We were told that things slowed down here at Grand Canyon after Labor Day. Apparently, park visitors didn’t get that memo. Visitation has been through the roof! Perhaps the crisp Autumn air has attracted them. Or they are just enjoying the subtle color changes of the flora and foliage. I just know that the stores have been busy and bustling from the time they open until the time we shut the doors at 7 p.m.
We are enjoying our final week here at Grand Canyon. There were so many more places we hoped to visit in the area like Vermillion Cliffs, Lee’s Ferry, and Homolovi State Park, just to name a few. But time has just flown by! We opted to stay “local” this final weekend and hike some of Grand Canyon’s less known areas.
Shoshone Point is a true hidden gem. There are no road signs for it, and it is not listed on the South Rim Pocket Maps that visitors receive at the entrance gate. Its location is unmarked to keep it private. You see, this serene paradise is often the setting for weddings and special events. By obtaining a permit, you have exclusive use of its pavilion, fire ring, and the cleanest pit toilets I have ever seen! We traversed the 1.25 mile trail each way without encountering another soul. I inhaled the refreshing scent of pine that emanated from the Pinion and Ponderosa trees. Shoshone Point is breathtaking. It offers stunning views of Vishnu Temple, named because its rock formations are shaped like a Hindu temple. I adore Shoshone’s secluded, picturesque setting! Should I ever meet a stuffed rodent worthy of becoming Mrs. Rambling RV Rat, I can’t think of a more spiritual, scenic venue to hold my own nuptials.
Next stop was Grandview Point, the site of the Grandview Hotel during the 1890s. This hotel was once the Canyon’s most visited attraction, that is until the Santa Fe Railroad began developing the Village area and bringing tourists to the South Rim. Grandview guests came by stagecoach from Flagstaff. That must have been one grueling trip! Grandview Trail takes you down 2,500 feet to the site of Last Chance Mine on Horseshoe Mesa. Not wanting to tempt fate, I nixed the idea of hiking this trail after learning how many of its sections are steep, treacherous, and difficult to access!
Instead, we continued just a short distance down Desert View Drive to the next unmarked area. We have no idea what this area represents. We thought perhaps it might lead to the remnants of the Grandview Hotel, but could find no information on any of our maps or on the Internet. We hiked through the woods, blazing our own path since what appeared to be the main trail was blocked with downed trees, obviously to prevent ATV/UTV vehicles from driving here. We were pleasantly surprised by a burst of fall colored leaves on the Gambel oaks within this forest.
Other than a small group of horseback riders prancing through the woods, we were the only evidence of members of the animal kingdom in the area. Or so we thought, until we stumbled upon some bones and skulls. In addition to humans, there are only two types of carnivores who would reside in these woods: ravens and mountain lions. Usually, ravens just scavenge on the remains of animal carcasses, and humans usually like their meat cooked to some degree. So me’s thinks there must be a mountain lion somewhere in the area! Yikes! I high-tailed it out of there—the last thing I need is to become a mountain lion’s mouth-watering dinner!
We continued down Desert View Drive to fuel up, popping in to the residential campground to chat with and say our good-byes to GCA employees (at Desert View Watchtower) and fellow Escapees Ruby and Bob. We hope to catch up with them again in Quartzsite!
We caught a glimpse of this creature earlier in the season. From what we could see, it looked like a mountain lion. What do you think?
As GCA employees, we recently took advantage of my parents' free admission to Bearizona outside of Williams. We drove through the forested 3-mile road viewing bison, elk, mule deer, mules, wolves, long-horn sheep, and, as its name suggests, bears. I love the irony that Bearizona, just like Bear Country in Rapid City, SD, is a bear sanctuary. Yet very few bears live naturally in either of these geographic areas. Weird, right? Anyway, Bearizona is a lovely natural habitat setting, nestled in groves of Ponderosa pines. It is beautifully maintained with a rustic theme, housing a huge gift shop, lovely restaurant, and soon-to-be-opened lodge. Additionally, they have a petting zoo and a walk-through zoo. They also host a Birds of Prey Show, which was really cool, but really scary! Raptors, hawks, and owls—all of which love rodent dinners—flew right over our heads! Although we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves over the course of 2.5 hours, I’m not sure the place is worth the regular admission of $20 for adults ($18 for ages 62+, $10 for children 4-12, or $100 for carloads), especially since you can see many of the above-referenced animals in the wild right at Grand Canyon National Park!
This guy was eyeing me up like I was a cheese pizza!
Rut season is underway here at Grand Canyon. We recently had a very stupid guest get charged by an elk! I was fortunate to get some photos of bulls here in the park without provoking them. Today a lovely group of mule deer visited our backyard. I spotted a chipper little chipmunk sitting on a big rock on our site, along with one of my distant cousins scavenging. And how is this for exciting: Mom and I caught a quick glimpse of a Javelina in the wooded area near the Community Library. Sure love being among all these beautiful animals!
Another one of my rodent family distant cousins
Mom and I always respect nature and give the wild animals their personal space! Hence, we end up with some fuzzy, distant photos! But you can tell this is a Javelina even in this poor quality photo.
Well, time to go. Mom has baked some cookies and I volunteered to be a taste-tester. Talk to you soon!
We would like to thank some amazing organizations for all they do for the RVing community: