Jack and I decided to go to the Grand Canyon for the day.  I think several thousand other people had the same idea.  The Grand Canyon typically gets over 5 million visitors a year!  We left Sedona around 7:00 a.m., and arrived at the Grand Canyon around 9:30 a.m..   We parked near Mather Point and proceeded to walk 2.5 miles along the scenic Rim Trail to Bright Angel, then back.  When we first started out I would say about 75% or more of the people wore masks (even though we were outdoors, when on the narrow paths you often walk within six feet of people especially once the trails got busy).  However on the return trip back to Mather Point I would estimate that it was the reverse – only about 25% of the people wore masks.  My biggest frustration were those groups of two couples, without masks, who decide to take up the entire trail.  What arrogance and conceit, regardless of Covid.  If we didn’t have Covid,  I would have stopped in the trail to make them walk around me.  And surprisingly many of the people without masks were older people more susceptible to Covid.  I don’t care if you don’t have any regards for your own health and safety, but come on and be considerate of those around you.  Like I said, selfish individuals.  Masks don’t make you weak, but not wearing one does.   I noticed that most of the license plates were out-of-state.

Despite the inconsiderate people, the views, as always, were stunning.  The day started out sunny, but the clouds and wind came in around mid-day, keeping the temperatures comfortable.  There were a lot of birds out, and I was surprised that we were able to see 18 different species – with such high elevations and lots of people about.   We kept a close look out for the California Condor, and at one point I thought I had spotted a condor on a cliff face, but it turned out just to the a shadow (a candor shaped shadow no less).   So unfortunately we left Condorless.  We have seen them here before, and in fact once we had them flying overhead and we could see, without binoculars, their wing tag numbers.

Nuthatches were everywhere and we got to see all three nuthatches (Red-breasted, White-breasted, and Pygmy), along with four different woodpeckers (Williamson’s Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Red-naped Sapsucker).  Lewis’s Woodpecker is also found here, but unfortunately we didn’t see one, although I would have loved that more than the condor actually.   We were rewarded with several mixed flocks that kept us busy watching birds as others were watching the scenery.  Ah you’ve seen one rock, you’ve seen them all right?  Ha ha, except for the Grand Canyon…

Despite my bewildered frustration with maskless idiots, it was nice to be outdoors enjoying the magnificent scenery and the great birds.

When you see the Grand Canyon, in all its glory, you can understand why it is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World

There is never a “Bad” view

Western Bluebirds were abundant here

Miles and miles of canyon

A White-breasted Nuthatch taking advantage of the snow on the ground – life saving water

Here dipping its beak to get at the water pooled underneath the snow

It only took 6 million years to create this natural wonder

The trees are gnarly

Plenty of vista points along the Rim Trail

Jack, with his mask on, checking out the birds or the scenery. Moxie patiently waiting. She is such a good dog.

Beauty abounds

I’m surprised there is no one on the rock on the left. People will climb out to precarious locations. Not me. I stay well back.

Northern Flicker

Williamson’s Sapsucker. Wow, two in one month. I’m surprised.

Mountain Chickadee with his “eye” mask

The canyon is deep & HOT (especially at the bottom during the summer)

Pygmy Nuthatch. These were busy, busy birds. Always on the move. They would come fairly close to humans. More so than other birds. Cute buggers.

Clouds coming in, which mutes the amazing shapes and colors

And the canyon is  – wide.  Feel adventurous?  Do the rim to rim hike, but allow plenty of time (we are speaking days)

And hiking to the Colorado River and into the canyon is available

White-breasted Nuthatch – we saw a fair number of these birds

A nice place to stop and contemplate Nature

I wonder what it was like to discover this beautiful area. I’m sure not much has changed since then – except for development.

Deep canyons in the deep canyon. They don’t call it Grand for nothing.

Millions and millions of years old – rock layers

And you can see for miles

I wonder which woodpecker created this hole?

Okay, this is what I thought might be a California Condor – black in the middle of the photo. It looked like a bird had done a face plant on the rock with its wings spread. But, alas just a shadow.

Jack and Moxie on the trial

Bird on everyone, bird on … Happy Turkey Day … and remember …