Grand Canyon: South Rim
Since I've decided not to do the really hard hikes (not in sufficiently good shape), I took it easy today and only walked about 9-10 miles in segments, with no more than a 600 foot vertical gain in one piece.
I did a little early birding around the lodge (the area behind my room is ponderosa pine, with a bit of pinyon mixed in). Nothing new, but looks like it has potential. Then I walked to the rim, and headed toward Mather Point along the rim trail. Two condors flew overhead and eastward. A bit later, I saw three condors soaring over a ridge to the west, just past Bright Angel Trailhead.
From Mather, I took the Green Line shuttle bus to the South Kaibab Trailhead. I found myself drawn down the trail. Before long, I was at Ooh-ah Point. Well, there was no sign, but everyone there seemed to think the name appropriate, and it fits the description. I stayed for a while enjoying the view and taking some photos, then headed back up. After the experience on the North Kaibab Trail, I was careful to pace myself. Nonetheless, it took only 30 minutes to climb back to the trailhead. Interestingly enough, several people who passed me got passed back when they stopped for a rest. Sometimes it's faster to go a bit slower!
I then took the shuttle to Pipe Creek Vista, and walked back to Mather Point. At Mather I caught the village shuttle and returned to Maswik for lunch.
After lunch I rested a while, and did a little local birding. There are some finches here I am unsure about. I can't get a look at them. I'm not even 100% sure they're finches. There's also an unknown warbler singing. Once again it's one of those frenetic songs. I reminds me of Nashville, but I don't think it is. It's also a bit like the Wilson's song, but this is the wrong place for one to be singing. I suspect it might be Grace's, but the song doesn't match any of the recordings.
I headed back to the rim (it's a bit over 1/2 mile round trip every time I go to the rim and back) and headed the west on the Rim Trail, reaching Hopi Point. On the way, I saw two condors sitting on the rocks. Condor #87 was near Trailview Overlook, and Condor #80 was near Maricopa Point.
At Powell I caught a Red Line shuttle west to Hermit's Rest. I walked to the Hermit Trailhead, and down the trail a little, then returned so I could end up at Hopi Point for sunset.
I had expected to take the bus to Powell Point, then walk back to Hopi as eastbound busses don't usually stop at Hopi. This one did stop, so it saved a bit of walking. I was astounded by the crowd there. Even though the clear-blue-sky conditions were not conducive to a great sunset, I did manage some decent photos. Then I walked to Powell so I could be sure of a bus.
When the bus arrived, it looked like few of us could get on, but the driver did a great job of fitting in as many as he could. Some had to wait, but most of us got a ride. After returning to the transfer point, I made the usual walk to Maswik (there's a bus, but even if it has room, it's usually faster to walk than to wait for it). I had a late dinner at Maswik.
With no new birds or mammals, I remain at 145 bird species and 15 mammal species during the trip.
Maswik Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ