. We were both so ill in the UK at Christmas we need a warm month in our lives! Keep well Diane

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  5. What a lovely part of the world, and my favourite of all the American photos you have posted so far.

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    1. I think the last 10 days was our favourite part of the holiday, seeing all the canyons that were around. Amazing place. Diane

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  6. Oh la! Incroyable images of the canyon Diane, it must have been quite an experience standing looking out to these scenes. I can't believe people actually go out onto the viewing area on Angels Window.. yikes no could do 😊 Sorry to hear you were both unwell in England, that's not good when you're on holiday, hope fit and well now and all set for a fabulous 2017!

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    1. I have to agree, I would also not go out on Angel's Window and I don't mind heights, A strong wind and bye bye!!!! Every time we go to the UK I am ill and Nigel was this time as well. As a friend from here who also went back for Xmas and ended up ill said; the Uk should have a health warning LOL. Take care. Diane

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  7. You're doing a tough job really well...and I did laugh about placing mother in law advantageously...

    What superb scenery...and how lucky to have kind friends who could show you the stuff off the tourist trail. Nothing would get me out on that viewing platform...

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    1. Ha ha thanks fly, not sure how long my back will stand travel so while we can we will ! What an amazing place and I am so glad that we got the chance to see it in real life. No that viewing platform they can keep!! Hope that you are both well Diane

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  8. Beautiful photos, Diane. When I first saw the Grand Canyon a few years ago, it brought me to tears. It was in the winter and it had just snowed - truly unbelievably gorgeous!

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    1. Pam I can just imagine what it would look like under snow, but I have to say I prefer to keep o the warmer weather. It is a beautiful place though regardless and we were lucky to have Gaelyn and Bill take us around Diane

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  9. I tried to leave a comment earlier, but not sure if it got through the internet...
    These are marvelous photographs - and how lucky to h ave friends to take you off the beaten track!

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    1. Thanks Fly for following it up, but yes the message did get through as you can see. My blog seems to be on a go slow, but I am not sure ever if it is our rubbish connection of if the blog is just too full. Maybe I should start a new one but then I have to get all my followers back, but a fresh start maybe good. I will see after the next holiday. Take care both of you Diane

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  10. Always inspired by your lovely posts Diane, so many places and so little time, armchair travel helps. xx

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    1. Thanks Linda, the canyon was one of the very special spots also Diane

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  11. Whata gorgeous place. I have been wanting to see the grand canyon but haven't been given the opportunity yet. Hopefully soon.

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    1. Oh Rose you must go and take the kids there. It is one of the best places in the word to view. Take care Diane

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  12. Amazing photos Diane, I especially like the third one with the beautiful sky. Your trip to our country was certainly a memorable one in so many ways.

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    1. The canyon was amazing but also meeting Gaelyn was pretty amazing as well. A very special person. Keep well Diane

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  13. It's wonderful that you got to see the Grand Canyon. It's even amazing when you fly over it, because it's so distinctive even from a jet! The VIP treatment your friends gave you was terrific, as were your photos.

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    1. Marjie we were so spoilt by Gaelyn and Bill and we saw much more than if we had visited without them. I hope that all is well Diane

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  14. I have never felt more inspired to visit the Grand Canyon than I now feel having read this post and feasted my eyes on your wonderful images, Diane. However, I will not go to USA whilst the gun laws are so liberal, and I don't see this changing anytime soon with a man that I consider to be a danger to the planet about to take the helm of the country. What a pity!

    I can only hope that I'm proven to be wrong!

    Take good care. My very best wishes - - - Richard

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    1. Richard I hope we are both proved wrong! Thankfully we saw it all before this man got into the position. His family are all gun happy and the wild life world wide suffers for it.

      As for the canyon, it is the most amazing place and Gaelyn and Bill went to so much trouble to show us all the special places. If things change add it to your bucket list it is so well worth the trip.

      Take care, cheers Diane

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