On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This is the third and last part of my August 2006 trip through the Southwest. I left Mesa Verde and headed toward Grand Canyon Village, on the South Rim.
On the way, I stopped at the Four Corners Monument. This is maintained by the Navajo Nation and there is a small cluster of vendors selling Native arts and crafts. I bought a lovely little pot as a gift.
Around the eastern end of the canyon, near sunset.
A little further west. I was camping, so I couldn’t stay long. I don’t like to set up camp in the dark.
Spot the condor in the center?
Three more condors. There’s a nest on the other side of that cliff. A ranger told me that they had been nesting there for several years. After one nesting season, a scientist climbed down to it and found remnants of another nest that was dated to 10,000 years ago.
This guy was flying directly overhead at Bright Angel Lodge.
Way down there is the Colorado River.
Dust storm headed my way near the California border. I managed to miss it, fortunately.
What is the best time of year to see Grand Canyon. Now that I have retired, if I every get my Covid shots Spring travel will be open for me for the first time in almost forty years.
Beautiful shots! Love the condor. You’ve captured the feel of how the colors change with the movements of the sun and how astounding the canyon’s size and scale are.
The last trip I took my mother on was to the Grand Canyon. She was a little dubious about it – “it’s just a big hole in the ground, isn’t it?” I bribed her with two nights in Laughlin coming and going for gambling and we went. She loved it.
@sab:I’ve been in May and October and while it can be chilly it’s not wall to wall tourists.
Google agrees with me.
We stayed at the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel. It’s a couple of hours down the mountain and you can get a package with room, self serve food, and a ride to the canyon on a vintage train to avoid parking hassles. They have cowboys serenade you and bandits pretend to rob you to pass the time. I recommend springing for first class seats on the train. The basic seat are wood benches and cramped (It looks like they have six different classes now. Wow!) They also have hotels in the park and a pet resort. Sounds like they had a successful expansion since I was last there 12 years ago. It’s still got a 4.7 rating though. Not fancy or luxurious but clean and comfortable.
Great photos. The condors are recent arrivals since my last visit. Now I have a new reason to go back. I’ve been to the Canyon several times, and never tire of its ever changing moods. I remember a camping trip there in March of 86. We camped on the South Rim and it was freezing, with 6 inches of snow on the ground. My girlfriend and I walked to the Rim after sunset, and there was this unbelievable void, with no details visible. Then, to the east, the moon began to rise. As it rose, the moonlight began to light the tops of the mesas in the canyon. We sat there, shivering, for an hour, as the moon slowly filled the Canyon with light.
the next day we backpacked to Phantom Ranch, an had a couple of glorious days in the bottom of the Canyon.
Your photo of the Four Corners monument reminds of a trip to Canyon de Chelley with college buddies in the Spring of 82. We were the only people at the monument, and we each did a bong hit in each state…
Spot the condor? I thought it was garbage on my screen first, then noticed it scrolled. Lovely pictures!
@sab: It can get pretty hot at the South Rim during summer (and crowded.) I escorted my 89yo mom on a bucket list trip in May of 2018, and it got up to 80 degrees one fine day, but with plenty of water and resting, she did A-OK.
I had a trip planned back for hubbo and myself last year which got covid-cancelled, again for May because I really want to miss the crowds.
From the Premier Arrondissement to the Four Corners, overnight — I love On The Road!
These are beautiful pictures, and a 10,000-year-old condor nest is astounding! (I’d have been impressed by 1,000!)
I’ve been to the canyon a couple times in the week between Christmas and the new year. The air tends to be a bit clearer and the low temps keep people away.
In the summer of 83 I rowed a raft through the canyon as a trainee on one of my company’s commercial trips. Something I didn’t expect is that for quite a bit of the trip the canyon walls near the river are close to the water and pretty high, so you can’t really see the extent of the canyon. But, there are stretches where it does open up. We were camped in that part of the canyon during the full moon. When it came up over the rim the bright light woke me up. The view of the canyon by moonlight next to the river is really something.
@sab: “Best” depends on which parts you want to go to, and other such things. The North Rim is snowed in all winter… the snow melts by June or July, and it’s all accessible earlier depending on how much effort you want to put in. You can always walk there (snowshoes etc) if you’re up for that.
The South Rim is generally accessible year round. At only 7000 ft (vs 8000 for North Rim) it’s less snowy in winter and the roads get plowed as needed.
The bottom of the canyon is warm by spring, and downright hot (100˚F) by the time the snow melts at the North Rim. Elevations there run from about 3100 ft up by Glen Canyon Dam, down to 1500 ft (Lake Mead side).
With about 4000 ft difference between south rim and river level, and the adiabatic lapse rate being 5.5˚F per thousand feet (see http://www.meteo.psu.edu/wjs1/Meteo3/Html/stability.htm and note that the air here is very dry) there’s easily 20˚F difference between rim and river.
So beautiful, all of them, but especially the one with the three condors. Would love to go back there someday.
I think I said this last time, but the last time I went was in November ’84. The morning we hiked in, it had snowed overnight at the South Rim and was like a pleasant summer day at the river. We spent several nights at a campsite at the base of Zoroaster Temple. We were lucky to get it, because we hadn’t made reservations ahead of time.
Thanks for the complements and sharing your memories. I wish I’d had more time to spend there. One fairly new attraction at the Grand Canyon is the Skywalk on the Hualapai Reservation. They built a glass-bottomed platform that sticks out 70 feet over the canyon. I’m not sure I could go out there, but I’d like to try.
Canyon de Chelly is another place on my list. There are so many….
J R in WV
10,000 year old condor nest — OMG !!!
Great pictures of an unbelievable place. I was like others mentioned…. just a giant hole, right? NO, it’s amazing. Jealous of the condor experiences!
Would probably love the train experience, like being in a John Ford movie, right where all that old west stuff actually happened.