Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Trips West 2013--Grand Canyon

Parting shot from Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  Looking across the lowlands (elevation of about 3500 ft.) from the parking lot (elevation of about 6500 ft) with the visitor center behind us (all these photos are made with my cell phone, but I did get many more with a better camera that I haven't finished culling and uploading to the computer yet)

The desert has bloomed in the rainy season. Below, the second visit in early August after six weeks of intermittent rain. 

The drive to the caverns in late mid May during the dry season. Quite a contrast from this first visit to our second one. 

We made several stops between Carlsbad Caverns and the Grand Canyon, but I will skip those for now.

Grand Canyon. Arizona. May, 2013. Our visit began with a helicopter tour from Grand Canyon National Airport followed by a jeep tour through Kaibab National Forest in order to view sunset from the canyon's South Rim. 

Looking down from the helicopter at part of the Kaibab National Forest near Tusayan, Arizona.  

One of our first views of the canyon from the air. There is really no way to properly capture this spectacular panorama. A few more shots follow.   

The Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon. The work of running water is amazing. Just look what it did over several million years.

And a few photos from a couple of stops during the jeep tour of the canyon's South Rim. With the sun getting lower in the sky, the contrast made it difficult to get good detail and color in the photos.
No. 2 Son with an awesome background

No. 2 Son and Daughter at one of the stops. Just a few feet behind them is a drop of about a mile.

Cutting across the upper center of the photo is the Colorado River, about a mile down from the canyon rim

The canyon casts a shadow on itself as the sun gets lower in the sky

The last rays of the day from the South Rim

 Next time: Petroglyphs, Sunset Crater, and Wupatki National Monuments


  1. Nice, nice pix ... it is sooooo big to try to capture. Was it cold there in the morning in May?

    1. RG, mornings were cool when we were in the Grand Canyon-Flagstaff-Albuquerque areas in mid-May, but elevations of those areas ranged from 4900-7400 ft. As you can see from the late afternoon photos, our sweaters and jackets felt good, but were not necessary during the middle of the day. The temperatures were running in the 50's and 60's depending on our elevation, but warming up to 70's to 80's in the afternoons. On the other hand, as we drove through W Texas and SE New Mexico on our way to Carlsbad at the beginning of our trip, we encountered high 90's at lower elevations (3000-4000 ft). The afternoon of May16, the temperature on our car thermometer registered 102 in the lower elevations on the way to Carlsbad Caverns. It was hot, dry, and very windy. The cooler night and early morning temperatures made it quite nice for camping. We had hoped to camp about 50% of the time, if we could find suitable locations near attractions we wanted to see. However, following our first camping endeavor at White's City (at the park entrance below the caverns) in which we wrestled our tent--easy enough to set up that I can do it myself, but large--in the wind while both setting up and breaking camp, we decided we'd had enough of that. After that, two nights in a nice motel in Albuquerque and four in Flagstaff, did not prompt us to get out the camping gear again. The top of Humphreys Peak near Flagstaff had still had snow. Although all the roads around the canyon are open from mid-May to October, one day while we were in the area, one of the access roads to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was closed briefly due to snowfall.
      I do believe that the best time to go is mid-May to mid-June. Snow is all but gone, temperatures are pleasant, and you are ahead of the monsoon season with the risk of flash flooding, mud slides, or dust storms. I was a bit reluctant to return in August because of the rainy season, but we kept an eye on the weather reports the entire time and planned accordingly. It was hotter in Carlsbad in August and there were flash floods and road closings in the Colorado Springs area, but we got lucky and only had a bit of rain to contend with.

  2. wow, amazing photos of an amazing place.

  3. You are traveling through some of favorite parts of this country. The Grand Canyon is tiresome to look at.