Thursday, May 25, 2017

Grand Canyon – Condors, Camping and ADA

California Condor, Grand Canyon

It had been nearly a lifetime since I saw a California Condor out in the wild.  This breed of Condors was nearly extinct, and proclaimed extinct in the wild back in 1987 when the last wild Condor was captured, bringing the living number of Condors to 27 birds.  In 1991, Condors started to be released again, and eventually they have been reintroduced in Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, along the Central California coast and lower Sierra Nevada Mountains, and northern Baja California.  The captive breeding took place at the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos.  The California Condor is the largest North American land bird.  Our first stop today was Maricopa Point, and a couple with a large Toy Hauler, who are camping at Trailer Village, showed me where it had landed shortly before I walked up to them.  Wish I could have seen it fly, but it looked like it was going to stay there for awhile.  There are 76 Condors in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, according to the Peregrine Fund, which has monitored them for the past 30 years.  17 condors have hatched in the wild in this area, of which 16 have fledged…and they still are releasing Condors from the Captive Breeding program.

Today we took on the Hermits Rest Route.  At this time of year one must ride one the of free park shuttle buses to Hermits Rest.  However, while at the Visitor’s Center yesterday, I talked to that nice Ranger Lady and I happed to ask if they allowed people with disabilities to drive their own car instead of taking the bus, like Yosemite does.  “Well, we have the same thing here”, she says, and provides us a bright Yellow Placard that we put on the dashboard, and a code to the gate so that we can get onto the roadway.  Well, this was a wonderful treat for Marcia, because riding that bus just was not going to cut it…especially since they said that most motorized scooters would not fit in the bus.  The good thing…all of the pullouts had few to no cars in them, and we even had a few people wonder how we were able to ride along the route…a few who might have had ADA Placards in their own vehicles.  I think this is one of the best kept secrets at the Grand Canyon.  But we have learned to ask…and it has paid off now at a number of parks.

Grand Canyon    Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

Today was a bit cloudy, a lot windy, and a good day to view the canyon.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

It is a great place to take panoramic shots…which I am thankful that my camera takes for me and I no longer have to cut and paste them together as I did a few years ago.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

We got the scooter out two or three times today, other times Marcia was able to enjoy the view right from the car, like these two pictures above.  Yesterday and the day before she got out right at the car…so a person with limited mobility can enjoy Grand Canyon despite the limitations.  Having a scooter is definitely helpful, but not necessary.  However, there are some view points which just are not accessible to those in a wheelchair, scooter, or with a walking problem. 

Hermits Rest, Grand Canyon    Hermits Rest, Grand Canyon

At the end of the drive is Hermits Rest…or is that ‘Restrooms’?  Well, the restrooms are large, clean, fresh pit toilets…no need to flush.  The “rest” is a snack bar, where I did buy a Diet Coke because this high altitude and dry air really does a number on me.  Only a handful of Diet Cokes since I started my diet…and about triple that number of Diet Pepsi, which is better in the diet because it has no aspartame.   Anyway, we were away from the dogs for right around 3 1/2 hours, and they handled it just fine.

Desert View Campground    Desert View Campground

I wanted to provide some information about Desert View Campground.  They warn you that you don’t bring in anything larger than a 30’ motorhome or trailer.  We did not unhook the car until we got to our spot, and we would not have any problems maneuvering through the rest of the park.  I have seen some 32’ motorhomes drive through, and the turns are a bit tight on them.  Our site is a pull through, but the tree at the front of the pull through has low branches, so I backed in from the other side of the pull through.  As you can see, the car fits without a problem.  Each site has a post.  You go to the registration machine, and it only takes credit cards, and you get a long slip of paper once you pay…it does give you option for senior discount, etc.  Two thirds of the paper you fill out information and attach to this post in the upper right picture…they come along and put a white or yellow occupied sign on it.  White means tent, yellow means RV.  During the day many sites look empty because people come with RVs and no tow car, hence they know if there is a white sign and no tent, someone has packed up and left.

Desert View Campground   Desert View Campground

Most of the sites will fit a 30’ RV, with room for a tow car at many of them.  The park website says the campground fills by 1 pm each day…you should make that “by 10 am” each day.  We saw people pulling out and 5 seconds later people pulling into that now vacant site.  If you get here early enough, and drive around, you can look for the posts which have no white or yellow card on them…those are the sites that most likely will vacate that day…unless they decide to pay for more days, as we have done.  Today we paid another $12 for two more days, and on Saturday we will pay $18 to get us through Monday…which is our 7 day limit…and gets us through Memorial Day.  So we expect to be here until Tuesday morning…a good site will open then.   As for the other campgrounds over at the main part of the south rim, well they require reservations.  You ‘might’ luck out and find a cancelation which might give you a night or two…but chances are not good during the late spring, summer and early fall time periods.  There are many National Forest roads where one can “disperse camp” for free, and the rangers will help show you on a map where those are.  We saw a few camping on our way in…I expect many will be there over the weekend.


  1. I bet I can tell you the gate code!! LOL I used it quite often to access the area for photography after almost killing myself riding my bike to Hermits Rest and back.

  2. We were very pleased when we visited Grand Canyon last year and found that the rim trail has been smoothed out and paved - really great for getting constantly changing views!

    Question for you Dave - I know that you're picky about the way your photos look(me too). I used to have a shadow line under my photos like yours but now my photos have a frame all the way around that is throwing them off center. Open Live Writer did an update a few days ago and that's when my photos got messed up.

    I no longer have a photo editing option on Live Writer. When did that disappear? Also I'm don't remember where I got the shadow effect from - Live Writer or Blogger. Any ideas?

    1. Karen, I did not know about LW update, my build is (found under the file menu and then "about open live writer". I edit my photos through Adobe Essentials, so I can't help you with that part. As for the frame, in the version I use I change the frame look around the pics by clicking on the picture, then click on "format" in menu, then select the "picture styles". Unless Live Writer is not working, the only thing I do in Blogger is a preview to make sure it looks like I want, and I might add or take away a "return" for spacing reasons, and then I add the Lables, Location and Search Description. Other than that, I don't do much in the blogger editor. I do post all my post as a draft from LW to Blogger.

      Hope that helps. Sent to your email too. --Dave

    2. I guess I am on the new version. By clicking on the picture twice, it brings up a photo menu option...I think your editor is there too.

    3. Thanks Dave. I use Live Writer much as you do - edit the pictures with an independent program and do everything else in Live Writer.

      I found the picture format that I lost in Live Writer. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I can click on the shadow edge frame but it doesn't change my frames. Arrgg - Live Writer can be frustrating at times!


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