Among the beauty of Monument Valley

Among the beauty of Monument Valley

Monument Valley at sunset near northern Arizona and southern Utah, USA
After spending the early part of an afternoon at Mesa Verde National Park where we were enthralled with the Puebloan cliff dwellings, Bob and I made plans to arrive back at Monument Valley in time for the sunset.  Not a minute was wasted in order to achieve our goal.  The time was tight, but traffic was light, road construction closed up for the night, and our gas tank was full.  Monument Valley here we come! Read more

A Desert Spiny Lizard at Monument Valley in Utah

A Desert Spiny Lizard at Monument Valley in Utah

Desert spiny lizard in Monument Valley in Arizona, USA

At the end of a very rewarding afternoon that had Bob and I enthralled with the cave dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, we had to return to our base lodgings at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.  The drive took us right past Monument Valley on the border of Utah and Arizona, so we couldn’t pass up seeing the famous landmarks located there.  That is where we came upon this female Desert Spiny Lizard. Read more

A Rock Wren at Grand Canyon National Park

A Rock Wren at Grand Canyon National Park

Rock Wren sitting on a rock on the South Rim at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, U.S.A.

On our first day in Grand Canyon National Park, after gaining a bird’s eye view of the spectacular world-famous canyon from a helicopter, we set off to explore the South Rim trails.  In the afternoon, we caught a shuttle bus to the extreme western end of the trail at Hermit’s Rest.  An impromptu exploration below Hermit’s Rest Lookout turned up a fleeting glimpse of this Rock Wren. Read more

A Mountain Chickadee at Grand Canyon National Park

A Mountain Chickadee at Grand Canyon National Park

Mountain chickadee sitting on a Pinyon Pine at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, U.S.A.

During our stay at Grand Canyon National Park, Bob and I explored many sections of the South Rim Trail since we were supremely situated with our room at Maswik Lodge.  After completing a guided Fossil Walk one morning, we continued along the Rim Trail towards Maricopa Point.  In addition to providing excellent views of Bright Angel Trail from Lookout Point, the trail also affords suitable habitat for numerous birds in the Pinyon Pines and other shrubbery that grow tenuously at the edge of the Canyon.  That is where we found this Mountain Chickadee. Read more

Blanche Russells Rock Houses In Marble Canyon, Arizona

Blanche Russells Rock Houses In Marble Canyon, Arizona

Blanche Russell Rock House in Marble Canyon in Arizona, U.S.A.

As Bob and I cruised along the black tarmac, the air literally shivered with the heat.  In the distance, at the base of the Vermilion Cliffs, a mirage appeared complete with stone houses rising up out of the desert sands….or so we thought.  This was one of Blanche Russells Rock Houses that was constructed during the Great Depression. Read more

Our Drive Through The Painted Desert In Arizona

Our Drive Through The Painted Desert In Arizona

painted desert - hwy 89 - arizona

Despite having been awake since a very early hour, it was not until about 10:30 a.m. that Bob and I decided to make a run for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It was approximately 200 miles from the South Rim, and the roads were very good, so there was plenty of time left in the day to get there and back again.  One of the striking features of landscape to impress us along the route was the Painted Desert with its myriad formations in all colours of the rainbow. Read more

Bighorn Sheep On Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon

Bighorn Sheep On Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon

Bighorn sheep along Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, U.S.A.

Bob and I were well on our way back up to the South Rim from Plateau Point at Grand Canyon National Park after a grueling 12-hours of hiking, so with our noses to the grindstone, we just focused on putting one foot in front of the other to make headway.  That is why neither one of us saw the Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) surveying its surroundings from a ledge above the trail, just below Mile-and-a Half Resthouse.   If not for other hikers mentioning sight of the animal, we would have completed our hike in total ignorance of its presence. Read more

Northern Sagebrush Lizard At The Grand Canyon

Northern Sagebrush Lizard At The Grand Canyon

Northern Sagebrush Lizard north rim grand canyon 5

It was very late in the afternoon when Bob and I landed at Cape Royal, one of the lookout points on the North Rim of  Grand Canyon National Park.  Despite our rush to see the spectacular views before sunset, we took time to observe this little Northern Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus graciosus) seen scampering amongst the rocks right at the lip of the Canyon. Read more

A Northern Whiptail Lizard in the Grand Canyon

A Northern Whiptail Lizard in the Grand Canyon

northern whiptail lizard - grand canyon 6

After we left the oasis of Indian Garden at Grand Canyon National Park, Bob and I wasted no time making headway towards Plateau Point.  The heat was building, the wind was constant, and the sun was torturous.  Still, we forced ourselves to remain vigilant since  other hikers had spotted rattlesnakes on the trail within the past couple of days.  It was when we drew near the water refilling station about 3/4 of the way between the two points that we saw a Northern Whiptail Lizard (Cnemidophorus tigris septentrionalis) taking advantage of the puddles of spilled water in the shade of the water reservoir. Read more

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