At the Edge of the Kaibab
Since my first visit to the Grand Canyon in April 2012 (Who Stole the Grand Canyon?), I’ve been looking forward to returning at a time when visibility would be better. Not that the snow and fog didn’t produce some very unique views, but I didn’t get the opportunity to really appreciate the vast expanse and extreme ruggedness of the canyon. Last month’s travels put me in close proximity to the North Rim, and fortunately the government shut-down had come to an end, so I made my way down the Kaibab Plateau. The cooler temperatures of fall had already taken residence, and remnants of a recent snowfall remained in the long shadows of the pines. Along the route, there were plentiful Mule Deer and a small band of Bison leisurely grazing the dormant grass.
So far, everything indicated that the viewing conditions at the Grand Canyon would be ideal. Perhaps I might have to wait for the sun to burn the morning moisture out of the air, but…. I didn’t imagine that smog would be a problem in this part of the country. Evidently the dirty air from Las Vegas and Los Angeles rides in on westerly winds and frequently ends up trapped between the canyon walls, and that is what I encountered when I arrived at the North Rim. I was able to see the San Francisco Mountains across the canyon to the south, so conditions could have been worse. There was an informational sign indicating that those mountains are often obscured by the smog. Between the smog and the low angle of the morning sun, a distinctive blue haze was prominent in the photos that day, making processing the images a little more challenging. Still, the rugged features of the canyon are evident, as well as the beauty of this natural sculpture. (You may need to click on the individual pictures to get a larger view to better show the San Francisco Mountains and other features.)