Grand Canyon Western Rim: Guano Point

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Driving through Joshua Tree National Forest

When we were staying in Las Vegas for a couple of nights, we took a bus trip to the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon. The tour first stopped at the Hoover Dam (You can see my post on the Dam here,) then traveled through Joshua Tree National Forest to get to Grand Canyon West.

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Grand Canyon West is on Hualapai land and is not part of the National Park. Hualapai means ‘People of the Tall Pines.’ The Hualapai reservation was established in 1883.

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Once in Grand Canyon West, we needed to leave the tour bus and use the Hualapai operated shuttles to get around the park. There are three stops: The Skywalk at Eagle Point, Guano Point and a wild west city. We opted to explore the first two.

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After we’d had our thrills standing on the glass Skywalk over the Grand Canyon, we decided to leave that crowded area for the next stop on the Hualapai shuttle: Guano Point. While everyone was taking selfies at Eagle Point, we had Guano Point virtually to ourselves.

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At the cafe, we redeemed our lunch voucher that came with our tour for a nice BBQ meal and a yummy cookie for dessert. We sat in peace and quiet on the outside patio and ate before the ravens could descend on us.

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Then we walked the short Highpoint trail to fabulous 360 degree views of the canyon and the Colorado River. No view of the Grand Canyon is a bad view, but we thought they were even better here than at Eagle Point.

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We explored the remnants of the 1950s mining operation from which the point derives its name. Guano is bat poop and was used as an ingredient in fertilizer…and also in ladies cosmetics, back in the day! Yuck!

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There were buildings for the miners up here and also a tram that ran across the canyon, almost 9000 feet, to the bat cave. This turned out to be an unprofitable business venture and the mine was abandoned in 1960. The actual Bat Cave across the canyon is now in Grand Canyon National Park while Guano Point is on Hualapai land.

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To see my other posts on the Grand Canyon, please click the following links:

Location: Peach Springs, AZ 86434

Designation: Hualapai Reservation

Date designation declared: 1883

Date of my visit: 4/9/2017

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Elfreth’s Alley

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Dating back to 1702 Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest continuously inhabited street in the USA. There are 32 houses on the Philadelphia street which were built between 1728 and 1836. Numbers 124 and 126 house the Elfreth’s Alley Museum.

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The street is named for Jeremiah Elfreth, one of the blacksmiths who contributed his land to found a neighborhood for tradesmen close to the Delaware River waterfront. As industry changed, factories sprang up around Elfreth’s Alley, making it obsolete. In the 1930s, the Elfreth’s Alley Association formed to save the neighborhood from demolition.

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Now a National Historic Landmark, homeowners are required to maintain the buildings’ exterior in original condition. Many have modernized the necessities in the interior (kitchens and bathrooms) but have kept up the original fireplaces and such.

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Location: 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designation declared: 10/15/1966

Date of my visit: October 15, 2015

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Storm King Art Center

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Storm King Art Center is an outdoor sculpture museum and is part of the Hudson Valley National Heritage Area. It is named after the nearby  Storm King Mountain in Mountainville, New York.

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It contains one the largest collection of modern outdoor sculptures in the USA.

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The Art Center was founded in 1960 by Ralph E. Ogden, following his retirement from the Star Expansion Company. He began the center as a museum for Hudson River School paintings and showcased his collection of European sculptures around the main building.

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The center evolved into a 500-acre, open-air sculpture museum, blending the large scale modern sculptures into the landscapes.

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I visited Storm King on a field trip with my photography class in the Fall of 2015. The place is vast…you could walk around the grounds all day and still see only a fraction of the exhibits.

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To see my other posts from The Hudson Valley National Heritage Area, please click the links below:

  • DeWint House (Washington’s HQ at Tappan)
  • Camp Shanks
  • Storm King Arts Center
  • New Windsor Cantonment– Coming Soon!
  • Purple Heart Hall of Honor– Coming Soon!

Location: 1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, NY 12553

Designation: Museum

Date designated or established: 1960

Date of my visit: 10/11/2015

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Haleakalā National Park

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Haleakalā is Hawaiian for ‘House of the Sun.’ The demigod Maui is said to have imprisoned the sun here to lengthen the day. And so we took an afternoon excursion to the summit to watch the sun set from above the clouds.

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Haleakalā was originally part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, along with the two volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii, designated in 1916. In 1961, Haleakalā was broken out into a separate National Park.

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First we stopped at the Park Headquarters at 7000 feet. Our guide pointed out some ʻāhinahina (a type of Silversword plant found only on Haleakalā.) There was also a Nēnē crossing sign in front of the center…these Hawaiian geese had died out in the park, but were reintroduced by Boy Scouts in 1946.

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Our next stop was the Haleakalā Visitor Center at 9700 feet. This was a far as the tour bus could go and we would watch the sunset from here. The visitor center itself was closed as it is opens at dawn for the bigger sunrise crowd.

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We could see the observatory at the 10k ft summit. We walked towards it a bit while waiting for sunset and saw some birds running around in the lava fields.

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At first we thought they were the Nēnē we’d heard so much about, but upon closer inspection, they turned out to be Chukar. This is a type of pheasant, originally introduced into Hawaii for hunting. It has adapted well to the cold climate of the volcano’s summit.

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Before the sun set, there was mist rolling through the Haleakalā Crater. The crater is seven miles across and 2600 feet deep. We could only see part of it.

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Finally the sun began to set and paint the sky in rapidly changing hues. The fog rolled in and obscured it one moment and rolled out the next to reveal a diffused alien-looking sky.

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Maui Posts:
  • Kahului Harbor
  • Haleakalā National Park
  • ʻĪao Valley State Monument
  • Maui Tropical Plantation
  • Maui Ocean Center

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Location: 30000 Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI 96790

Designation: National Park 

Date established/designated: July 1, 1961

Date of my visit: April 14, 2019

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Zion National Park: Hidden Canyon

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After a morning of canyoneering, we were tired, but wanted to see more of the park. We asked our canyoneering guide, Chad, to suggest a good afternoon activity in the park that wasn’t too crowded. He suggested we hike the Hidden Canyon Trail.

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This hike starts at the Weeping Rock trail-head, which is also the start of the more ambitious Observation Point hike. The two trails share the same uphill path but then we took the turnoff to the right for Hidden Canyon.

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With a 940 ft elevation gain, it is fairly strenuous going up. We took the switchbacks slowly, pausing to take pictures frequently. The view of the main canyon was spectacular as we ascended.

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Then the path turned away from the main canyon and into a shaded valley. Here there were chains bolted into the wall for hikers to hold onto.

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My daughter and I opted not take this part of the trail, so we sat on a ledge and rested while we waited for my husband to continue.

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He said this section is not as daunting as it seems because the walk is banked in towards the cliff wall and the chains.

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Other Zion Posts:

IMG_8256Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 10, 2017IMG_8212

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The Aloha Tower – NRHP

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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The Aloha Tower is a lighthouse on Pier 9 of Honolulu Harbor. When it opened in September 1926 it was the tallest structure in Hawaii at 10 stories. It cost $160k to build, a huge sum at the time.

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Like the Hawaiian Statue of Liberty, the Aloha Tower welcomed immigrants for decades. During WWII, it was painted camouflage. Today, it has an observation deck on the 10th floor, is surrounded by the Aloha Tower Marketplace (part of Hawai‘i Pacific University,) and welcomes cruise ship tourists to the port of Honolulu.

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Oahu Posts:

Location: 155 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96813

Designation: National Register of Historic Places

Date established/designated: May 13, 1976

Date of my visit: April 13, 2019

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The Celery Farm Preserve Revisited

 

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I recently had the chance to visit the Celery Farm, this time in summer. It was a steamy day and there was a volunteer spraying garlic in the brush to keep the deer at bay. Unfortunately mosquitoes are undeterred by garlic, though the volunteer assured me that the dragonflies were eating the mosquitoes at this time of year.

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The Celery Farm is a 107-acre wetland preserve in Allendale, New Jersey. The park was once a celery farm and was part of the John Fell estate, dating back to the Revolutionary War era. You can see my post about the John Fell House, which is across the street from the preserve, by clicking here.

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In the 1950s, a non-profit organization called Fyke formed with the mission of saving some of Bergen County’s last undeveloped tracts of land. Today, this group maintains the trails and viewing platforms in the Celery Farm.

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The preserve is an important habitat for birds…over 240 species have been seen here and it is a breeding site for over 50 bird species. This visit I saw a lot of deer…they found plenty to munch on that hadn’t been sprayed with garlic.

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The main trail is an easy level loop around a large lake. In the summer, the reeds were so high in most places that the lake wasn’t visible.

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Location: Franklin Turnpike, Allendale, NJ 07401

Designation: Preserve and Bird Sanctuary

Date designated or established: 1952

Date of my visit: August 3, 2019

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