Just a couple of hours away from the Grand Canyon are some Native American dwellings from 800-1100 years ago. The Wupatki and Wokaki ruins are free-standing structures with many rooms to house several family groups. The Wokaki ruin is built up on a rock escarpment which provided the residents a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. These areas were occupied at the same time as many of the other ruins we’ve seen this summer, between about 800A.D. and 1300A.D.
The Walnut Canyon dwellings were built into the sides of hills where softer sandstone layers eroded more quickly, creating alcoves which meant the people only had to built wide and front walls – the ceiling and back walls were natural rock. These dwellings were built high above a creekbed so the people were adept at getting up and down the hills. Visitors today have to walk down 240 steps to get to the level where the ruins are located. This meant 240 steps back up to the VIsitors Center! Boy, my calves hurt the next day.
We’ve both been to the Grand Canyon before and I’ve been here more than 5 times in my life, but that didn’t stop us from wanting to come here again.
We spent a week here so we could see the views from as many viewpoints as possible and attend a few Ranger Talks as well. We visited the south rim only (not the north rim or the very western area where the new Skywalk is) but we still had plenty to do and see.
We drove to the eastern section of the south rim and stopped at several viewpoints. We took another trip to the western section on a shuttle bus that made several stops so we were able to step off to see a viewpoint and in 10-15 minutes another bus came along and we hopped back on. The shuttles run all day long and they are free. We also walked through “The Village” with several viewpoints – this section was very busy as it contains several lodges and restaurants.
We got tons of great pictures of the canyon and the steep walls of the canyon. We drove to Mather Point one morning to get sunrise pictures – for some reason I thought we’d be alone but oh no, there were over 100 people at the point waiting for the sunrise. We went back at sunset one day to get pictures at that time of day and again it was very crowded.
We stayed at an RV park inside the park and got to see lots of elk and deer. Every day we saw at least a few. Laddy wanted to go meet them but we didn’t let him for fear he’d scare them or that the elk would attack him (it’s getting into rutting season!)
While looking down into the canyon where we could see the South Kaibab Trail, we saw a mule train heading up the switchbacks. We got a picture and I’ve included both it and the closeup area. We also got a picture showing rafters in the Colorado River way below us, and I’ve included that pictures and a closeup area as well.
Every time we walked to the rim and looked out over the canyon we were amazed. No matter how many times I come to the Grand Canyon, I still am thrilled every time I see it!