Grand Canyon by Bike

Maybe we hadn’t fully thought through the full implications of visiting the Grand Canyon during monsoon season, when it rains pretty much every afternoon for at least a little bit, and usually a total downpour. It only really started to sink in for me when we looked at today’s weather report and it was for more rain on the west end of the canyon in the afternoon.

So, we managed a slightly earlier start out from Williams up to the heart of the Grand Canyon. On bikes this time, we headed west from Grand Canyon Village along the rim. On the map, it looked like the bike trail wasn’t going to offer much of a view, but it was far closer to the rim than I had thought.

Down Towards Bright Angel

At the first couple viewpoints, you get a good look at the switchbacks at the top of the Bright Angel Trail that leads (eventually) to the floor of the cavern, down through the former Indian Gardens now renamed Havesupai Gardens for the specific tribe who were expelled from their settlement there upon the founding of the National Park a century ago, and the Plateau Point spur leading to the edge of the lower inner canyon.

The trees on the rim, whether from the altitude, the wind or the paucity of water, are crooked and craggy like the rocks they crack through. Vultures circled ahead, much closer at this altitude than I’m used to. Some of the yucca had sprouted tall talks of now-spent flowers.

Close Encounter at Maricopa Point

This is one of those viewpoints where there’s a bit of a walk from the walking and biking trails to the rim, glimpsing the canyon through the trees as you walk.

When we got to Maricopa Point itself, we were very busy peering out and down into the canyon when I realized that a group of German tourists was looking the other way, back towards the direction we’d come. I’d been shamelessly eavesdropping on all the tourists of other languages I could hear, and there were a lot of Germans. I heard these say something about “Bock,” and turned around, and there were…

… one … no, two … no, three mountain goats! Momma, Poppa and Baby Bock!

We watched them for a long time, nearly half an hour, until they had moved on to other pastures.

There were also some great flora at this spot, hugging close to the rock faces with leathery leaves, not lichen, but learning lessons from the lichen, it seemed.

Problem at Powell Point

This is another point with a bit of a walk, as well as a monument to the first white explorers to traverse the canyon and Powell their leader. We were nearing the monument when, up in the pinon pines, I spotted a dusky blue pinyon jay landing in a juniper tree.

That’s not my picture, though, because when I reached into my pocket for my phone, which had been down to about 40% power but not low enough to worry about, I whipped out the phone and….

… and nothing. The phone was dead.

I realized I could plug it into my ebike’s battery pack, but also realized that I had left my charging cable in the car. So my valiant biking buddy rode back to the car to get it for me … but even when I plugged it in, nothing.

So, there will be fewer pictures for the remainder of this trip, because my phone had become a total irredeemable brick.

Hopi Point and Views Beyond

The plan had been to go all the way to Hermit’s Rest, but as we looked back over our shoulders at the clouds gathering over the Grand Canyon Village, we decided we’d better take a quick run back to the car before the deluge struck.

Elk in the Village

And we did beat the rain, and on perhaps our third encounter with elk along the road, we finally managed to grab some pictures this time. From the safety of the car, of course! (Astonishing doesn’t begin to cover the parents with children I saw get out and try to walk up to these big guys!)

Despite the technological tragedy, it was a nice day at the canyon, and a great bike trail!

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