9-27-19 Grand Canyon National Park

How does one make a visit to one of the seven “must see” wonders of the world a personal experience? It certainly helps to have a bright clear autumn day as a lens to view it. Then you hire a driver/guide (Marvelous Marv Tours) ) who has spent his life in Williams, Arizona (except for service in Vietnam) pick you up at the hotel and point out regional wonders en route to the south rim.

The Park is celebrating its Centennial Birthday all year.

Although thousands of world visitors come to view the canyon every season, our fellow tourists were mostly burgundy- robed and civilian pilgrims to the opening of the Buddhist Temple in Williams.

Route 64 north sent us through Ponderosa pine, Pinon pine and the wild National Forest suffering from long-term drought. The Forestry service is clearing the forest floor and will light controlled burns of the cleared debris as snow approaches.

The water and grass and hunting free area bring in the elk

Elk groupings graze calmly along the highway, but they are an invasive species competing with antelope and native grazers.

Cliffrose bush explained by Marv

Cliff Rose bush edges the walks toward the viewpoints along with Utah juniper and Yucca family Bandolear spikes. Cliff Rose provided wool dye for rugs from “spurs”, lanolin in the branches to wash the wool and a sunny yellow flower to guide natives to its growth. The points of the yucca plant worked as needles and the sturdy leaves release “threads” which helped early inhabitants bind and sew tools and coverings

Bird of the Canyon, probably a turkey vulture, but possibly a California Condor as they have been released into the canyon

Ravens, turkey vultures and California condors float on the upstream from the canyon a mile below. Clouds shadow the geology and highlight the green of trilobite layers and Redwall limestone.

Black volcanic rock thrusts up from the base schist and golden Coconino sandstone layers at upper levels

On a clear day you can see the San Francisco range in the distance, past centuries of geologic history
North Rim on the horizon from Yavapai Point on the South rim
Sun and cloud shadows provided a perfect backdrop at every stop
Ten miles across to the opposite North Rim
Green oasis at bottom of canyon is Phantom Ranch, accessible by Bright Angel trail, hiking or mule

Marvelous Marv tours showed us Canyon views at Yavapai Point with the North Rim background; the muddy Colorado below, and Phantom Ranch Bridge visible as white water rafters glided though, pinpoint spots from our perch a mile above. The Yavapai Geology Museum added historic and reviewed guide points made during our trek. Grandview Point views provided expansive, yet closer photos of the layered canyon.

Nature provides resting points
The Canyon is measured in meandering river miles, 245, although “as the crow flies” it is 140 long

We could have taken the Grand Canyon Train from Williams to the South Rim but we really enjoyed our adventure with Marv, plus the train takes 2-1/2 hours each way giving you only a couple of hours to explore.  Marvelous Marv had us at the South Rim in just over an hour and we spent almost 5 hours in the Park before heading back to Williams.

Thanks Marvelous Marv (Mason) you had two happy tourists
Marvelous Marv – a wonderful resource and guide for our adventure to the Grand Canyon

It was a beautiful day with only moderate crowds and the weather could not have been nicer to view this amazing National Park.

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