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
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
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
Exploring The Cliff Dwellings At Mesa Verde National Park
It was becoming a habit, it seemed, for Bob and me to wake up between 6-6:30 a.m., and the day following our hike on the Bright Angel Trail was no different. Because our leg muscles were way too spent for any other activity, our intentions were to drive across Arizona into Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park. Once there, we were absolutely in awe of the excellent examples of preserved and protected cliff dwellings once used by Pueblo people. Read more
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
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 colors of the rainbow. Read more
When Bob and I decided to hike Bright Angel Trail, we knew it would be a demanding challenge, and one that would take many hours. From the South Rim, Plateau Point was a speck at the edge of the Tonto Platform; from midway down the fault line, the narrow meandering trail that leads from Indian Garden to Plateau Point was more discernible but no less intimidating. Read more
As Bob and I neared Indian Garden along Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon National Park, we kept a keen eye for birds and animals along the way. I was conscientiously watching for snakes and so tended to scrutinize the trail in front of me to avoid stepping on one, in particular any Grand Canyon Rattlesnakes that might be sunning themselves. It was Bob who spied this Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard where it originally sat hunched on the small branch of a Catclaw Acacia. Read more
When Bob and I first arrived at Grand Canyon National Park, it was getting late in the day, dusk in fact, so we were eager to find our accommodations at Maswik Lodge and to have dinner. The Park is very large, and finding our way on the road system through Grand Canyon Village was taking some time. As we drove down one stretch of the pavement, adjacent to the railway track, Bob caught sight of a number of Elk making their way from one side of the roadway to the other. Read more
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