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With all of the development and visitation, the Park Service has still down a pretty good job of keeping this a wild place. One of the rangers, during a talk, explained that to be truly wild, a place needs to hold out the possibility of death. With mountain lions, steep cliffs, extreme heat, and the possibility of wolves, the Grand Canyon area certainly quallifies. Though there is nothing wild about hte village, visitor center, or the other developed parts of the park, it is s short hike to places which are very wild indeed.

I had in interesting visitor at my campsite, upon my first awakening.

A female elk wanders into my campsite, in a search for browse, and seems to be waiting for me to leave.

A ranger gives a campfire talk, near the end of the day. It will be dark out, by the time the talk is finished. This talk is about coyotes, and wolves, and includes some tape recorder howls and barks, so that we can tell the difference when we hear them at night. This is a busy area, and is patrolled by rangers at night; but I was still pretty happy to be sleeping in a hard sided van, rather than a tent. Our second night's talk was about mountain lions, which also live in the park.

Sweet dreams.

Even in the photographs, you can almost feel the heat, rising up out of the canyon.

A look at

A look straight down at one of the valley floors. As with most views from the rim, we are not really seeing ht ebottom of the canyon, but merely an intermediate step.

Looking West up the canyon rim.

Formations on the rim of the canyon, tower like a series of palisades

A pair of hikers, reap the rewards of a hike to the rim.

A group of us stand at the rim, watching for birds. This is an observation station for the tracking of hawks, falcons, and the occasional scavenger.

The sun baked floor of the canyon, at mid day.

Hikers head down to the bottom, along what I think is the Bright Angel Trail. It is considerably warmer at the bottom, sometimes as much as ten degrees warmer. Hikers are warned not to go on hot days, to travel in groups, or at the very least in pairs, and to let someone know that there are going. This is no joke; people die in the canyon.

Hikers navigate a series of switch backs which take them down the face of the steep cliffs. It is about a mile to the bottom; but this is accomplished through a hike of twelve miles of switch backs, and twisted trails. A person in reasonable health can make the trip down in a day; but rangers warn that it takes twice as long to get back up, as it does to get down.

A couple relaxes a bit, and looks out over the canyon.

One last look across the canyon, so that I will have something to hold in my memory until events in the future bring me back. Of one thing, I am certain: this will not be my last time here.

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