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Old Posted Jan 21, 2017, 2:18 AM
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xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Wilmington, DE
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xzmattzx's trip to New Mexico & Arizona, Part 4 of 10: The Grand Canyon, day 1


After a scenic drive to the Grand Canyon, I made it back for a return trip. One of my bucket list items was to go down into the canyon. We'll get to that a little bit in here. Additionally, I also wanted to chronicle some of the more famous buildings in Grand Canyon Village. So, yes, there's some urbanity in this thread, although the vast majority of the pictures are scenery. This may be the first time the buildings of the Grand Canyon are shown on this site!

Two years ago, when I arrived at the Grand Canyon for the first time, and parked my rental car, I literally sprinted for the canyon. I couldn't wait another second! In that spirit, let's get going!

I was at the Grand Canyon again! My first view was from this spot at Yavapai Point.

There are several trails in the canyon, and I zoomed in on two of them. The Plateau Point Trail is up on the plateau, and the Bright Angel Trail can be seen winding its way down the canyon and through the trees. And what's that in the corner?

Why, it's a little glimpse of the Colorado River!

Having a camera with even better zoom this time, I got a decent close-up without losing optical imagery.

At the end of the South Kaibab Trail is the Black Suspension Bridge. It was built in 1928, and along with the nearby Silver Suspension Bridge, is the only river crossing for hundreds of miles. See, I'm including some urbanity in this thread!

Next to the Black Suspension Bridge is the Phantom Ranch Boat Beach, where rafts are moored for people using Phantom Ranch.

These huge crevices and pockmarks are amazing to me. I have not yet seen or read how or why they were formed.

What an amazing view to the east!

Looking a little west, you can see the Plateau Point Trail going across Plateau Point.

What many people don't realize is that there are two canyons at the Grand Canyon: the Inner Canyon and the Outer Canyon. Here, we see the steep walls of the Inner Canyon.

Let's take in a few views.

I zoomed in on that tuft of rock, which is called Isis Temple.

I think this was at 30x optical zoom. Or maybe this was going into my 120x digital zoom. Anyway, you can pick up some decent retail on the North Rim, seeing some individual trees.

I zoomed in on the end of the Plateau Point Trail.

I then zoomed in on Brahma Temple and Zoroaster Temple, on the left and right, respectively.

Little periscopes along the rim help visitors know the names of landmarks in the canyon.

When the periscope is set on a groove or tooth, it is in line with the object labeled underneath.

Having set the periscope at Zoroaster Temple, I knew what I was looking at now. Zoroaster Temple is the column on the right.

From this spot, you can see the Bright Angel Trail as it makes its way down to the Colorado River.

You can also see the end of the Plateau Point Trail.

I tried out my digital zoom again, which goes to 120x.

Nope, no one at the end of the trail, looking out over the river.

You can see the Black Suspension Bridge from here.

At Yavapai Point is the Yavapai Geology Museum, built in 1928 as the Yavapai Point Trailside Museum. The building was designed as a museum discussing the geology of the canyon, and then was reconfigured with windows to take advantage of the 210° views that showcase the canyon's geology.

Let's look around from around Yavapai Point, where the Geology Museum is located.

From Yavapai Point, you can see mountains that are dozens of miles away. I think these are the mountains south of Mount Trumbull, and may be Mount Dellenbaugh and Mount Emma. But I'm not really sure.

Also visible is Mount Trumbull, which is 62 miles away.

I zoomed in on the mountain range...

... and then zoomed in on Mount Trumbull.

This is 120x digital zoom on Mount Trumbull.

I went inside the Yavapai Geology Museum and read about different prominent points in the canyon.

Inside the museum was a 3D diagram of the canyon.

This was the view from inside the museum. Personally, looking at the canyon from inside a building, with a window in the way, is not as great, but I guess it's better for rainy or snowy days.

More information on the canyon is given where the windows are.

After Yavapai Point, I went to Mather Point. This was where I first saw the canyon two years ago. On the walkway from the parking lot for the Visitor's Center to Mather Point is this sidewalk display showing the 8 tribes that call the Grand Canyon home.

There are great views from Mather Point. Let's look around.

O'Neill Butte is a prominent landmark front-and-center at Mather Point. It was named for Capt. William O. "Buckey" O'Neill, a Rough Rider killed in the Spanish-American War. His cabin still survives in the village just west. The South Kaibab Trail skirts along the eastern edge of this butte, on the other side of this picture. I wonder if any human being has ever been to the top of the butte before?

I saw a little squirrel checking out the rim for some food. I managed to get a few good fauna pictures before he scurried off. It looks like he enjoyed the view too!

I kept looking around at Mather Point. Here's some pictures.

Walking back to my car, I saw an interesting map showing where solar energy is best for energy consumption. Big surprise, the Southwest US is the best place for solar panels!

I then drove to Grand Canyon Village. I wanted to get some pictures of the historic buildings in the park. On the way, on South Entrance Road, I passed some mule deer. More Western animals!

The first building you see when you enter the village is the Superindendent's Residence (or Super Nintendo's Residence, if you're Ralph Wiggins). The house was built in 1921 as the first park headquarters, and was converted into the superindendent's house in 1931.

The Grand Canyon Power House was built in 1926 by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway to supply electricity to the El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge, and train station, and to provide steam heat to rail cars.

Cabins for Bright Angel Lodge are available for rental, if you want to rough it and spend a couple nights by the rim of the canyon.

Afterwards, I decided to venture into the residential areas. Technically, visitors are not allowed in this area, at least when accessing from the tourist section of the village. I went in from the backcountry, passing some administrative buildings. Here's what typical housing in the park look like.

I saw a woodpecker knocking away at a pine tree.

Back into Grand Canyon Village, I got a view of the Superindendent's Residence again.

I lucked out and found a parking spot right by the rim, near the Verkamp's Visitor's Center. I went to check out some of the most prominent buildings in the village. The Hopi House is one such building. It was built in 1905 and designed by Mary Jane Colter, noted Rustic style architect. It was based on the Hopi village of Old Oraibi, and was meant to feature Hopi artisans and their work.

At this place along the rim, I could look down into a prehistoric fissure into the canyon.

I could also still get a good view across the canyon.

This formation is called "the Battleship."

Here's a view east.

From where I was standing at the time, I get a great view of Lookout Studio. Lookout Studio was built in 1914 by the Fred Harvey Company, to compete with Kolb Studio.

Walking along, I passed the Trans Canyon Telephone Line, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Why is a phone line on the NRHP? It was installed in 1934, and altered in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It's been unaltered since, and is a rare surviving example, in some spots, of open-wire, copper-weld technology. This line connects the South Rim with the North Rim.

A little further west, there was another view of Lookout Studio. I like this picture of the building more because it shows the many levels where you can walk around at the place (look at the bottom left), and it also shows how the rough-cut limestone blends in with the surroundings, and the background.

I walked over to Bright Angel Lodge. The lodge was built in 1935, and designed by Mary Jane Colter.

Inside the lodge as wonderful interior work. This fireplace, designed by Colter, features rocks from the canyon in order of the strata found as you descend. The fireplace is a reproduces the strata of the canyon from top to bottom.

Back outside, I looked over the rim and could see a building way down below. This ended up being the restrooms for the Three Mile Resthouse.

I got another picture of the Lookout Studio, with the terraces along the rim surrounding it.

Walking farther west, I got a picture looking down the fissure formed by the Bright Angel Fault.

I looked out into the canyon a little more.

This picture shows some greater depth in color from the one above.

It was late afternoon, and the shadows were beginning to get longer. You could see the shadows starting to creep into Bright Angel Canyon, where Bright Angel Creek is located.

Along the rim is Buckey O'Neill Cabin. Built in 1890 by Buckey O'Neill, it is the oldest building in Grand Canyon Village.

The cabin was built by the same O'Neill for whom O'Neill Butte is named for. O'Neill was a journalist and served as mayor of Prescott, Arizona, and a judge and sheriff, before becoming a mining speculator. He was a Rough Rider and was killed in Cuba in the Spanish-American War.

I got yet another picture of Lookout Studio.

Walking past Kolb Studio, I looked down into the fissure created by Bright Angel Fault. I told myself two years ago that if I ever went back to the Grand Canyon, I would hike down into it. Now was the time!

I took this picture of the signs before I started heading down.

Here's the view as I headed just over the rim of the canyon.

Let's look around just below the rim.

The Grand Canyon is a dangerous place, even on the maintained trails. While I was on the trail, this emergency crew was on its way down about a mile or so to a woman who was injured. I think she fractured her leg or something, from what I heard and remember. Other things like dehydration and hypothermia can be common when hiking.

I slowly made my way farther down.

If you look very closely at this picture, up on the right along the rim is the Kolb Studio. It blends into the landscape well!

I took a few pictures looking up at the Kaibab limestone, to prove that I was below the rim.

Here's the view from a big turn in the trail.

This is the bathroom located a few feet from the One-and-a-Half Mile Resthouse. A spur of the Bright Angel Trail leads to it. Does anyone happen to know what the clearing to the left is for? It seemed like there was some sort of construction work going on.

Here's a cool picture of Kolb Studio hanging over the edge of the canyon rim!

I got another picture of the Kaibab limestone features.

This sign at a big turn in the trail was the farthest down into the canyon I made it. I had to turn around, because I wanted to see the sunset over the canyon.

One more view from here.

After beginning to walk back, I got a picture of the spot where I had to turn around.

I got a picture with a canyon wall on the side.

I was up near the top now.

I looked back at the big switchback that was the farthest I got down into the canyon.

I was back up at the top.

Here's the trail's beginning, at the sign, with a view outward, but obscured by trees.

This sign give information on the Bright Angel Fault, which makes the trail possible. Fault lines provided seams into the canyon walls, which allowed the Havasupai and other tribes a chance to get down to where water would seep out from the faults.

Back up at the rim, I took a couple pictures of the canyon again.

I went into Kolb Studio for some souvenirs. I got a couple pictures from a window, just to get an idea of what the view was like from inside a building and from hanging over the rim.

I then got on a shuttle bus and headed to Mohave Point, so I could see the sunset. I looked down into the canyon after getting off of the bus.

I could see a little section of the Colorado River!

I played around with the lighting for a couple pictures.

On the west face of the point, you get a great view of a big stretch of the Colorado River!

The sun was near setting.

After the sun had gone down, I turned my attention back east and got pictures of the colorful Western sky and the moonrise.

I went back to the west face to get some dusk pictures.

I took the bus back, and they run infrequently in the evening, and they are also packed, so it took a few rounds to get onto one. While I was waiting, I got a couple pictures of dusk with my phone. I didn't get any other pictures with my phone while watching the sunset, because I tried a timelapse video, but the wind kept knocking down my phone as I had it propped up. By the way, the temperature drops considerably at the Grand Canyon in October once the sun goes down. I and countless others were dressed in shorts and t-shirts, for the sunny weather, and then the sun had gone down and the wind had been blowing a little bit all day. So it was very brisk waiting for the bus. When I got back into the village, though, the moon was up and I had a full moon, which lit up the canyon a little bit. I did my best to get some pictures of the moonlight.

It was night by the time I was back in the village.

It's way too dark with my camera...

... so I edited them afterwards to lighten them up. This is what it really looked like looking out onto the canyon with a full moon.

I then went to the El Tovar Hotel for souvenirs and one other thing.

The hotel is built in the Rustic architectural style.

The "other thing" that I went into the hotel for was a beer! Two years ago, I talked with an Australian couple who were walking around with their beers. I asked if they were allowed to, and they said no, but who was going to stop them? It made sense. Where's the nearest police station or police officer? And I never saw park rangers patrolling. So this time, I did the same.

I edited the pictures to show what drinking a beer while looking out over the canyon is like.

I took this picture of my beer with my phone, so I could upload it with my check-in for the beer on Untappd, the social networking app for beer. I drank American Pilsner by Grand Canyon Brewing Company while I saw outside. By the way, is anyone else on Untappd?

I took some more pictures of the canyon, in various settings.

While on the shuttle bus back, the bus driver told me that you can see the light for "the Bright Angel Lodge on the Nirth Rim" across the canyon. It's actually the North Rim Lodge. Anyway, you really can see the lights of the lodge from across the canyon, over 10 miles away from Grand Canyon Village. I saw the lights from the Hermit Road shuttle route, which was about the same distance from the lodge.

With a different setting with my camera, the North Rim Lodge's lights are much clearer.

You could also see the light of a hiker or someone on a mule, down on the Bright Angel Trail.

I walked back to my car to head to my motel. I needed dinner, and I wanted to get to bed early. I was going to catch the sunrise the next day! I drove past the Hopi House as I left.

On the way out, I got a couple pictures of the neon signs in Tusayan.

After passing through Tusayan, I drove south to Valle, where my motel was. I was hoping that at least one of these could turn out clear enough to read some of the road signs.

My room was in a building down the road from the main building for the hotel I was staying at. I thought the room I was given was interesting, given that my mom is from Buffalo and grew up a Bills fan.

They really did up the Western theme at this place!

After dropping my stuff off in my hotel room, I drove down the road to the main section of the Grand Canyon Inn. I got dinner here, along with a small beer. This was the bar area of the hotel. I happened upon a real juxtaposition of cultures when ordering my beer. The bar is the only place literally for 30 miles where locals can get a beer, so there were a few ranchers sitting down. One asked someone sitting next to him, "Where are you from?" The guy replied, "London." Then the rancher asked, "How can you live in a country where you can't carry a gun?" They then began a discussion about it. It seemed like both guys had somewhat warped views of the other. The Englander seemingly imagined that the Wild West is still alive, with shootouts at high noon and guns blazing everywhere. The rancher seemingly imagined a country where criminals run rampant and prey on everyone on the street. I let the two carry on, and then I went to my room, down the road, to go to bed.

Next up, a Grand Canyon sunrise! Stay tuned!
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