Wednesday, April 28, 2010

View from the South Rim

We left Camp Verde and traveled about 80 miles to Williams, AZ, which is about 65 miles south of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

We took the Grand Canyon Railway to be able to enjoy the scenery instead of watching traffic. We were also treated to information, music, and a train robbery.

Access to the South Rim from the train or car involves a short walk, mostly by stairs. The walk from the Bright Angel Lodge to the Yavapai Observation Station is about two miles and presents one magnificent view after another.

At Lookout Studio (left), the balcony provides a good spot from which to view the expanse of the Canyon and is reported to be the best spot from which to view the California Condors.

Standing at the South Rim, we found it difficult to fully appreciate that we were about a mile above the Canyon floor and that the Canyon was up to 18 miles wide at its widest.

Also, from this angle at this time of year and time of day, the dusty greens and reds had the effect of muting the impact of the Canyon's walls.

We kept commenting, "Oh, to be here in mid-summer and looking up at the walls from the Colorado River or from (what we think

is) Phantom Ranch (right)." But the choice comes down to (A) spring with fewer people vs. summer with the majority of the five million visitors to the Park each year and (B) viewing the Canyon from the South Rim vs. riding a mule or hiking to the floor where temperatures can reach 110 degrees.

So, given the alternative, we'll enjoy the muted colors of spring from a distance above the Canyon floor.

There were other beautiful scenes along the trail along the South Rim.

Seeing what appeared to be a cave entrance (center in the photo on the right) led to questions about access to the cave and the availability of food and water.

But more often it was a case of enjoying the views, whether it was a sweeping vista of a few miles,

a tree against the Canyon as the background,

or the design of a trail leading to the floor.

Several locations and formations have been given names. I believe this formation with the whitish peak is called Isis Temple.

Quite often, we found ourselves just staring in awe at the scenes before us.

But throughout the hike, we wondered about the brilliance of the Canyon if we were on the floor looking up at the massive walls.

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