It’s Grand!

Rock squirrel at the Grand Canyon

This rock squirrel hangs out at a scenic outlook at the Grand Canyon. He's got his eye on another vista -- your backpack full of snacks.

We made a detour to the Grand Canyon on our drive home in September from California (Yes, I’ll be wringing posts out of that trip for some time to come!)  It was well worth the four hours’ deviation from our dash (just ask a certain highway patrolman in New Mexico) back to Kansas City, even though we’d visited the Grand Canyon before.   We visited the South Rim, which is about 80 miles north of Flagstaff, in northern Arizona. The North Rim is where that transparent walkway juts out over the canyon. You will not be getting me on that!

Backpack thief!

Rangers caution against giving the rock squirrels any food. It isn't good for them, and they can bite. This rock squirrel (Spermophilus variegatus) thinks he can sneak in, grab a granola bar and scamper away.

You feel very small and insignificant standing near the edge looking out at a vast display of millions of years of erosion.  One of these days I may actually make the grueling hike to the bottom.  My sister and her family have done it.  Others I know have rafted the Colorado River, which looks like a skinny ribbon at the bottom. It’s supposed to be a spectacular trip.  If you’ve done either, please comment below and tell me about your experiences. If you’ve been to the rim of the Grand Canyon, please comment.  If you’ve never been, add your thoughts. If you think it’s a just an overrated ditch, let me know, too. 

Here’s what the Grand Canyon National Park has to say about the Grand Canyon:

A powerful and inspiring landscape, the Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size; 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.


While standing at the edge of this breath-taking sight, I got a cell phone call from my son.  I’d forgotten my phone was even on, and even though I was glad to hear from him, it didn’t seem quite right to be talking when I should have been deep in contemplation. But that didn’t stop me from getting an update on his job search. (He got a job!)  I was one of the few speaking English there, too. There were probably a dozen languages being spoken.   Five million tourists visit every year. I was thrilled to be among that number.

Link to the National Park website: Grand Canyon National Park   Part One of the California Road Trip Saga is Surf’s up.

Tourists at the Grand Canyon.

Tourists at the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon. Everywhere you look, it's grand!

Pronghorn antelope.

Pronghorn antelope graze near the Grand Canyon.

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6 Comments

Filed under Animals, Life, National Parks, Nature, Personal, Photography, Travel

6 responses to “It’s Grand!

  1. The last time I was at the Grand Canyon was during spring break in college. We made it about 3/4 of the way down before turning back. It was hot and the amount of water you need to carry makes the trip pretty grueling. My husband Doug has floated it many times when he was river rafting guide. I wish I had known him then! It’s a magnificent place.

    Do you think we can persuade him to re-visit his rafting days for old times’ sake? We’d tag along to keep him company. See how I have jumped on your dream trip. Cathy

  2. Denise Sherman

    My husband, two children and I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up from the south rim on July 5, 2000. It was the most grueling hike ever despite having trained for 2 months before we went. We started the hike at 5:30 am and finished at 7:00 pm. The temperature at the beginning was in the 50’s and reached 100 in the afternoon. Carrying our own water and food with us, we had to pace ourselves carefully. There were several hikers who got overheated and had to be helped out of the canyon. Our muscles were so sore and tight by the end of the hike we could barely walk. Ryan was 7 and Natalie was 10. They did the best and Ryan led the group the whole way out. Tough kid. Todd and I were both 39 then. It was such a beautiful hike and we were so proud of ourselves for completing it that we didn’t even care how much we hurt. It was great!

    Thanks, Denise. I always marveled at your accomplishment. I think I’m doing great when I walk four miles on fairly flat terrain. Cathy

  3. Carolina Maine

    My girls loved your photos-especially the ones with the squirrel trying to get a snack. How cute!!!

  4. I have never been to the Grand Canyon, but I’ve seen it from about 30K feet in the air. Somehow I don’t think that has the same effect. It’s a goal of mine though!

  5. I’m afraid I haven’t the pleasure of experiencing the Grand Canyon… I must be thousands of miles from it. But thanks to your powerful photos, I got a glimpse. Maybe someday…

  6. Squirrels are just rats with furry tails, as far as I’m concerned. They appear innocuous and busy all the time, but I think they simply hang around with all the other members of the rat family, and use their nut gathering as a cover for spreading germs, disease and heaven knows what else! They leave the plague, pine flu and acornitis, wherever they park their nasty, little bodies. Let’s clean up our landscape by eliminating these pesky little critters now. You can lead the charge! Dear God in Heaven! I’ve seen them lurking in trees, parks and even on rooftops, just waiting to drop their nasty little bombs on us. They frighten and annoy me! Give a raccoon or possum anyday! Now those are furballs we can all get behind! Ta ta, AT.

    Annette, I know you love squirrels, so don’t be squirrelly! It’s driving me nuts. Cathy

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