Category Archives: Arizona

Distant Storm Clouds And Forest Fires On The North Rim

Storm Clouds Forest Fires And Late Afternoon Over The North Rim

After my visit to Petrified Forest National Park, in eastern Arizona, I drove west and then north to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, where I stayed for a couple of days.  During that time, small forest fires broke out and distant thunderstorms showed up (it’s the summer monsoon season in the West and Southwest).  I could see all of this from a small overlook perched just below the Grand Canyon Lodge.

I happened to overhear a visitor mention that he really liked the North Rim better than the  South Rim because they could do so much more on the North Rim.  I thought about that for a moment, and decided that he was correct.  Granted, there are more stoppable view areas and more services and infrastructure at the South Rim.  This, of course, means more people and more tour buses.  However, for do-able trails that don’t require hiking waaaaay down into the canyon and then waaaay back up, I’d say the North Rim wins.  In terms of beauty and great photography, both areas tie for that position, I think.

The North Rim is 1,000 feet higher in elevation than the South Rim, and it’s far more forested, sitting on the Kaibab Plateau.  If you visit, then be on the lookout for a small bison herd that comes through the park along Hwy 67, and see if you can spot the beautiful and unusual Kaibab squirrel.  I was lucky enough to see both, but only lucky enough to photograph the bison herd.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park, National Parks, North Rim, Photography, Seasons, summer, Travel

Looking Out Over Blue Mesa Trail

Looking Over Blue Mesa Trail

Looking over Blue Mesa Trail, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
 
I spent the day in the park, yesterday. It was a dry heat (grin). This place is pretty amazing. Oh, there are no mountains or rivers or streams, and I saw very little wildlife (a dear, a bunny, and a raven). The the geology is really cool. I mean, think about it a moment: this place, once a swampy area with tall, thick trees and dinosaurs, is now a semi-arid (felt totally arid, to me) land with the petrified (agatized) remains of fallen trees. The conditions at the time had to be just right in order to petrify the swaths of logs you can see from your car window and from the hiking trails.
 
This image was captured at a view area overlooking the Blue Mesa trail and surrounding scenery. The rocks really *are* blue (and purple, mauve, beige and buff), with fallen logs, many longer than I am tall with a girth of 2-4 ft.
 
If you ever have the chance to visit this national park, you can see it in a day, although I always advocate maybe 1-1/2 to 2 days exploring. The first thing you should do when the park opens up at 7am is to hightail it out to the Blue Mesa Trail to hike it when it’s coolest and when the sunlight is angled just right.
 
Now, it’s on to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Arizona, Geology, National Parks, Petrified Forest National Park, Photography, Travel