The Grand Canyon Is Closed!
One of the world’s greatest natural wonders has now closed to the public, as the coronavirus has made it too dangerous to those who live and work there.
As Newswer reports:
“It is a relief to a lot of the people in the park and community members,” says Grand Canyon spokeswoman Joelle Baird. The Navajo Nation had pleaded with the federal government to deny tourists access to the Grand Canyon to keep its confirmed cases of coronavirus among residents from rising. Forty new cases pushed the total to 214 as of Wednesday while the death total remained at seven, according to tribal officials. “The closure of the park took longer than it should’ve, but we’re glad it’s finally closed,” Navajo President Jonathan Nez said. The Grand Canyon closure includes a state highway that runs through the park’s South Rim entrance and the East Rim on to the Navajo reservation. The road will be open to local traffic only.
That sounds like a very smart decision…
A Hike to the Bottom Of The Grand Canyon!
Also forbidden now is hiking to the bottom of the canyon, which has been done by many – sure, it’s more than six miles down, but what an adventure it is…here’s a look at what’s involved:
Here is the panoramic view of the natural wonder that is the Grand Canyon – from the southern rim, where the National Parks Service maintains an incredible spot to see the canyon…
I posted before about my trip to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon – pictures can’t capture the enormity of it, or the beauty, but here are a few attempts – first with a video that shows how the canyon unfolds before you, then a few shots that attempt to capture its magnitude:
See this last shot, and that vein of green at the bottom of the canyon? That’s a campground – and you can hike down to it!
I found out that you can put your name in a lottery to get reservations to stay on the canyon floor overnight, as they do NOT recommend hike all the way down and then back out in a single day. Here is what that campground looks like:
There are several different ways to hike into the canyon, and there are a lot of signs that not only tell you what you are getting into, but provide you with plenty of warnings on how to tackle the hike.
This is an important point, as over 250 people are rescued from the canyon each year. As the Park Service notes on their website:
“The difference between a great adventure in Grand Canyon and a trip to the hospital (or worse) is up to YOU. DO NOT attempt to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day, especially during the months of May to September.”
As you can see, it’s a steep hike down! I found one well-documented trail to head down on, and while I didn’t have time to go all the way to the bottom, I went for almost two miles, and it was invigorating!
Hiking The Bright Angel Trail!
The Bright Angel Trail begins at the southern rim close to the visitors center, and day hikes range in distance up to 12 miles round trip. At the top, the path is wide and easy to walk, but as you can see it is also a natural trail, so don’t expect anything paved….
The other thing not to expect? Guard rails of any kind! You are right at the edge of the canyons, so don’t forget to keep your eyes on where you are going!
I started hiking down, and was impressed with how well maintained the trail was, considering we are entering one of the world’s seven wonders…and if you want to see where I was headed, look to see one of my fellow hinders down below me…
Very soon you round a corner and come across a small tunnel in the rock, and then look to the right and you will see a small “porthole” as well:
So, Just How Far Did I Go?
As I mentioned, I planned a day trip to see the canyon, so hadn’t planned to do any actual hiking.
For that reason, I descended into the canyon for about a mile and a half, and then turned around. I didn’t have any supplies with me, and while it was only 80 degrees out at the time, I felt it was best to do it when I was fully prepared. If you wonder just how hot it can get in the canyon, this is a good warning for hikers:
I will say that the descent is not bad at all, since you criss cross the steep terrain as you head down – but it does take too long to go down and then back up in a single day, so an overnight stay is the way to go – and with views like this, it’s a “once in a lifetime” opportunity…take a look:
This is funny to me: you will come across signs warning you to give the right of way to mules, because you can also take mule trips to the bottom of the canyon as well!
However, be warned that these book up more than a year in advance, so plan ahead! And yes, keep your eyes peeled to the trail for “evidence” that mules do indeed hike here as well!
I had a great time doing my mini-hike into the canyon, and I also posted about my trip to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon – I got there by taking a train from the small town of Williams, Arizona – a two and a half hour trip that is a blast:
This is the way to see the Grand Canyon – the train ride is fun, the scenery if beautiful, and there’s no car traffic! Plus, they drop you off a short 5-minute walk to the rim, where the majesty of the Grand Canyon is unveiled:
Even though we can’t hike right now, we can settle in and watch one of cinema’s Masters with his ONLY Best Picture!
“Rebecca” Goes “Hitch Hiking”!
My “hitch hiking” series celebrates one of the world’s most spectacular hikes with a classic Alfred Hitchcock movie.
“Rebecca” is the 1940 psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was Hitchcock’s first American project, and his first film under contract with legendary Hollywood Producer David O. Selznick.
It won the Academy Award for Best Picture – here is the trailer touting that, as well as showcasing the plot of the film:
Laurence Olivier stars as the brooding, aristocratic widower Maxim de Winter and Joan Fontaine is the young woman who becomes his second wife – but what happened to his first wife Rebecca?
“Rebecca” won two Academy Awards, Best Picture and Cinematography, out of a total 11 nominations. Olivier and Fontaine were both Oscar-nominated for their respective roles as were Hitchcock and the screenwriters.
There you have it, another in my “Hitch hiking” series, and if you want to see more of the Grand Canyon, here is a look at my train trip to the southern rim:
It’s a ton of fun, so once it opens again, it’s worth the trip! Here’s how you take a train to the Grand Canyon!
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Let’s all support each other and get through this health crisis facing the planet.
I will update everyone when the Canyon re-opens!