Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Grand Canyon, AZ - Views from the South Rim

This was my third time to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Although I have never been to the North Rim, I have read a few times that the views from the South Rim are much better. This time around I would have preferred to visit the North Rim, but again I’m here in Northern Arizona during winter and the North Rim closes between October and May.

The Colorado River down below in the Grand Canyon

The guardrails at the scenic overlooks were helpful with all the ice on the ground

But for pictures I much prefer those places that had no guardrails and allowed me to get really close to the edge of canyon

On the edge of the Grand Canyon

I'd say that for pictures, the late afternoon sun was best, especially on the east side of the South Rim

Colorado River in the distance at sun set

The typical view from the South Rim

The North Rim is covered in pine forests and it’s a thousand feet higher then the South Rim. The climate on the North Rim is much wetter, it receives on the average 28 inches of rain and 140 inches of snow per year.

I still have to get out to the North Rim one of these days. I rode past the North Rim on my motorcycle in 2006 but didn’t have enough time to enter the park. If you don’t like crowds, the North Rim is isolated, so it has less visitors and you can still drive your own vehicle through the North Rim. Unlike the South Rim where you have to park your vehicle and use the park's shuttle to get around the park in the summer months. Even though the two rims are only 10 miles apart by air, it takes a few hours to drive from one rim to the other because by pavement it’s about 215 miles.

The South Rim is beautiful, I took hundreds of pictures. I can only post a few here.

Colorado River and a unique rock formation in the canyon

The Watch Tower in the distance at Desert View Point

A helicopter over the Colorado River

A helicopter flying over the Grand Canyon

A monument to John Powell

In the morning and early afternoon the sun at the Grand Canyon was strong, the temps felt warm, having already gotten a slight sun burn two days earlier I decided to keep the sun off my face with a nice cowboy hat

In the late afternoon the temps started to drop, the cowboy hat was replaced with a warm wool hat and more layers were added

The weather at the Grand Canyon can be unpredictable in the winter time, it's good to be prepared and bring many layers as the temperatures can warm up quickly throughout the day, but also fall quickly when the sun starts to set. I’m still surprised how strong the sun is here, even at the end of December. Since I moved to Colorado, sun protection is no longer something I only think about during summer months. And brimmed hats are an ideal way to keep your head in the shade -plus, cowboy hats look cool!

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