Grand Canyon North Rim

We returned to the Grand Canyon to visit the North Rim for one night in the cabins at Grand Canyon Lodge. This gorgeous mountain lodge sits right on the rim of the canyon with a fine dining room and outstanding views from the nearby Bright Angel Point. This visit gave us a totally different perspective on the Grand Canyon, as we stopped by each of the roadside viewpoints. Just three days earlier we bobbed down the Colorado River at the canyon bottom, rarely able to see farther than the adjacent canyon walls or the next bend in the meandering river. Now we had sweeping views across the canyon, and could only catch glimpses of the river far below. Read on for more about our visit, and check the photo album.

David watches the sunrise from Bright Angel Point, North Rim, Grand Canyon.
David watches the sunrise from Bright Angel Point, North Rim, Grand Canyon.

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Where the deer and the coyotes play

While visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I took a short hike around the loop of Uncle Jim’s Trail, and caught on video one of the most amazing wildlife scenes I’ve ever witnessed – involving a deer, a fawn, and at least one coyote. Read on, and watch.

Deer chases coyote Continue reading “Where the deer and the coyotes play”

Grand Canyon, days 5-6-7

In which we explore three beautiful slot canyons with waterfalls, learn how to make a “butt dam”, break Pam’s toe, survive Lava Falls, and fly by helicopter and plane back to our starting point. [Photos]

JP readies the boats as the morning sun paints the canyon walls behind; Camp 4.
JP readies the boats as the morning sun paints the canyon walls behind; Camp 4.

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Grand Canyon, days 1-2

The “main event” for our southwest vacation was a rafting trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I’d done this trip before, with the same rafting company (Hatch River Expeditions), exactly twenty years ago. It’s such an awe-inspiring experience that I’ve longed for years to share it with Pam and the kids. [Photos]

Our lead boat rounds the Nankoweap peninsula.
Our lead boat (left of center, in the water) rounds the Nankoweap peninsula.

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Southwest canyon trip

In stark contrast to my recent posts from the verdant New Hampshire summer (or its recent snowy winter), I’m embarking on a series of posts summarizing our outstanding 17-day trip to the American southwest. After a couple days in the broiling sun and steamy nightlife of Las Vegas, we spent a week rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, a reprise of a trip with my father and uncle twenty years earlier. We then toured some of the other outstanding parks of the region: Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon North Rim, Zion, and Bryce Canyon, before heading east to celebrate my 50th birthday with family in South Carolina. [I’m back-dating each post to the last date covered by the post.]

Pam and the kids walk along the Strip in Las Vegas.
Pam and the kids walk along the Strip in Las Vegas.

Thankfully we only had one day in Las Vegas, because the temperature hit 100 degrees and was forecast to reach 112 in the next few days. It’s the nights that matter in Vegas, anyway. We explored the craziness of the Strip – jammed with drunk pedestrians and hawkers of every vice imaginable – and strolled through a few casinos without pausing to play. Vegas represents excess in seemingly every regard, from gambling to its outrageously flagrant waste of water in the middle of a desert. For us, the highlights included a visit to a tasty Brazilian barbecue and an incredible David Copperfield magic show. We jammed everything into a rental car and headed east.

Andy examines the bew bridge bypassing Hoover Dam.
Andy examines the bew bridge, bypassing Hoover Dam.

We were due to meet Hatch River Expeditions on Sunday morning at the Cliff Dweller’s Lodge near Lee’s Ferry, which is the only place to launch boats for a run of the Grand Canyon. So we took the long way ’round the Canyon, over Hoover Dam and its new bypass bridge then through the forested areas south of the Grand Canyon and west of Flagstaff. Pretty drive!

Sunday morning I woke at sunrise to poke around the scrubby desert wash near Cliff Dweller’s, enjoying the opportunity to photograph this radically different terrain in the warm sunrise light. See more photos. In the next post: the Grand Canyon!

A dry and salty wash near Cliff Dweller's Lodge.
A dry and salty wash near Cliff Dweller’s Lodge.