One of the great amenities of hiking at the Grand Canyon are the shelters provided on the Bright Angel Trail. The park has to deal with a lot more hiking casualties than perhaps any other National Park. The only other thing comparable would be people trying to climb Half Dome at Yosemite. What makes it more pronounced here is people will stroll to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and then get stuck hiking back out. It is a LOT harder hiking out than down. Compound this with it being a desert situation and you get a lot of dehydrated hikers. So, the park put in these shelters to give precious shade on what otherwise is a very sunny exposed trail. At certain ones, there is also drinking water but it is best to check for availability prior to your hike. It is also even smarter to carry a water purification method and to stock up at every opportunity. We got to one shelter that was supposed to have water only to find the pipe had broken. We were glad we were both carrying a couple liters rather than going light and expecting the water to be there.
It is considered very poor taste to climb over the guard rails for that perfect picture. "Just a little farther back Honey-OOPS!" (This really does happen all to often, from the Tuweep Overlook on 11/23/01, where a husband was taking his wifes picture, to the fatal fall from Yaki Point on Fri 8/8/08. A guy was taking his friends photo, right on the edge of Yaki Point, when he slipped & did a 250 foot freefall).
One poor guy setup his brand new Harley right on the edge, for that "perfect picture". As he was reving up the engine, it slipped into gear & went over. He jumped free, but the bike was GONE! Picture turned out fine.......
We learned that the Grand Canyon National Park has 75 species of mammals, 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, 25 species of fish, and over 300 species of birds exist. The park's most celebrated inhabitants is the squirrel.
The park is home to a wide variety of animals. Mule deer are common throughout the park and are the mammals most commonly seen on the rim. Besides that there can be found:
*Hundred species of birds
*Countless insects and arachnids.
Just have a look around!
Rafting the Colorado river has always been, and continues to be, the dream of many. While present day commercial tour operators make this dream a reality, albeit an expensive one, many intrepid explorers sought to raft the mighty river before such commercial assistance was available.
In 1928, Glen and Bessie Hyde sought to become the first husband and wife team to raft the Colorado through the Canyon. For some reason, they decided to attempt this without life jackets. The Hyde's never completed their journey and disappeared somewhere between Hermit Rapid and the conclusion of their attempted journey. A search team discovered their boat, a bit scraped up but intact, and all their possessions. The Hydes were never found.
Mule trains are used to transport people and supplies to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The mules are well trained and do not spook easily, but a few rules are to be observed when a team of mules approaches. The first of which is that the mules have the right of way. When walking on establshed trails that are also used by mules and the drivers that accompany then, stand to the side when a mule team approaches. Also, stay quiet while they approach so that they are not spooked.
In certain areas, the ruins of ancient cliff dwellings are visible. Artifacts have been found in some of these locations. It is against the law to take any of these artifacts, or even to move them. Leave the area undisturbed and notify a park ranger.
The biggest drawback of the Grand Canyon is the crowds it attracts. There are few actual trails into the canyon, and they are well traveled, therefore crowds are an annoyance that must be tolerated. This photo was taken in March well before the crowds arrive--I can only imagine the horrors of a June thicket of tourists at the South Rim (shudder).
We decided to go to Grand Canyon on a labor day weekend within the same week, on that Wednesday...more
With only 1 place to stay at the bottom of the canyon in a national park that has over 5 million...more
Parashant National Monument, PO Box 910088, St. George, UT 84791-0088, Arizona, United States
Good for: Solo