I already had a pass to get into the Grand Canyon so I decided to check out the other side. For once I was I well slept and probably in a more open mood when I arrived. I drove into the visitor center which was overflowing with people. I loitered around looking at a stuffed raven and a stuffed cougar cub which had apparently been hit by a car. There were also displays of Indian ruins and pottery and geological information. I stopped at their bathroom, chuck full, didn’t feel like waiting so I drove off to see some of the views we could find.
I drove down the road a little ways and then pulled off at the first little parking area I found where people were gathering. It wasn’t as busy as the last place I’d been and best yet there was a raven sitting there begging for food. It made off with a cracker, flying into the canyon where it appeared to have a nest. I resumed looking around. The south side of the grand canyon is not obstructed by too many trees like the north is. You can see a lot and today I was impressed. Apparently my visibility was over 74 miles as I could easily recognize a mountain range that far away. I snapped some photos and then realized the raven was back, cocking its head and trying to figure out if there was more food. An entire rye biscuit was thrown at it. The bird looked at it, hopped around, gave a quizzical look, and decided against picking it up. However a minute later the raven decided the food was abandoned and picked up the whole cracker, flying away with his new treasure and landing somewhere on the rim of the canyon, probably trying to break it up.
The views of the canyon got more and more majestic the more I traveled down the road. I saw the canyon, the surrounding mountain ranges, peaks and eventually the river that winds down it. This wasn’t until the very last stop though. Here was a little pueblo, three stories high, you could walk up to get a better view. It was decorated with traditional Navajo paintings and there was a gift shop inside that had a lot of beautiful Navajo pottery as well as many other things. I climbed up as far as I could go and found a spectacular view, far too enormous and wild for any photo to ever do it justice but there it was stretched before me for miles and miles.
I had some tourists take photos and saw a strange little blue bird with a crazy head crest. later in my travels I would come to figure out it was a Steller’s Jay, something obscenely common yet so strange to me! It was so windy that day that even the ravens were being blown around and my hair stood straight up like a troll for the photograph. These were some heavy gusts! It was still worth it.
Now as to which side is better… the South side definitely has more people, but it also has numerous views and far more options on activities than the north side. The north side is great if you want to walk in the trees, see some elk, and get some nice glimpses of the canyon.
After the canyon visit I went up the road and stopped at the Little Colorado River Canyon. It was $2 a person and there was a nice Navajo market set up at the side. I went through it and took one last chance to marvel at their creativity and art. After this I saw the canyon itself, over the guard rails. It was alright, the market was more interesting…
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