Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rim Trail: VanKamp to Bright Angel Lodge and Elk (Day 10)

We walked the rim trail from the VerKamp Visitor Center to Bright Angel Lodge. While doing so, the predicted rain arrived, so Mule didn't get many rim pictures. However, I had finished photographing the buildings.

To sit out the storm, we went to the canyon deli, ate chili bread bowl (soft bread, not the sour dough of Boudini's), sorted through pictures, and I wrote the blog. Having extra time, I decided to delete posts from last year that I didn't post. With this program, you're supposed to select edit, then the minus sign next to the post that you want to delete. Instead, I hit the recycle button and deleted all unposted entries. I had done this once before, so as soon as I hit the icon, I realized what I had done. Unfortunately, the IPad doesn't have a recycle bin. The pictures of the buildings and post I had written for today was gone. I'll retake the photographs of the building when Mule returns to take more pictures of that part of the rim.

In the meantime . . .

We've been learning about the Grand Canyon elk which are quite comfortable around people and cars, and think nothing of crossing or rambling down the road.

According to a ranger, the mule deer were not imported. However, the elk were imported to nearby areas from Yellowstone in the 1920's then migrated to the park.

Meanwhile, the wolf population declined to six then by breeding with other canines increased to seventy - other much smaller creatures. However, they aren't a major predator of the elk. The mountain lions (also known as cougars and panthers) are the major predation. I wonder if there will eventually be an overpopulation problem leading to elk starving as happened in Yellowstone.

At any rate, the bulls antlers are beginning to come in and will eventually be as much as 5-6 feet high and 5-6 feet across. However, we haven't seen any antlers. The cows drop their calves anytime in the spring, but we haven't seen any yet. That's all I learned about elk.

The monthly Grand Canyon blog states that the poisonous creatures are out and Mule thought he heard a rattlesnake last night, so I'm back to using a light at night. We had been going by moonlight. The blog states "If you or a hiking companion is bitten by a rattlesnake, quickly move away from the snake and stay calm. The area of the bite may swell dramatically, so remove any tight clothing or jewelry. Nearly a third of rattlesnake bites are nonvenomous, “dry” bites, but you’ll need to assume the worst, so clean the wound, and evacuate the patient as soon as possible. Do not use a Sawyer Extractor or other snake bite kit as it has been shown that they do little good and can cause more damage to the tissue around the area of the bite. Do not apply cold, do not administer pain killers, do not give alcohol to the victim, and don’t apply a tourniquet. Immobilize and splint the wound, and then evacuate."

Per the National Park Service, "A herd of bison was brought to the Grand Canyon region in the early 1900s and has been managed since 1950 by the AGFD in the House Rock Wildlife Area (HRWA) on the Kaibab National Forest through an interagency agreement with the USFS.

"During the late 1990s, the bison began "pioneering" up to the top of the Kaibab Plateau and into GCNP. A combination of public hunt pressure, drought and fire, and reduced forage quality in House Rock Valley during the 1990s may have contributed to the bison moving through Saddle Mountain Wilderness and onto the higher elevations of the Kaibab Plateau. Over the past several years, very few bison have returned to HRWA and most now spend a majority of their time inside the park, with many not leaving GCNP.

"Since 2008, a workgroup consisting of staff from GCNP, AGFD, and USFS has been addressing research needs related to impacts of the bison herd on GCNP resources, and potential management tools, as well as administrative and operational challenges of long-term cooperative management. Also in 2008, the Department of the Interior (DOI) chartered a Bison Conservation Initiative to improve bison management amongst its various bureaus, including the National Park Service. These efforts are ongoing and NPS is now initiating development of a long-term, coordinated approach to manage the current and future impacts of bison on natural and cultural resources of GCNP while supporting AGFD, USFS and BLM goals for management of a free-ranging bison population outside the park.

"Stakeholder input is a central and critical part of this planning process," stated Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. "We look forward to engaging interested members of the public, other agencies, tribes, and organizations to get their ideas. We appreciate the on-going collaboration of the U.S. Forest Service, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and look forward to working with the Bureau of Land Management as we work through this process."

Mishaps: 2

Deleted my blog post and building pictures.
We're still driving past our campground when we return at night. This time I realized it as soon as I turned off Market Plaza road onto Hwy 67' which exits the park. Maybe tomorrow I'll finally get it right. The signs are small print and difficult to read even in the day. A road construction guy said that the signs are being replaced with larger signs.

On the bright side, the camera and lens haven't had any more mishaps :)

Below: From the Rim Trail, between the El Tovar Lodge and VanKamp Visitor Center


  1. Great pictures of the Grand Canyon! Would love to see a picture of Saunter!


  2. Thanks. maybe a picture soon. I bought a new beige Columbia hat for shade. Mule's getting a similar one, but green again.

  3. Staying calm after a snake bite??? That sounds almost impossible. Better to avoid them. Stay safe and bite free. Loved the photos.

    1. I'd prefer to be lucky enough to not even see one. Last year, Mule unknowingly stepped right over one near our home! Lucky it didn't bite, though it coiled and rattled