Sunday, November 15, 2020

Photo Sunday: How Grand is that Canyon?

It's been 6 weeks since our abortive trip into the Grand Canyon, so I'm a bit slow at getting this post up! The trip was meant to be 4 nights, 5 days, dropping from the North Rim to Tapeats Creek and Deer Falls. As it turned out, it was one glorious, stunning night 1000' down on the Esplanade. Given how overwhelmingly scenic that was, it might have been just as well I started slow.

Speaking of starting slow, this Photo Friday post seems to have taken until Sunday to get up. Life's just that way.


On Sept. 24, we met up at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (for the record, we'd all been isolating and/or had COVID tests, knowing it would be beyond difficult to maintain distances).

The drive from Kanab, UT, to the North Rim Visitors Center (closed due to COVID) was a reminder that it was fall, and the North Rim is high.

The aspens were turning beautiful shades of yellow and red.

Bright Angel Point gave a good look at the deep gash that the North Kaibab Trail follows to the river. Our route would be less well-traveled.

A couple of hours of driving on dirt roads took us to our night's camp at Indian Hollow, next to the trailhead so we could make an early start. It also covered our cars with dust, thoroughly baptizing my new Prius.

After a short night, we hit the trail at 6:13 a.m., definitely before sunrise. Despite the late season and the colorful fall-like aspens, daytime temperatures below the rim, even a little way below, were up around 90. We wanted to make as much progress as we could before that heat hit us.

First light colors the rim as we drop down to the first terrace.

By the time we were dropping through the Kayenta formation the the Esplanade, the sun was up.


From above, the Esplanade looked flat and easy. The reality was endless detours and twists to pass above the heads of the canyons that slice into it.

We'd been on the trail about three hours when it became evident that one of us couldn't go on. We found a great spot to wait out the day, and then two of us got cocky and went for a 6-mile dayhike (as it turned out).

"Boob Rocks" marked our turn-around point.

By the time the dayhikers made it back to camp, it was fairly clear that injuries were going to keep any of us from continuing to the river, even had we wanted to split the party (we didn't). Instead, we enjoyed the most amazing evening and morning. The Canyon, I think, is always hazy, but smoke from fires near and far made it especially so that evening.

Relaxing in camp after dinner

This star-and-moonlight shot was about a 4-second exposure, with the camera very carefully propped on my gear.

The author enjoying the morning java.

Finally, we got moving, to finish enjoying the morning while we hiked, in hopes of not getting wholly cooked on the 1000' climb.

It was good to see the trail sign! From there, it was about a 1/4-mile hike to the cars, through the rim-top forest, which gives no sign that there is a giant hole in the ground just yards away!

Hope you enjoyed a little trip into the Grand Canyon!

All images and text ©Rebecca M. Douglass, unless otherwise indicated.
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!


  1. As a member of the party, I really enjoyed seeing your pics. You do a much better job of photography and editing than I. Looking back on that trip now, I marvel at how beautiful that singular night was, and how I seem to have accepted the failure to reach Deer Creek. All for the best, I suppose. I don't like thinking about hiking further, in or out, with the lower leg issues I had. Thanks for being a great backpacking partner!

    1. My pleasure, and you remind me that I need to share the best photos with you guys! I do want to go back for more, but I have no regrets about how the trip turned out.

  2. Thanks! There is so much to the Canyon, from all angles, that I will definitely be going back (I've been to the rim a couple of times on each side, but never hiked into it more than a short distance until now. It's seductive).

  3. Love the pix - makes for great armchair travel :-)

  4. Hi Rebecca - well I admire you ... just amazing hiking land ... so pleased you were able to achieve most of the hike ... stunning photos - thanks, loved seeing them ... Hilary

    1. Thanks, Hilary! That corner of the world is maybe my favorite anywhere, a bit in competition with the high Sierra Nevada mountains :).


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