Friday, October 14, 2011

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Less than a week ago I was standing in front of this incredible view taking this picture.  Today it seems unreal!  My father had always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon and invited me to go for a quick trip with him.  It was truly quick -- only one day at the canyon -- but I expect both of us to remember it for a very long time.

Did you know that the elevation of the South Rim is 7000 feet? I found it a little hard to catch my breath up there. The North Rim is even higher at over 8000 feet. The bottom of the canyon is more than a mile from the top, but still a couple thousand feet above sea level.

Popping up all over the rocky soil surrounding the canyon were these blue asters. The only blue-flowered aster in my Field Guide to the Grand Canyon is Erigeron formosissimus but I think it probably isn't that.  I do hope it's a native species.

Golden crownbeard (Verbesina encelioides) was another common sight up there around the South Rim.

Not a good picture of globe mallow (Sphaeralcea parvifolia), but I wanted you to see the leaves and how the flowers are arranged.  You did want to see that, didn't you?  The leaves look just like nutmeg geranium to me and I rubbed and sniffed several times before I gave up willing it to have a scent.

This is a closeup of globe mallow. You can see how much it looks like other mallows. Cotton, okra and hibiscus all have that prominent androphore as well.

This is probably the Erigeron formosissimus I mentioned earlier.  Fleabane.

Things are tough in the rocky ether at the top of the canyon.  This tree and most of the others seem to grow straight out of a rock.  Ponderosa and pinyon pine, juniper and gambel oak are common species.

Squirrels with spots!  Don't you love how he posed?  These guys aggressively go after trail mix.  Don't rustle any bags around them!  Again referring to my field guide, I would say this is a rock squirrel (Spermophilus variegatus).

With one more look at the view and a vow to return some day, we headed downhill to Route 66 and Williams, Arizona for the night.


  1. I am glad I am not the only one who pulls away from the grandeur to look down at the flowers on the ground. This is a place I want to see, and it is amazing that the bottom of the canyon is still well above sea level.

  2. I've only seen the Grand Canyon from the air. Georgia has the 'little Grand Canyon' also an example of what water can erode. This is quite different from our own gardens, where we strive to use water to better effect.

  3. That first photo is one of the best photos of the canyon I have seen. Great lighting and contrast. We went out there for our 25th a few years ago and had such a great time. What an amazing place. Love the pics of the blooms --- we admire large and small wonders of nature, don't we?

  4. les, i guess we're a rare breed. but, the way i see it, the plants are just as grand. i bet you will love arizona and the grand canyon...entirely different from anything near us.

    nell, you are right about using water. i hope to do a post about swale/rain gardens sometime soon...we would rather create those in our gardens than canyons, wouldn't we?

    janet, thank you so much! ALL my photos were over-exposed, but i was able to fix some of them (for the most part) so they weren't too bad. the light up there was so intense. my dad and i both got light sunburns, and we are used to southern summer sun. i'm glad you enjoyed your anniversary trip. arizona is great, isn't it?

  5. Stunning! I've always wanted to see the Grand Canyon.

  6. Lovely photographs of the canyon and the plants.

  7. You are so lucky. I've never seen the Grand Canyon, but I've heard it is just beautiful. You took some great picture's and I'm glad you took some photo's of the plants growing around there. I'm so glad you and your took this chance and went. Thanks for posting such natural beauty.