Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Grand Canyon AZ

Before we left Zion NP, we prepared to boondock in cold weather since the Grand Canyon was having zero degree nighttime temps & several inches of snow on the ground from Christmas storms. We put four new 6V batteries on the cargo deck at the back of the Casita & a 1000W inverter into the battery storage bay in the trailer. So off we went on another adventure down Hwy 89 south into Arizona

First, we drove thru Page AZ where the Colorado River is dammed up to create Lake Powell. . .that’s the same river/lake we crossed at the north end of Glen Canyon over a month ago. This looks like the only bridge over the river until the dam itself to the south.



Then just south of Cameron AZ, we headed west on Hwy 64 toward the Grand Canyon. I actually saw it briefly decades ago, but Jeff has never been here, so he was a bit more excited than me. We stopped at a spot overlooking the deepening canyon of the Little Colorado River before it flows into the Colorado River.


The terrain is high desert at this location, but the road climbs (gently), climbs, & climbs some more to 7,000 feet on the South Rim. The North Rim is as much as 1,200 feet higher. Small shrubs give way to full-blown trees as we climb. And then the snow cover starts. And the temperature drops. We stopped at the Visitor Center at the East Gate to get our bearings before continuing west some 25 miles to finally get to Grand Canyon Village & their Mather Campground. Even with no services, our senior pass half price was $8/night. But we parked right next to the heated bathrooms & had quite a bit of open sky for solar charging during the day. Kira was in hog (dog) heaven playing & rolling in the snow. And I realized the snow was great at preventing her & us tracking in sand & grit (duh).

We slept great as the batteries kept the propane furnace purring during our first 9° night. We found our way to a lodge for breakfast the next morning, then took the Hermit Road west along the Rim for numerous scenic overlooks. Click on this photo to see a huge photo album of all the photos I took. I’m surprised so many turned out so well because it was cloudy most of the first day, so the colors weren’t quite a vibrant as I’d hoped. But the snow really helped show off the various layers. We returned just before sundown hoping for some dramatic evening scenes but the sun is so low in the south this time of year that the shadows just got deeper & deeper thru this west-east canyon.

The next morning we took one of the free shuttle busses out to a point where personal vehicles are prohibited. Then we attended a Park Ranger lecture at the Geology Museum explaining how the Grand Canyon developed & why in this spot. One thing the geologists don’t know tho is how the Colorado Plateau remained LEVEL as it was pushed up by the Pacific Plate plowing under the Continental Plate. Almost all bedding planes are level, not tilted as usually happens where Plates meet.

We wandered around the Village shops & then drove the 25 miles back to the East Gate to view the scenic lookouts along the way & the Watchtower at the most eastern view of the Grand Canyon.

Looking up the three levels of the Watchtower.

One of my favorite scenes — the Colorado River’s grand entrance at the east, beginning of the Canyon.

After two full days & three nights, we headed south again — & hopefully to warmer weather!

1 comment:

  1. Brrr... that's too cold for me. Grand Canyon is a wonderful place to visit. Hope you are finding warmer temps.


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