A Weekend at the Grand Canyon

If you have not traveled much during the age of Covid, there is a unique opportunity right now to go places that are normally quite crowded, but are not now. It does take some planning, preparation and flexibility. Here’s how we made a long weekend at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

First, we are fortunate to live only five hours from the South Rim, so we knew we could drive easily. We also knew food would be an issue so we made a bunch of food that we could freeze and re-heat in our room and brought all of our own beverages. We have found that freezing a couple of servings and then warming them up in a small crock pot works great for car trips.

We researched what was open and not open and we also had to know road conditions as the Navajo Nation has closed its roads and there have been some recent wild fires in the area.

Finally, we picked a few days with a full moon and hopefully some monsoon weather.

The weather did not cooperate as we had few clouds, no monsoon rain, and there was smoke in the air from distant wild fires. In the middle of August, it should have been packed, but we had little crowds and few people to fight over a good spot for our tripods.

The shuttle service was shut down so it was hard to get to the look out points west of the El Tovar hotel. You had to rent a bicycle…or talk your wife into a “short hike”. Mary was a trooper and we walked all the way to Hopi Point (5.2 miles round trip).

We drove to all of the points on the eastern side of the Hotel up to Navajo Point as Desert View and the East Entrance were shut down due to Covid.

After scouting all of these points and taking into account time, energy, view, and crowds, we ended up photographing sunrise and sunset numerous times at Yavapai Point which is now our favorite.

Photographing the moon and the canyon was tricky as it was rising and setting behind us as we looked out into the canyon. I am sure from the North Rim, the moon is stunning (next time). I did find a good spot where we could see it set right over the Grand Canyon Village.

Because we had bald skies most days, it was useful to make tight compositions of canyon features with a short telephoto lens and just leave out the sky.

Finally, on our last day, we had the skies we wanted for sunrise. It was one of those mornings that you just had to smile and appreciate mother nature and all her beauty.

Next year we are definitely doing the North Rim during monsoon season. To see more of our photographs, please go to our Flickr Page – Grand Canyon (South Rim) National Park

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