Grand Canyon Western Rim: Guano Point

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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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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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Grand Canyon Western Rim: Skywalk & Eagle Point

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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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Passing 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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We made a beeline for the Skywalk and were able to get on line before it was too long. The queue wound around museum displays on  Hualapai culture, so even though it didn’t move very fast, it seemed like it was our turn to go out on the skywalk in just a few minutes.

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The Skywalk is a horseshoe shaped glass bridge suspended 4000 feet above the Grand Canyon. Through an amazing feat of engineering, the Hualapai have afforded visitors a view of the canyon that can’t be had elsewhere.

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For those with a fear of heights, the glass panels at the edge are frosted. You can walk on those and clutch the railing if you suddenly find yourself paralyzed by vertigo and unable to continue.  And they claim the Skywalk is strong enough to hold seventy 747 planes, so your family is not likely to cause the collapse of the structure, whether you walk on the clear or the frosted glass.

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You are not allowed any personal belongings on the walk, but there are photographers present who will capture the moment for you. And conveniently, the walk lets out in the gift shop where you can purchase the photos and have the files e-mailed to your address. Yes, this is something of a tourist trap…you can get the non-skywalk version of admission and enjoy the more traditional views, but we were glad to have the experience this once.

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Afterwards, we stood by the rim and took some photos of Eagle Point before moving on to the next stop. Eagle point is named for a formation in the opposite canyon wall that looks like an eagle with its wings outstretched.

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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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Happy 103rd Birthday, NPS!

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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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On August 25th, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act, establishing the National Park Service as an agency of the Department of Interior. Though President Wilson is known more for his foreign policy (WWI took place during his administration,) he left an enduring conservation legacy. Aside from The NPS, Wilson also established several national parks including Hawaii Volcanoes, Rocky Mountain and the Grand Canyon.

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Happy birthday to the National Park Service!

Grand Canyon National Park: Grandview Point

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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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Two hours before sunset on our first evening in the Grand Canyon, we met up with Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris in Tusayan for the Grand Sunset Tour. Unlike the other tour company we used this trip, this was a well-run operation and we enjoyed this introduction to the park immensely.

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Our guide was a local with ties to the Navajo and very knowledgeable about the native flora and fauna. He took us through Kaibab National Forest via the unpaved historic stagecoach roads, pausing whenever someone glimpsed an elk or deer through the trees so we could all see.

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Our first stop was the steel Grandview Lookout Tower. This was built in 1936 as a fire watchtower by the Civilian Conservation Corps. We climbed the 80 foot tower to see the view from the top.

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We got back into the jeep and continued along the gravel road until it met up with the park road.  We got out at Moran Point where we could see the river and Grandview Point and then got back in the jeep to travel to Grandview for the sunset.

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The Grandview is the southernmost point on the South Rim and the farthest from the Colorado River. Because of its position, the drop-offs here are less steep with more intervening buttes and ravines than in spots closer to the river. This makes it an ideal place to watch the sunset as it washes over all the nooks and crannies in a colorful display.

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There was a hotel built here in 1895 for Grand Canyon tourists, before the construction of El Tovar and other Grand Canyon Village facilities. It only lasted a few years and we saw no remains of it when we were there.

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

Location: Arizona

Designation: National Park

Date designation declared: 1/11/1908

Date of my visit: 8/19/2014

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Grand Canyon National Park: Desert View

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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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Desert View is 25 miles east of Grand Canyon village. The park’s shuttle system does not extend this far, so you will need a car to visit this section. We were on the lackluster van tour I mentioned in my Yavapai post, so having a ride to Desert View was one of the few highlights of that tour.

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The main attraction, aside from the Grand Canyon views, is the stone Desert View Watchtower designed by Mary Colter in 1932. This building, like the other Colter buildings in Grand Canyon National Park, is a National Historic Landmark and was designed to blend into its surroundings.

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It is a replica of an ancient Puebloan Watchtower, with 85 steps leading to an observation platform at the top. The walls are adorned with murals painted by a Hopi artist.

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

Location: Arizona

Designation: National Park

Date designation declared: 1/11/1908

Date of my visit: 8/20/2014

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View of Cedar Mountain Mesa from the Watchtower

Grand Canyon National Park: Yavapai Point

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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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On one of our days in the Grand Canyon, we took a tour that was not the wisest investment we’ve ever made. The van was late picking us up, the guide was nice but lacked common sense, and the tour ended abruptly when an elderly participant cut a gash in his forehead necessitating a trip to the medical center.

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Though I had a moment’s vindication when out of all twelve people on the minibus, I alone was able to dial 911 on my Samsung (leaving eleven iPhone users in the dust), we would have been better off using the park shuttles to get to the points we did see on the tour. Live and learn…but we did still spend the day in the wondrous Grand Canyon.

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One of the interesting stops on the tour was Yavapai Point. Since we were on a tour we didn’t have to worry about parking…there wasn’t much. Yavapai is the Northernmost point in this part of the South Rim, is closest to the Colorado River and has excellent panoramic views.

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Three large canyons converge on the Colorado River here. Directly opposite Yavapai Point is Bright Angel Canyon.

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We looked around the visitor center before moving on to the next stop. There is a geological museum inside which includes a topographic relief model of the canyon.

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

Location: Arizona

Designation: National Park

Date designation declared: 1/11/1908

Date of my visit: 8/20/2014

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At a stop on the way back, the tour guide encouraged us to stage this photo where we seem to be rescuing hubby from plunging to his death. At this angle, you can see the wide ledge behind him. He was fine. But when an elderly man hopped over the wall to try the same thing, he lost his balance and hit his head on a rock. Best not to fool around on the rim…better safe than sorry.

Coconino National Forest: Bell Rock Trail

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Welcome back to National Parks and 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 Coconino National Forest surrounds the towns of Sedona and Flagstaff in Arizona with landscapes ranging from red rocks and deserts to pine forests. When planning our Sedona vacation, we’d come across a Mom site that listed two favorite family-friendly hikes: Devil’s Bridge and Bell Rock. We didn’t realize that both of these trails were within the National Forest boundaries, didn’t find the park’s website and just got directions at the hotel.

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After hiking to the Devil’s Bridge in the morning, we decided to try the Bell Rock Trail in the afternoon. This trail head was much easier to find than the Devil’s Bridge trail…there are signs pointing to the parking lot off the main highway in town.

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From the parking lot we took a nice walk up the wide, flat Bell Rock Pathway enjoying awesome views of Bell Rock & Courthouse Butte.  We shared the trail with cyclists and a lot of other casual hikers. There was no shade and we quickly tired from the August heat.

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After a while, we came to a bench under a shade tree. My daughter and I relaxed there with a dehydrated cyclist while my husband continued on to the Bell Rock trail to climb up the rock.

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While he was off on his rock climbing adventure, we saw a roadrunner in the path. My daughter had been hoping to see one the whole trip. Alas, he was too speedy for me to capture on ‘film.’

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Hubby saw a rattlesnake up on Bell Rock. Thankfully, it didn’t pay him any mind. At one point, we managed to get a signal and he messaged us to look up to see him waving from an elbow high in the formation.

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To see my other Sedona posts, click below:

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Location: Courthouse Vista loop off HWY 179, Sedona, AZ 86336

Designation: National Forest

Date designation declared: 7/2/1908

Date of my visit: August 23, 2014

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