Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grand Canyon, Sweet!

From our remarkably successful visit to the penny slots in Las Vegas, we headed north to the Grand Canyon. We’ve been to this national park before, but that time we visited the south rim, where all the tourists go.


The view from the north rim isn’t all that different. If you look closely at this image you may be able to see tourists 10 miles away on the south rim. But as they say, sometimes getting there is half the fun.

Getting to the north rim of the Grand Canyon from Sin City involves going north into Arizona, then further north into Utah, and then south back into Arizona. There’s only one road into the park and the closest campground with water, electric and sewer hookups is 40 miles north of the park. We could have roughed it and stayed closer, but who wants to live without water, electric and sewer hookups. No cable TV though, but the wifi on my smart phone is working okay.


I’m just going to throw in some random pretty canyon pictures while I regale you with my observations of the north rim.

The drive from the campground to the park, although 40 miles, went through some very pretty forests and meadows. Our first surprise was the herd of bison grazing along the road. We didn’t stop to take pictures since everyone knows what a bison looks like. but the story is interesting. In 1905 a local cattleman thought crossing bison with beef cattle would produce better meat. (He was ahead of his time because beefalo came along years later.) So he moved a herd of bison to the area that was already cattle range and which eventually became the park entrance, and told the animals to go at it. It didn’t work and the effort failed. The bison, however, apparently liked the grass, so they stayed, and multiplied.


Now there’s a herd of about 300 (and growing) bison in the park. (Not in the canyon—bison are not good climbers.) The National Park Service considers the bison an invasive species since they didn’t exist there naturally, and claim the bison’s big feet are messing up the meadow.  Watch out bison!


The other surprise was that , even though it takes hours to get to the north rim from pretty much anywhere, there were a lot of tourists here. Not as many as on the south rim, to be sure, but lots of tourists just the same.

In previous posts I’ve mentioned the heat we’ve experienced in this swing through the west. Well, the north rim is quite a bit higher than the surrounding countryside and the temperature is much more pleasant. It went down to 59 last night, so it was the first night in about a month we didn’t need the air conditioner to get a good night’s sleep. But we did need an extra blanket.

Just to be sure we don’t get too comfortable, we’re heading to a campground near Sedona tomorrow and the forecast temperature is 108.


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