Snowy Mountains and Cloudy Canyons

Northern Arizona Hiking - April 2005

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Fire and Ice
View from the top of Mount Elden overlooking Flagstaff with the San Francisco Peak to the right. The mountain has still not recovered from the Radio Fire of 1976.

Give me a Home where the Dinosaurs Roam
After a professor at the AZ History Convention did a paper on it, I had to break down and finally stop at the Flintstone's village tourist trap on the way to the Grand Canyon. The Goatasaurus was vicious. Nearly chomped a finger off when I tried to pet it. Did you know that the Flintstones were... the first primetime animated TV series and the first TV couple to be shown sleeping in the same bed.

Cloudburst at Lookout Studio
Stormy weather caused churning streams of clouds to flow over the Grand Canyon's south rim and break over the cliff walls like ocean waves. Lookout Studio was designed by famed architect Mary Jane Colter in 1914 and was modeled after local Anasazi ruins.

Look Down from Lookout
Cloudy weather obscures the normally clear view of Indian Gardens and Plateau Point that is had from the upper balcony of Lookout Studio. Bright Angel Canyon can be faintly seen in the distance with clouds breaking on the summit of Budda Temple to the left. The tip of the lower balcony is below.

Hotel in the Clouds
The foggy weather made the hundred year-old El Tovar hotel appear to be floating in the clouds.

Inside and Out at Hermit's Rest
Another Mary Jane Colter creation, Hermit's Rest was designed to look like the thrown-together abode of a hermit. The inside is modeled after a cave-like alcove with a small fireplace tucked into the corner.

Hermit's Rainbow
While hiking down Hermit's Trail in the rain, the storm suddenly broke to reveal a huge double rainbow stretching across the canyon. Named for local hermit-turned-tour guide Louis Boucher, the trail was used by the Fred Harvey company until the Bright Angel Trail was opened to the public in 1928.

Desert View Watchtower from Tanner Trail
From the depths of Tanner Canyon, the four-story Desert View Watchtower is barely a bump on the South Rim (upper right). The Tanner trail was blazed by horse thieves who used it to sneak stolen stock between Arizona and Utah. It is one of the roughest canyon trails that I have been on - steep, overgrown, and often covered with golfball-size rubble. On my way back up, I helped carry the pack of a guy whose knee had given out on the nasty climb.

Tower and Rim
Built in 1932, Desert View Watchtower was one of Mary Jane Colter's last Grand Canyon buildings (Ok, I'm a big Colter fan). Perched on the canyon rim, the tower was inspired by those found in Anasazi ruins at Mesa Verde. The inside of the tower is decorated with paintings by famed Hopi artist, Fred Kaboti. The Tanner trail lies in the canyon below the tower and the Colorado River can been seen in the distance.

Powell Monument
Located near Hopi Point on the South Rim, the Powell Monument honors John Wesley Powell and party who made the first successful river trip through the Grand Canyon in 1869. Powell later went on the become the head of both the United State Geological Survey and the Bureau of Ethnology where he made lasting contributions to geology, ethnology, and arid land studies.

Kick'in Down the Kaibab
View from one of the more scenic (and more scary) sections of the South Kaibab trail just below Skeleton Point. Like the Hermit Trail, the South Kaibab was built in the 1920s to avoid the toll charged by Ralph Cameron to use the Bright Angel Trail. Bright Angel Canyon (site of Phantom Ranch) can be seen across the river below.

Bridge to the Past
The old 'Black Bridge' on the Colorado River sits near the site of an even older Ancesteral Puebloan ruin. The bridge was built in 1928 AD and the pueblo around 1100AD. Archeaologists are uncertain if the Ancestral Puebloans offered souvenir t-shirts to visitors. The Colorado was exceptionally muddy compared to previous visits (perhaps due to run-off from the recent storm).