The storm started to break up as I arrived at the Grand Canyon area on Sunday. The snow wasn’t sticking since it was 45 degrees, but the wind made up for the temperature. I didn’t expect much at sunset, but I went to check it out anyway – pictures will follow when I get home to a color-corrected monitor.
Slept cold Sunday night, I was awake for the 4:30 alarm. Drove out to Lipan point, surprised that the sky was completely clear of clouds. Got some “nice”pictures, nothing special, and drove around collecting some other low-hanging fruit. I stopped by the El Tovar to add to my collection of historic park buildings, and saw four condors soaring over the hotel entrance.
I have been looking for condors since 1998, when R and I rafted the Colorado and glimpsed one 1,000 feet above the river, too big to be anything else. I’ve hung out at the Marble Canyon Bridge, where they roost sometimes. I’ve craned my neck 180 degrees on every trip down south. And here they were, practically flying through the trees.
Since I didn’t have a plan for the mid-day, it was easy to drop everything for the birds. I spent 6 hours along the rim, in the most touristy spot in the park. The condors disappeared, and then out of nowhere, they would cruise over – above or below the rim. I suspect they were flying so low because the air was still quite cold, not much thermal action, even though there was a lot of wind. Sometimes a single bird, but usually at least a pair – at one point I saw 5 flying together.
The Grand Canyon train arrived and disgorged its Sunday day trippers. I ate an ice cream. The Pollen Trail Dancers troupe performed twice in front of the Hopi House. I talked to a lot of nice people. I took lots of photos of/for people with their cameras. The train was loading up passengers for the return trip when I left to find a sunset spot. By then it had clouded over again. What would sunset bring, and could I ask for anything more after the condors?
— Page, Arizona