Sunday, May 28, 2017

18 November 2016 Hiking the South Rim

One of the good parts of many national parks is the lack of connectivity to the rest of the world. My phone occasionally found a signal, but there was no true wifi source to be had. I was free of work responsibilities and reviewing responsibilities for a 48 hour! We were happy to see the Grand Canyon without shadows for the day.

I hope this deer doesn't think all trains sit quietly on the tracks.

Alco FPA's were the last of the streamlined diesels which looked like they were made to pull long passenger trains. Their production ended in 1959 just about the time rail service began to make its exit as a primary means of transportation in the US. 6776 was one of the last to roll from the factory and appears to have made its last run in August 2015. I has been repainted from the forest green color scheme to a more period common silver with accents. The park service runs mostly FP40's now, :( but still have a pair of operational repainted FPA's and two steam engines, a mikado and a consolidation to grace the rails with some beauty and glamour.

The old railroad station is on the Historic Register and a throwback to a different time. I had no idea there was a railway to the park. It would be a great way to start and end a visit, even riding behind an FP40. ;)

We spotted scrub jays multiple times during our journey. They are one of the common birds in the park, but not so for us. They are also quite colorful.

I learned on the journey that the Grand Canyon was once the home of a uranium mine. :-O We passed the old road back to the mine which continues to be used as a access point for clean-up.

The flat cleared area of the above surface mine structure is still visible in the image below. In the canyon 1100 feet below the processing areas, are the two remaining entry shafts, an early one for copper and a later one that served as a uranium mine. While this mine is closed there are still multiple uranium mines around the Grand Canyon area.

We were on the lookout for the Colorado River during our adventure.

Eventually, we made several sightings of the blue ribbon of water winding through the canyon.

Shadows and sunset arrive quickly in November. Despite eight hours on the trail, the day flew by and seemed too short.

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