If I headed home directly, I would be at our front door in 2 days. But how could I pass up time at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon? No, stay one night. And the South Rim of the Grand Canyon? No, stay two nights. Then I’ll join my partner and friends in Sedona for a few days!?! No reason why not; do it!
On my way to the north rim, six California condors were at Navajo Bridge. I am always amazed how people will walk on the bridge and not see these birds till some of us point them out to these people. Then it is almost a mini science lesson, or what we often call a teachable moment.
I camped at Demotte Campground north of the national park because everyone seemed to be at the Grand Canyon this fall! I drove to Point Imperial, took a short hike, then drove to the north rim to hike the Bright Angel Point Trail before having dinner at the lodge. That night was the coldest night of my entire trip. Frost on front windshield in the morning is the reason I always carry an ice scraper. As I left the campground it was 37 degrees at 8:00am.
I drove north and stopped at two Arizona Trail trailheads. The AZ Trail is a 800 mile hiking trail from Mexico to Utah. I know someone who will be hiking it next spring and I offered to provide support as he crossed some trailheads. Here was an opportunity for me to be aware of these two trailheads. My next stop was at the Navajo Bridge again to view condors. There were 4 condors on this day.
And now to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon…
Finally I drove to Desert View Campground on the eastern side of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. I checked in, made dinner and hit the sack.
The next day I had breakfast, viewed oil paintings at Kolb Studio, drove to the visitor center and hiked 3.3 miles on the rim trail to Yaki Point. I attended the Hawk Watch International basic information presentation with 10 people. I was the only one to join the presenter at the area where the Hawk Watch International seasonal workers were watching for hawks and recording their results.
The young woman who gave the info to the park visitors is from Argentina and lives in Mexico. The other 2 guys are from USA. They will be at Yaki Point for a month and this is done every year. Check hawkcount.org for all hawk watch results everywhere, not just at Yaki Point at the Grand Canyon. They record sightings, compare the data with other years to see what birds are migrating through the area west of Yaki Point.
Can I get a photo of any of these birds? I added a 1.4 teleconverter to my 200-500mm lens and it was really a challenge to get a good photo. There were American kestrels, peregrine falcons, red-tailed hawk, and California condors. Thankfully the workers would identify the birds for me as some birds only looked like white or black dots in the air! The condors flew closer to where I was standing on the rim so I tried to capture a photo or two of them! Here is a photo of a condor:
As my trip drew to a close, I asked myself: did I accomplish my goals? Yes, I did. One, visit a national park new to me: Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Two, visit my friends in Idaho. Three, visit Bears Ears National Monument. I visited many other places and loved being outdoors, camping, with a new something happening each day; no routine!
There is a big world for me to see and the USA has many spectacular places to visit too! I hope you get out to visit some of the places also … go for it! Do not put off your goal(s) whether it is to travel or do something else! Go for it!