Monday, April 16, 2007

More trip highlights

On our drive from Phoenix to the canyon, we stopped at Montezum's Castle. It is the site of some very well preserved cliff dwellings that were built and occupied by the Sinagua Indians around 1400 AD. Quite an impressive site considering the native people did all the work with hand tools.

We saw a lot of mule deer in the National Park. They are a bit bigger than the deer here in the south. Their ears are bigger, and they don't have much a tail. They didn't seem to mind all the visitors at the canyon. These walked right through our campsite. (That's our tent directly behind them.)
Our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon. We were both awed at the magnificence of God's handiwork. We hiked down into the canyon in the afternoon, but only for a little over a mile down. The trail that goes to the bottom is 8 miles long, and the park service strongly recommends that you not attempt to hike to the bottom and back up in one day.
We saw our first California Condor during our hike. The bird was almost extinct in the 1980. In 1982 only 22 of them were left, and they were all in captivity. About 10 of them were released in the Grand Canyon in 1996, and now there are about 70 in the park. They are up to a total population of 273. It is the largest bird in North America with a wind span of 10 feet. It was very exciting to see the bird in the wild. All of the Condors in the park are tagged. If you look closely at the picture of above, you will see that is bird 82.

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