You may wonder how we remember where we have been and what we have done. I do. But at the entrance to each National Park, where we show our Park Pass (which only cost $80 and has repaid us a hundred times over) we are always offered a map and small news paper about the area, which David keeps as a memory jogger until the Blog is written up. I can't remember one day from the next. I usually recall some event (like a thunder storm) attached to a park visit, to help me remember the detail. Any way I am sitting in a hotel room in Las Vegas, doing my bit for the Blog, as David takes a rest from writing.
The Grand Canyon can be best viewed from either the North or South Rim. It is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. It is so deep you can only view the Colorado River from certain points along the rim. We arrived at the North Rim first at around midday and set off to get our first view of the Canyon with some info about pollution affecting visibility across the Canyon.
This photo looks quite hazy and at first we thought it was due to heat, but it actually wasn't that warm being as how the elevation is about 8000 feet. The views across the Canyon to the South Rim challenge your sense of space. It is easy to see how hikers become lulled into thinking they can walk from rim to rim, in a day, it appears so close, yet is so deceptively and dangerously far. The Canyon rock reveals in its colourful striations billions of years of geologic processes which have created the most unimaginable erosional forms, and a record of the Earth's history. I wondered what it might be like. Many of us may have seen it on the TV. But TV just does not prepare you for the sheer enormity and magical beauty of it. I just wanted to keep looking, imagining a world thousands of years ago, of hunter gatherers or even a few hundred years ago of Native American Indians, trying to etch out a life in a place which is all at once majestic beyond measure, yet harsh and unforgiving.
We headed on to Point Imperial and Cape Royal and the North East View which is the highest point on the North Rim and the South East view where the Rim is only ¾ of a mile from the Colorado (a mere brown ribbon in the distance below) it is there if you look closely. The views across the Canyon are just jaw dropping And here is one of the river in the distance. It doesn't look like it but the drop off this ledge is near on a mile. No wonder I look worried! The Angel's Window gives us another glimpse of the Colorado in the distance. Then we headed off back to the Visitor Centre where we started from to see if anyone had been kind enough to hand in my binoculars which I had somehow lost whilst we were there about 2 ½ hours earlier (sadly they hadn't which is a shame because they were really small and ideal for carrying on the bike where space is at a premium) but not without a backward look at the view across the Canyon. As the sun set we swiftly set off for the Park camp ground in the hope that they might be able to squeeze us in (they were full when we arrived). Unfortunately they only had space for hikers, those whose only mode of transport is shankses pony. Since we arrived by motorcycle we didn't qualify, so off we headed in the dark and by now cold, to a camp ground outside the park which nearly always we were told had spaces. By now it was really chilly and after about 25 miles we arrived cold and hungry. We rapidly set up camp, cooked and dived into our sleeping bags exhausted.