~ Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim ~

This was my second visit to Grand Canyon National Park and I have now seen it from both sides.

The Grand Canyon, one of Earth's most powerful, inspiring landscapes, overwhelms our senses. Its story tells of geologic processes played out over unimaginable time spans as a unique combination of size, color and dazzling formations. Over 277 river miles long, 18 miles wide at its widest and a mile deep, this rugged landscape hosts a fascinating variety of plant and animal communities from its desert bottom along the Colorado River to mountian forests atop the North Rim, which averages 1,000 feet higher in elevation than the South Rim. Nearly two billion years (nearly half of Earth's 4.5 billion years age) in the making, it is one of the "must see" sites in any journey through life. Over those two billion years the story's chapters included the colliding of land masses and their drifting apart, sea levels rising and falling, mountains forming and eroding away and the relentless forces of water in motion.

Many canyons form as rivers cascade among mountain peaks, but Grand Canyon sits incised into an elevated plateau, and incision taking five or six million years and ongoing today. The desert landscape exposes the geology to view as it is not hidden under a cloak of vegetation. The strata thus revealed preserves a lengthy, although incomplete, record of Earth's history.

Humans have played a part in this story for thousands of years. Broken spear points, enigmatic split-twig figurines, decorated pots, abandoned mines and historic hotels suggest some of the peoples who have called the canyon home. Paleo-Indians were here from 12,000 to 9,000 years ago, Archaic CUltures occupied the canyon from 9,000 to 2,500 years ago, Basketmakers from 2,500 to 1,200 years, Ancestral Puebloans 800 to 1300 A.D., late prehistoric people from 1300 to 1500 A.D. Hopi and the white man from 1500 to the present. All have left behind traces of their time at the Grand Canyon.

I will try to not be technical on this page by simply showing you the massive beauty of the Grand Canyon. Enjoy.

Bright Angel Point

Disclaimer: If you recall, on one of the pages for Zion National Park I mentioned that pollution from Sourthern Arizona, California and Nevada had affected the air quality here at Grand Canyon and, in effect, the view. Visibility can be reduced from 150 miles to 70 miles by this pollution. Well, it seems I got a 70 day and I am not too satisfied with some of the photos here. Many of the photos I took were eliminated from the list of photos to post here. Consequently, this visit to Grand Canyon is shown on only one page.

The Grand Canyon Lodge was built in 1928. A fire in 1932 gutted the original lodge. The replacement (in the photos) was not completed until 1937. Of course, there's a Saloon.
The two canyon photos above this were taken from the back deck of the Grand Canyon Lodge.

My first stop was the Visitor Center, then a short hike to Bright Angel Point.
Bright Angel Fault
Bright Angel Canyon runs across the Grand Canyon(lower center to upper right in the photo). Looking across the canyon, one can see evidence of a fracture in the earth, the Bright Angel Fault. Stretching across Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Canyon traces the route of the Bright Angel Fault. Rarely are faults seen, but evidence of their presence can be determined by the displacement on either side of the fault. I saw this evidence at Carrizo Plains where the San Andreas Fault runs its length and more and at Arches National Park where the Moab Fault runs along the highway.
Bright Angel Fault is still active, producing small earthquakes, which visitors sometimes feel. The offset across the canyon is about 150 feet, higher on the left. I could not see the offset on the ground and it cannot be seen in these photos.
The four peaks starting just above the white rock formation on the left are Angels Gate with the protuberance on top, the flattened Deva Temple, Brahma Temple and the smaller Zoroaster Temple just left of center.

On the left is The Transept (a smaller canyon intersecting Bright Angel Canyon) going back to the north. Bright Angel Point is in the "V" at the intersection of these two canyons. On the right is a closer look at Angels Gate.

Angels Gate and Deva Temple

On the right is the rim side of the Grand Canyon Lodge.

The mountain on the horizon is Navajo Mountain, which is 80 miles from the North Rim. The lands seen across the canyon are part of the
Navajo Nation Reservation.

Vista Encantada and Roosevelt Point

Roosevelt Point: Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later as a National Monument, Grand Canyon did not achieve National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service.
President Theodore Roosevelt had this to say about the Grand Canyon: "Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children and for all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see."
One of the few places where one can see the Colorado River from the North Rim. I told the Ranger at this overlook, that I remembered it as being blue or green. She told me that due to the heavy storms of the week before, flash flooding had turned it brown with mud and debris. Runnibg from bottom center up and to the right is Unkar Creek, one of those flash flooding streams that turned the Colorado brown.

The area in the curve of the Colorado River is Unkar Delta. Fifty-two Anasazi Indian sites have been found there as this was a popular place to live during the winter. The area was populated from 850 to 1200 A.D.
The delta is composed of sand and rocks deposited by Unkar Creek as it flows to the river.

Caught this raven soaring high over the canyon

Walhalla Glades Pueblo

Nine hundred years ago, people, known as the Kayenta Anasazi, were living at Walhalla Glades. They are believed to be the ancestors of the Hopi Indians who live east of the Grand Canyon. The site was a summer home to families for over 100 years from 1050 to 1150 A.D.
Walhalla Plateau is a "peninsula" surrounded by the Grand Canyon. The elevation of this area is lower than most of the North Rim and updrafts of warm air from the inner canyon allow winter snows to melt earlier here than from other areas on the North Rim. This climate made Walhalla a favorable place for ancestral people to farm. During the winter the people moved into the Unkar Delta region at the canyon bottom.

Rooms A and B (right photo) are the oldest parts of the strcucture, although debris-filled pits below them suggest that people lived at this site even earlier. Evidence suggests that the rooms were entirely made of shaped limestone slabs covered with adobe with entrances through the roof.

Rooms C and D (right photo) were added a short time after the building of A and B. The walls of these rooms were of unshaped limestone blocks set on edge with adobe covering to the roof. These two rooms were connected by the entryway (break in rocks) seen in the photo.

The on-edge placement and size of this large limestone slab (left photo) is unusual. It may have had a special function.
Rooms E and F (right photo) were built some time after the larger rooms. These two small rooms that gave no evidence of full masonry walls or roofs and were probably storage rooms.

Rooms G, H and I (left photo) were not as well constructed as the others. They were built and occupied by the last people who lived here after the rest of the buildings burned. Several Anasazi sites were burned and abandoned. No one knows why.

A total of eight hearths like this one in the left photo, used for cooking and heating of rooms, were found at this site.

Cape Royal Point and Angels Window

The Colorado River can be seen through the Angel Window

The holes in these juniper trees were made by sapsuckers, a species of woodpecker. They drill the holes through the bark into the cambium layer, eat the cambium and drink the sap that oozes out. They also feed on insects that get trapped in the sap.

It looks more like the Missouri (Old Muddy) in these photos

On the right is Cedar Mountain, which is south of the South Rim.
The small dot on the South Rim in the center of this photo is The Watchtower, designed by Mary Colter. I visited it on the South Rim in 2002. A closer look is below left.

Two sections of the Colorado can be seen in this photo. The peak to the right of the river is Freya Castle.

Looking straight down

Grand Canyon Flying Buttress
Letting the chips fall where they may

I caught this colorful, busy bee being busy

Point Imperial

Point Imperial is the highest viewpoint on the North Rim and offers great views of the surrounding country
Two panoramic views of the Vermillion Cliffs from the Point Imperial

Mount Hayden

Mount Hayden again and that would be me again

A section of the North Rim forest and an area recovering from a recent wildfire.
NOTE: If you have not been to the Grand Canyon, you are missing of nature's true wonders. Get yourself there.

Music is "Canyon Voices"

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