August 24, 2016
I found my park at Grand Canyon. The first time I found it 40 years ago but didn’t hear it call my name. Ten years ago friends gave it to me for my birthday and I made a wish to work there. Now, I celebrated the National Park Service 100th Birthday during my ninth season as a Park Ranger on the North Rim #GrandCanyon. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I haven’t really posted much about life on the North Rim this season. Been crazy busy with more visitors than I’ve ever seen. I guess they found their park at Grand Canyon too. Centennial events included more than just cake on August 25th plus other special events. And way too many days off get spent doing the mundane like laundry, and shopping which requires a very long drive mostly to St. George, Utah via Bill’s in Kanab.
So on this day off, with sun shining between the trees outside my windows I decided it had been way too long since exploring my back yard at Grand Canyon. The plan to head out onto the Walhalla Plateau was not a morning rush. I like that part. Because most of the views are easterly and I don’t like to stare into the bright morning sun. I worked my way out stopping at the overlooks on the way and made it out to Cape Royal for sunset.
I wanted to look at the landscape where the Fuller Fire burned. (I’m still working on that fire post.) Flowers still bloomed almost up to the edge of the burn. This was a good fire for the forest ecology, thinning out some of the congested aspen from the Outlet Fire 16 years ago.
Several wide spots and pull offs offered an opportunity to stop along the road. This sweet little tree squirrel put on quite a show hauling a pinecone up into the tree then dropped it but at first seemed hesitant to come down too near to me. Finally did then carried it back up and began to chew.
Love this distant view to the east past Saddle Mt to the Marble Plateau showing the Colorado River’s cut and the Vermilion and Echo Cliffs beyond. Heavy clouds appeared to be dropping rain in the distance while sun still shone through to highlight the canyon walls.
Next stop where the Ken Patrick trail crosses the road. Here is not only a wonderful view to the southeast but also more evidence of a back burn done to keep the Fuller Fire from crossing the road. The down side of this area just outside the edge of the no low flight zone is the drone of the constant over flights by helicopters and airplanes which kind of ruins the quiet canyon experience for at least us on the ground.
Then off again down the road with mixed forest and burn past Vista Encantada which really does offer a great view northeast back towards Point Imperial and east across the Navajo Nation but I just didn’t feel like stopping.
Made a quick stop without even getting out of the truck at Roosevelt Point. Dang, sort of like a touron. But I had a destination in mind for some views of the storm and less than two hours until sunset. My dinner stop ended up being at Walhalla overlook and I somehow didn’t take any photos. Must have been hungry and preoccupied.
Back and forth, up and down off the rocks the tripod claimed. Several people, some “pros”, were set up on the rocky outcrops on the other side of the safety rail. I’ve been there but generally prefer some foreground in my photos with the option of zooming in. Other visitors milled about mostly taking photos with their phones or P&S.
And if all this wasn’t enough, the brief gift of a rainbow slipped into the canyon.