First Friday Photo: Grand Canyon Part 3

I'm linking up this week with the First Friday Photo bloghop from Many Worlds From Many Minds. If you like to post photos, join in and help Eden Mabee grow this start-up hop.

Part 1 of this series was up on the South Rim. Part 2 took us down the Bright Angel trail and out the Tonto West Trail to Horn Creek.

Below the Rim, Days 2 & 3: Tonto West to Monument and Granite Rapids

One thing about cowboy camping (no tent) is that you wake up when it starts to get light. Our first morning I was up and prowling for photos by 6.

The South Rim is somewhere up there.

Horn Creek

Eventually we got on the trail, with about 8 miles of the Tonto West to cover and temperatures rising. This part doesn't need a lot of narration!

Love the geometric daggers of the agave.

Last year's blossom. The plant dies after blooming.

Indian Paintbrush is a reliable flower just about anywhere, and one of my favorites.

Some species of prickly pear.

Despite the distance we've come down, the river is far below.

Like Horn Creek, Salt Creek was flowing but not with water you want to drink. As the name suggests, it's heavily laden with minerals.

A fat and happy collared lizard.

Eventually we climbed a gratuitous hill and could see Monument Camp 300' below us, a drop we could have done without.
The building bottom center is the large outhouse, with 2 composting toilets.

Monument had abundant running water--and neither uranium nor the kind of minerals you don't want to try to digest (still have to treat it, of course), which makes it an excellent camp. As it gets heavy use for that reason, it has semi-designated sites and an outhouse.
The best photo ops come twice a day--morning and evening.

Day 3

This was a semi-rest day, with about a 1.5-mile hike down Monument Creek to Granite Rapids. Even so, we started early, since the canyon promised to become a bake-oven later in the day.
The monument for which the canyon is named, presumably.

A pleasant amble (mostly in the dry wash; the stream disappeared not far below the monument, only to reappear much lower down) brought us to the river by about half past 8.

Granite Rapids. The mouth of the canyon has created a large delta, where both backpackers and rafters can camp, even at the same time, though we had it to ourselves.

Part of the fun of camping by the river is watching rafters go by, especially when there are rapids.

Brought back memories--and kind of made me grateful that when I rafted the river, there'd been no rain and the water was clear (that's not really a good thing, except for making one feel less gritty).

Most of the day there were no rafters, and we spent hours just watching the river roll by and the light change on the north side, eventually each cowering in our own patch of shade as the day heated up and the sun climbed high.

Every perfect day winds to an end. I found a lot of inner peace and quiet, sitting in the peace and quiet of the Canyon, frequently laying aside my book or notebook and just being there, doing nothing in the best possible way.

The whole series: Part 1 was up on the South Rim. Part 2 took us down the Bright Angel trail and out the Tonto West Trail to Horn Creek. Part 3 is Monument Canyon and Granite Rapids. Part 4 took us to Hermit Creek and Hermit Rapids, where we finally saw some decent wildflowers. Part 5 was the trip up the Hermit Trail and a few extra bits.

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2023
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  1. Ah, being within oneself in the Canyon. No better endeavor exists. It really doesn't matter is one is sitting by the river, or in another piece of shade, cooling off from the ever present heat. Nearly everything about the Canyon is a good thing. Thanks for sharing your pictures, and your story.

  2. These are just gorgeous. I think the monument one is a personal favorite...


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