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~ Well thank you once again OFG... I've only seen the canyon from the Air... and for a short moment when a tourist helicoptor landed. I loved your photos! They are wonderful. Thank you so much for bringing me along in such an eloquent way... you've described the experience very well. Now I really am wanting to go!  :thumbup:

Glad to share, Taken.  Definitely go to the north rim when you visit.

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i meant on the way to the canyon. out of the millions of visitors to the park a certain percentage never make it due to traffic accidents. but i would still love to pull a thelma and louise but only in a convertable and with a base jumping chute  :hugegrin: i think that would be fun  :thumbsup:

 

~ I'd love to pull a Thelma and Lousie too... the part where one of them got to sleep with Brad Pitt. :smoke: (back before Angelina went and made him her bitch.)  :woot:

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Here are some of the animals I saw while in the Grand Canyon.

 

We saw a small mule deer buck along the trail, and on the south rim, there was a couple of does with fawns.

 

There were elk around as well.

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The rarest animal I saw was a California Condor (either number 86 or 89, I couldn't tell for sure).

 

Also saw a road runner - he was running away.

 

There were also a lot of these, which I believe is a Western Scrub Jay.  Looked similar to a blue jay, but its head is colored differently.

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Some interesting squirrels.

 

This is a common ground squirrel.  They were cute and bouncing around.

 

There is also a golden mantled ground squirrel there as well, but I never saw one of those.

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Only found on the north rim, is the North Kaibab Squirrel.  It is slightly smaller than a normal squirrel with a black body, dark belly, two tufts or tassels on its ears and a "skunk" tail - black in the center with white hairs extending out.

 

This one was intent on burying a nut in the pine needles and didn't mind when I got close.

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This guy is a rock squirrel, one of three species of large ground squirrels. This one was stuffing the pouches in its neck with pine nuts.

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On Sunday morning, there was a clear view of the south rim.

 

On the second and third pictures, I have zoomed in a bit.  Notice the fracture along the white band (coconino sandstone) of rock near the top.  This is where the Bright Angel Fault passes through the south rim of the canyon.  The third picture shows this break more clearly and the slope at the top of the canyon.  The right side (west) is 150 feet higher than the left (east) side. 

 

If you follow down the fault, you can also see the break in the lower levels and Indian Gardens on the plateau below.

 

In the last picture, I have added two arrows. The blue arrow shows where the trailhead for the Bright Angel Trail is located and the red arrow indicates the location of the South Kaibab Trail (the one we went down).  The South Kaibab Trail follows the ridge down from the rim whereas the Bright Angel Trail follows a canyon.

 

Also plainly visible is the Bright Angel Canyon leading to the north rim, from the center running to the lower left corner of the picture.  This gives a pretty good representation of the path of the Bright Angel Fault, running down the canyon and up over the rim on the far side.  This fault is active.

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The geology of the Grand Canyon is active and ever changing.  A dramatic example of this is a rock fall that occurred in 1990.  A huge piece of the coconino sandstone layer fell from the far side of Transept Canyon and the results are still visible 11 years later.  This was very dramatic in the early morning, before sunrise. As the area is dimly lit, the lighter colored band of sandstone is clearly visible. At the point of the rockfall, the debris lights up, showing its path all they way down into the canyon.

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Just above and to the left of the point of the rockfall is one of my favorite formations.  This is across the canyon from the lodge on Windforss Point, about a mile and a half away. These stacked blocks are massive and the aspen trees changing to red and yellow add some wonderful highlights to the scene.

 

I wonder if these will still be stacked the next time I visit the north rim or if they will have tumbled down into the canyon?

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~ I love the new wildlife pics you added! Those are great!  :thumbsup: 

Thanks.  I wish I had more to add.  I did see some geckos, but didn't get any pictures.  I didn't see any snakes nor scorpions - I have mixed feelings on that.

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OFG.... You sure made the Canyon Grand......felt like I was there going thru all the pictures....such beauty....I was there once, but only on top......

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On Sunday, we had to say goodbye to the north rim. The hikers hit the trailhead about 4:30am.  I went back to bed, getting up about 6:30am.  I was able to talk with my brother on the trail (only 1/2 mile away, but down 3,000 feet) on the walkie talkie. They were doing fine.

 

I was finally able to get out for a run to work the stiffness out of my legs.  It was exhilarating to run along the rim of the canyon in the cool morning air.

 

Here is the front of the lodge.

 

The drive north goes through the Kaibab National Forest after leaving the park.  It is only 10 miles straight across the canyon, but the drive around is about 240 miles.

 

After a while, we entered an area that had burned a few years back. This was a wildfire and one of the reasons they now do many more controlled burns.  This clears out the debris on the floor, but does not get hot enough to burn the living trees.

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We stopped as we were leaving the forest and going down on to a high desert plain. The Vermillion Cliffs were to the north as we turned and traveled east.  There was a very sudden change from the forest to the desert.

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The cliffs here were beautiful. It was really strange to see these eroded features in the middle of a desert.

 

There were bolders perched on top of pedestals, apparently eroded by the wind. All long the bottom of the cliffs were huge bolders, looking like they had just fallen down.

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I got to walk across the Colorado River twice.  This is Navajo Bridge, crossing the Marble Canyon, opened in 1929.  As you approach the area, you do not even see the canyon, just this barren flat plain.  I can imagine the surprise of the first white people crossing the area, thinking they were cruising along...until they come to a river, 400 feet straight down.

 

The bridge is 834 feet long and 427 feet from the canyon floor.

 

This is where we saw the condor sitting on the rocks overlooking the area.

 

This also marks the entrance to the Navajo Reservation.

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From here, we turned south, with the high walls to the left and a vast barren desert to the right.  It is hard to believe the people live in this area and the houses we could see were small. A few places you could see patches were some crops were grown, but nothing much else was evident.

 

There were also large cinder cones around the area, evidence of volanic activity after the plain was eroded down from the ridges.

 

We crossed the Little Colorado River and stopped for lunch, then continued on, making one more right turn and heading back west toward Grand Canyon Village, on the south rim. To our right, is the Little Colorado River canyon, smaller, yet still impressive.

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If you do visit the south rim, make it a point to visit the Desert View Watchtower.  Located 26 miles to the east of Grand Canyon Village at the east entrance to the park, this 70 foot high tower was built in 1932 as a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower.  This is the highest point on the south rim.

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The tower was designed by Mary Colter and the interior features murals painted by Fred Kobotie.

 

The fourth picture in this set is the original furnature that was built for the tower out of logs and buffalo hide.

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The view from there is amazing.  To the east, you can see the Little Colorado River canyon as it connects to the Grand Canyon.

 

The first two pictues are looking to the east.

The third picture is looking to the west, toward the Grand Canyon.

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There is a large observation deck and view windows at various points on the tower.

 

The first picture here is looking north.

The last picture is looking to the southeast.

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