Return to the Red Rocks. Day 13: The disappearing canyon.

(Grand Canyon Village, Arizona)

6 December 2022

We had an early night, and I slept well but, when several of the neighbours were walking up and down outside (it’s a metal framed structure that makes noise) and talking loudly and excitedly, I still wanted them to just go away and let me get back to sleep. It wasn’t even 7am. Luckily, they did eventually depart and I did get back to sleep. As a result, it was a late start, with in-room coffee, before I demanded that we go for breakfast because I was hungry. I had the oatmeal today, which I’m sure used to be called ‘hiker’s hot oatmeal’…or maybe that’s a name we made up? (Oh. And for those who see the Coca Cola advert as the start of the festive season…the truck has been sighted here!)

Happily fed, I was no longer in a rush to do anything, so while Andrew showered, I sat in the balcony to read and wait for the train. It came through at exactly the same time – 1039am – accompanied by loud tugs on the horn, the dinging of the bells at the road crossings, and screeching metal-on-metal of the wheels as it went around the final corner.

Once that excitement was over, I got ready and we drove to the visitor centre, where we transferred to a park shuttle bus for the short ride to the South Kaibab trailhead.

The trail starts with a rapid descent, switchbacks taking you down the first section of canyon wall.

Then the views open up to the west as you continue to descend, but slightly less steeply, until you reach, Ooh-Aah point.

Then the route follows the ridge line, providing extensive views, all the way down to Cedar Ridge. We could see rain further down the canyon.

We walked out along the ridge but, by this time, rain or snow was moving in obscuring parts of the north rim and, as we has our lunch snacks, it started to rain and sleet on us too.

We soon started to head back up, giving way to the mule trains as they overtook us. The rain stopped for a bit and I took my coat off again…only to have to put it back on further up when the rain began again, and then turned to snow.

As we climbed, the canyon gradually disappeared. We saw more birds (Woodhouse’s scrub jay, robins, sparrows, ravens, mountain chickadees) but unusually this trip we haven’t seen any critters, such as squirrels. I did see some kind of fossilised animal track in a rock at the side of the trail. The prints wound across it, but I still haven’t identified them.

Back at the top, with tired legs, we caught the shuttle bus back to the visitor centre, where I got a mocha and a chocolate muffin (it was huge – we shared it) and we drove back to our room. Sometime later, having dried off, we went for dinner at the Maswik pizza pub, before turning in for the night. It’s still cloudy, so no photography tonight, but we did pass a deer on it way back to the room – it was munching on the grass just outside.

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