Grand Canyon 2006

We intended to make a car trip this Spring down to Yellowstone, only to find out that it was going to be (mostly) closed until late May, where the week we had available was mid-April. So, instead we decided to see the Grand Canyon. It was the first time for all of us.

It's roughly a 12-hour drive from the SF Bay Area to the Grand Canyon, and we decided to take our time getting out there, and stayed overnight at hotels twice along the way.

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Our first real stop along the way was for dinner at this little dive in Bakersfield, nicer than the other dives we saw, called "Zingo's." It was actually quite nice inside.

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The first motel we stayed at was in Mojave. We should have kept driving through the desert in retrospect.

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The main problem with the Hotel was the company. Besides the rail yard nearby, which kept locomotives pushing cars back and forth all through the night, we were blessed with an autistic neighbor, who moaned periodically and kicked the wall heater randomly until 4am, when he must have finally dozed off. (He awoke again at 6:30.)

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The following day, we hit the road again for the longest drive of our trip out, stopping along the way to check out the desert scene.

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There were quite a few of these lonely dirt roads heading off to nowhere in particular, mysteriously paralleling the main highway in most cases. We saw a few trailers parket out in the shrubs. Probably Ted Kaczynski wanna bes.

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Here's one of the widely-spaced joshua trees that dotted the Mojave landscape.

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We stopped in the border town of Needles for lunch at a nice little Mexican restaurant.

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This is some sort of old military installation in Needles that's been made into a park.

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After spending a night in the nearby town of Williams, we drove up for our first look out from the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Tessa walked right out to the edge, but Alina took some coaxing (and reassuring) for this photo.

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Alina lent me a short-sleeved shirt, since I had neglected to bring any warm-weather clothes.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Many of the trees hanging onto the rim had a marked look of determination about them.

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We took lots of photos of this ridge, not realizing we'd spend most of the following days walking its heights.

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Not sure what this point is called, but "The 300 meter Platform Event" seems appropriate.

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Alina was playing paparazzi with her sister for much of the trip.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Tessala would threaten to (and sometimes toss) rocks at Alina when she tried to take a picture.

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She's cute, but she's got a rock!
Photographer Alina Larson

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Ravens were a common sight in the park, and some were quite forward, such as this one we saw conversing with a group of tourists.

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There was also a little bit of snow scattered here and there, and the girls took the opportunity to make a small snow fight out of it.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Here we were waiting our turn to get on one of the propane-powered buses that rode out to the various vista points along the rim.
Photographer Alina Larson

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I believe this is near Mojave Point.

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And this is a panorama from Mojave Point.

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Alina tended to venture out to the edge a little less often than Tessala and I.
Photographer Alina Larson

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We have lots of shots of Tessa with her toes on the rim.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Or in this case, dangling over the rim.

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We took a one-mile (or so) walk along the rim to the next point.

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Making many stops along the way, of course. This shot by Alina really gives you a sense of scale, which is difficult to capture.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Alina and I were biting our nails much of the time from watching Tessala.

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I attempted quite a few HDR images, and this is one of the few that turned out at all.

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Another HDR shot, not without artifacts.

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Some of the trees were truly amazing.

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The DSLR camera I used was on loan from Stanford University.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Alina was good at catching her sister in the act of smiling, even if it was most often an "I'm gonna get you!" smile.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Occasionally, Tessa would willingly pose for her sister.

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Hermit's rest was the end of the line for the bus route, and served mostly as a gift shop for tourists like ourselves.
Photographer Alina Larson

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It is a beatiful old structure, designed by the famous architect, Mary Colter, in 1914.

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The central room featured a large hearth of locally collected stonework.

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The exterior was attractive, yet fit beautifully with the natural surroundings.

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There wasn't much of a sunset to see either day we were there, unfortunately, as some low clouds came in at the end of both days.

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The following day, we decided to hike down into the canyon althe South Kaibab trail, which was a steep but but relatively wide trail used for mule trips as well as hikers.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Tessala initially forbade any picture-taking on the way down, since she wanted us to save our stops for the way back.
Photographer Alina Larson

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She finally relented after much pleading (and Alina ignoring her prohibition), so I got to take a few photos of the amazing rocks on the way down.

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Photographer Alina Larson

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Photographer Alina Larson

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We were lucky with the weather to have these little clouds that would cast interesting shadows, which moved across the canyon.

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In the lower right of the picture is Ooh Aah Point, which was our first rest stop. (No, it's not named after the local Ooh Aah Indian tribe.)

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Oooh! Aaah!

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That's Cedar Ridge off to the left, where we later had our lunch.

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Alina was having nearly as much fun with her camera as I was having with my (borrowed) one. (The better shots are hers.)

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Looking off towards Yaki Point.

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The trail here was actually pretty flat, but they had breaks in it every couple of feet, presumably to reduce erosion.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Someone did a very neat job stacking the rocks.

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One of the mule parties getting ready to head back up the trail.

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Here we are at Cedar Point, which was the end of the road for us that day. It's only about a mile and a half in, but it's 1100 feet down, which was enough for us.

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Some folks were actually scaling this thing while we were there.

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This was a timer shot, and the camera tripod wasn't quite up to the weight of the SLR and was slowly drooping to one side before the shutter went off.

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Some of the dead trees were more spectacular than the living.

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Up and up we climbed. Tessa led the way the entire time.

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I don't remember it being that steep on the way down....

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Enjoying a brief stop along the way. The rocks were nice and cool in the shade.

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It may not look like it, but Alina is actually on the trail.

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A furry friend, looking for handouts.

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Squirrel bites are the most common injury in the park.

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What became of the passengers, one wonders?

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The head of Kaibab Trail is the most spectacular part.

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Here you can see the way it traverses back and forth between two outcroppings.
Photographer Alina Larson

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There was this one rock that had fallen over, and looks like it's getting ready to slide down onto the trail.

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Another one of Alina's cool shots.
Photographer Alina Larson

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A parting view from the trailhead.

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After our hike, we spent an hour or so browsing the gift shop and trying on hats.
Photographer Alina Larson

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There were so many hats to try on, we had to try on several at once to get through them all.

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The footbridge over Oak Creek, on the way to Sedona.
Photographer Alina Larson

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This is one of the trees leaning over Oak Creek.

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Sunset near Sedona.

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Our arrival was just in time to get a room in the last motel in town with a vacancy.
Photographer Alina Larson

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There were dozens of these tour jeeps all around Sedona, taking people on sightseeing tours in the area.
Photographer Alina Larson

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The next morning, we went looking for a good place for a hike.

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We ended up at West Fork, and had to wait for a parking spot.

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Fortunately, we had entertainment in the form of a well-fed local who frequented the parking booth, hoping for handouts.

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There were a couple of these red-headed woodpeckers flying about.

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On the way to the trailhead, there were the remains of an old homestead.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Tessa was actually enjoying posing for Alina this day.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Photographer Alina Larson

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Alina likes to take texture shots.
Photographer Alina Larson

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And she's good at it.
Photographer Alina Larson

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This is one of mine.

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Photographer Alina Larson

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Tessa's view.
Photographer Tessala Larson

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The trail was long and criss-crossed the stream several times.

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We stopped for lunch at a suitable picturesque spot.

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Alina playing (artist) with her food.
Photographer Alina Larson

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The rock formations were really something to see.

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These photos don't do the place justice.

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Photographer Alina Larson

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Alina shooting Dad shooting Alina. Tessala tired of her photographer companions.

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On the way home, Pipsqueak took a turn at the wheel, so I could relax.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Alina was determined to get a "cow picture," showing how the cattle were grazing on what looked like dirt from our vantage point.
Photographer Alina Larson

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Sunset over the Mojave.
Photographer Alina Larson

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And moonrise.

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Page created April 24 2006 12:04:21p