Hephaestus's Blog


Hiking Grand Canyon, Part Two
May 7, 2015, 20:02
Filed under: Recreation

Saturday

On Saturday (4/17) we decided to do a more strenuous hike, as we were more fully recovered from our late night drive into Grand Canyon on Thursday. So, we took the Grandview Trail from Grandview Point, which, back at the turn of the last century, hosted a hotel called … wait for it… the Grandview Hotel. Not very imaginative nomenclature, if you ask me.

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Our destination, Horseshoe Mesa, from a point very near the rim.

In the above photo, you can see Horseshoe Mesa, a bifurcated shelf of Redwall limestone, topped by an oblong butte made of very eye-catching Supai group mud- and sandstone.

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After passing the pretty flower above, we entered the Coconino sandstone, just like on the previous hike. An interesting feature of this rock, not seen in any of the other layers in Grand Canyon, is the presence of what is known as cross-bedding. Cross-bedding is where different layers of sedimentary rock lay in sometimes opposing directions. This is caused by the rock’s being formed in huge dunes, which every so often changed orientation.

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A nice example of cross-bedding in the Coconino.

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At the point where we left the Coconino and entered the Hermit formation, there was this sheer cliff, the top two thirds being Coconino sandstone, and the bottom third consisting of the red Hermit shale.

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Pretty purple flowers.

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Even prettier red ones.

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Veins of red in an otherwise grey rock.

A word on photos: many of the pictures I took turned out to be somewhat overexposed, but, by the magic of digital alteration, I can have my computer alter the exposure. However, I have attempted, as much as possible, to present you with these images in their original, unaltered format.

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That oblong red butte, up close and personal.

It took us a couple of hours to get down to the mesa, but I didn’t take all that many photos, and most of those I did take were of more botany and geology, so here we are.

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You can almost believe you’re not in a canyon at all.

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Who took the picture?

After a satisfying lunch amid the glory of the canyon, we headed back up the trail, no small feat considering we had to go over four and a half kilometers across and 750 meters up to return to our starting point.

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The mesa played host to cedar (2 photos above) as well as this barrel cactus.

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Thar’s Uranium in them thar hills.

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And the mesa recedes into the distance.

Sunday

On Sunday (4/18), as we had just done two pretty serious hikes in a row, we decided to forego any unnecessary walking and take the bus west along the South Rim. I took very few pictures, however.

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Birds, possibly ravens.

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The mighty Colorado from a long way away.

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Looking kind of wistful there, dad.

(I’m afraid the retouching of the above photo had little to no effect on the background.)

And that concludes my April 2015 travelogue. See you next Monday with something with less images!

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