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Steve, Katherine, and Norah | profile | all galleries >> Arizona and Utah 2012 >> Grand Canyon tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Grand Canyon

After Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments we continued on our way to the Grand Canyon. We stopped in Cameron then entered the park through the east entrance to visit one of our favorite spots: Desert View. The views of the canyon are superb here, but Norah was more interested in the Watchtower. Can't say I blame her; the Watchtower is a beautiful building designed by Mary Colter and inspired by the architecture of the Puebloan people of the Colorado Plateau. Its simple, yet elegant design, views of the canyon, and beautiful artwork by Fred Kabotie and Fred Geary make this an essential stop for any visit at the Grand Canyon. After enjoying Desert View for a while we were reluctant to leave, but made our way to Grand Canyon Village to get food for our backpacking trip, eat dinner at Bright Angel Lodge, and check in at Yavapai Lodge.

The next day we began our four day backpacking trip in the canyon. Although we were a little late in getting permits, we had no problem securing the permits we wanted. Our first day we hiked from the rim to Bright Angel Campground - about 6.5 miles and over 4600 feet elevation loss on the South Kaibab and River Trails. We camped two nights at Bright Angel Campground to allow ourselves an extra day to relax and enjoy some time at the bottom of the canyon (well, some of us - Steve went on a 20+ mile run). Since Norah was doing most of her own hiking on this trip we broke up the hike out to the rim by camping one night at Indian Garden Campground (about five miles and 700 feet elevation gain from Bright Angel Campground on the Bright Angel Trail). Another reason we wanted to stay at Indian Garden was to hike to Plateau Point for sunset (a level three miles round trip from Indian Garden). We didn't linger long due to the strong winds and storm clouds rolling in, but still did get to take in the fantastic views from this vantage point mid canyon.

After a night of howling winds at Indian Garden we hiked out on our last day - only 4.6 miles, but a stiff 3500+ feet elevation gain. Like that wasn't enough to do, we had to hike in snow showers. Up to this point Norah had hiked on her own, but facing a long hike in snow, we carried her in the Ergo. It was a slog, but didn't diminish the fantastic time we had on our days below the rim. Steve and I had done this backpacking trip nearly ten years ago and it was even better than we remembered. It certainly changes things having a four year old along. While we were marveling at the views, Norah was sure to point out the little things. I loved watching how delighted she was in finding a purple prickly pear, an especially large yucca plant, or a unique rock (don't worry, she didn't eat any!); digging holes on the beach, and enjoying a lemonade at Phantom Ranch. The Grand Canyon certainly lived up to its name and I'm positive we'll be back for another grand adventure.
Fred Kabotie murals in the Watchtower
Fred Kabotie murals in the Watchtower
Norah approves
Norah approves
Taking a peek at the canyon
Taking a peek at the canyon
Norah with a beautiful Fred Kabotie mural
Norah with a beautiful Fred Kabotie mural
View of the canyon from the top of the tower
View of the canyon from the top of the tower
The Desert View Watchtower
The Desert View Watchtower
The Grand Canyon from Desert View
The Grand Canyon from Desert View
Sunrise from Mather Point
Sunrise from Mather Point
Steve at Ooh Aah Point
Steve at Ooh Aah Point
O'Neill Butte from Ooh Aah Point
O'Neill Butte from Ooh Aah Point
Kathy and Norah at Ooh Aah Point
Kathy and Norah at Ooh Aah Point
Norah hits the trail
Norah hits the trail
Steve and Norah with O'Neill Butte
Steve and Norah with O'Neill Butte
O'Neill Butte
O'Neill Butte
Another view of O'Neill Butte
Another view of O'Neill Butte
Norah finds a tree she likes
Norah finds a tree she likes
Norah with O'Neill Butte
Norah with O'Neill Butte
Mule train on the South Kaibab trail
Mule train on the South Kaibab trail
Norah initiates a break
Norah initiates a break
Steve and Norah at Skeleton Point
Steve and Norah at Skeleton Point
Norah with a particularly tall yucca plant
Norah with a particularly tall yucca plant
Norah loves the yucca plants!
Norah loves the yucca plants!
Enjoying the view at Skeleton Point
Enjoying the view at Skeleton Point
The swtichbacks
The swtichbacks
Steve and Norah on the switchbacks
Steve and Norah on the switchbacks
Steve and Norah with Vishnu Temple in the distance
Steve and Norah with Vishnu Temple in the distance
Norah points out another yucca plant
Norah points out another yucca plant
A ground squirrel poses for a picture
A ground squirrel poses for a picture
Steve and Norah continue on the South Kaibab trail
Steve and Norah continue on the South Kaibab trail
Hikers pick a break spot with a terrific view
Hikers pick a break spot with a terrific view
Steve and Norah looking tiny on the trail
Steve and Norah looking tiny on the trail
Steve and Norah at Panorama Point
Steve and Norah at Panorama Point
The Colorado River
The Colorado River
Party on the beach
Party on the beach
Heading for Black Bridge
Heading for Black Bridge
A view down river
A view down river
Nearing the tunnel for Black Bridge
Nearing the tunnel for Black Bridge
Norah crossing the Black Bridge
Norah crossing the Black Bridge
Cooling off
Cooling off
Giddy Norah doing sand angels
Giddy Norah doing sand angels
Construction project
Construction project
Canyon glow reflected in Bright Angel Creek
Canyon glow reflected in Bright Angel Creek
Norah on the Silver Bridge
Norah on the Silver Bridge
Norah on the move
Norah on the move
Norah nearing Phantom Ranch
Norah nearing Phantom Ranch
Another afternoon relaxing by the river
Another afternoon relaxing by the river
Rafters heading our way
Rafters heading our way
Rafters under the Black Bridge
Rafters under the Black Bridge
Mule train heading to the bridge
Mule train heading to the bridge
Norah and the Grand Canyon she dug
Norah and the "Grand Canyon" she dug
Hooray for the Grand Canyon!
Hooray for the Grand Canyon!
Bright Angel Creek
Bright Angel Creek
Norah taking the Junior Ranger pledge
Norah taking the Junior Ranger pledge
An official Junior Ranger!
An official Junior Ranger!
Visiting the mules
Visiting the mules
Keeping one eye on this rascally fellow
Keeping one eye on this rascally fellow
Mule deer hijacking the mule's food
Mule deer hijacking the mule's food
Norah on the Bright Angel Trail near Indian Garden
Norah on the Bright Angel Trail near Indian Garden
Steve and Norah heading to Plateau Point
Steve and Norah heading to Plateau Point
Purple prickly pear
Purple prickly pear
View of the rim
View of the rim
Steve and Norah at Plateau Point
Steve and Norah at Plateau Point
View from Plateau Point
View from Plateau Point
The Colorado River from Plateau Point
The Colorado River from Plateau Point
The view down river
The view down river
Storm clouds rolling in
Storm clouds rolling in
Hiking out of the clouds on the Bright Angel Trail
Hiking out of the clouds on the Bright Angel Trail
The Battleship amidst the clouds
The Battleship amidst the clouds
View from the rim
View from the rim
Plateau Point and Indian Garden from the rim
Plateau Point and Indian Garden from the rim
One last picture from Desert View
One last picture from Desert View