After hanging out for over an hour I walked back to my truck to eat lunch. I’d barely bit into my sandwich when I heard over the park radio that the scenic road was being closed for safety due to high winds possibly approaching 60mph. There was only one other vehicle in the parking lot so I walked back to the overlook and informed the couple that we had to leave.
After telling the LE (Law Enforcement) parked at the junction that Point Imperial was cleared of visitors I continued to the Widforss trailhead and found no parking available. So I found a wide spot just up the road to finish my lunch and waited for a vehicle to leave. When I did park there were many people milling around, wanting to know when the scenic road would reopen and what the weather forecast was.
NOAAs report around noon: high 64°, low 16°, SSW winds at 23/mph with gusts of 37/mph and a 10% chance of snow flurries after midnight.
Gunnar Widforss - Golden Birches
Some people left in a hurry. I went for a hike on the Widforss trail named for Gunnar Widforss, a famous canyon painter who took up residence during the 1920s.
After working at the visitor center for a couple of hours explaining why the scenic road was closed I led a sunset walk to Bright Angel Point. Seven sturdy visitors braved the wind and cold with me as I explained how people throughout history have seen Grand Canyon many different ways, for development, preservation, hunting, prospecting, exploring, as an obstacle, and as home. My favorite quote comes from Lt. Joseph Christmas Ives after an 1857 exploration of the western canyon. He reported to the U.S. War Department, “The region is of course altogether valueless. Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last of whites to visit this profitless locality.”
I finished my evening watching the space station fly overhead.
And I’m still blown away by Grand Canyon.