BIRTHDAY AT THE NORTH RIM, RUSTIC DINNER, DEER, CONDOR SIGHTINGS

TURNING 70 IN MAGNIFICENT CANYONS OF ARIZONA, UTAH – A JUNE 2-5 TRAVELOGUE

June 3, 2015, 5:45 AM

Finally my real birthday had arrived. Elizabeth and my other friends had made such a fuss over it this year that by the time the
North Rim birthday trip 2015 mapbirthday actually dawned, I felt I had been celebrating it for days. 🙂

We got up early to have breakfast in Sedona and get ready for a long drive ahead.  And what a day it was! I am not talking just about the magnificent scenery. I also received two additional gifts from the spirit realm in the form sacred animals which manifested themselves in physical form – the Deer and Condor. And a revelation that it’s all about the No. 3 – numerologically.

What happened in the next 15 hours on June 3 can be divided into four parts:

  • Drive from Sedona to Marble Canyon
  • North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Deer Sighting
  • Rustic Dinner at Lee’s Ferry Lodge
  • Second Walk over Lee’s Ferry Bridge, Condor Sighting

So let’s look at each section at a time, as events unfolded…

* * *

DRIVE FROM SEDONA TO MARBLE CANYON

As we were driving from Sedona to Flagstaff, we noticed that the IMG_3952San Francisco Peaks, which dominate the skyline over this northern Arizona city, were still snow-capped.

“Another sign of El Nino,” I muttered as I snapped this picture through the car window.

We got to Lee’s Ferry Crossing bridge a little before noon. The Navajo Bridge, which is what it’s now called, is right next to the Marble Canyon Lodge where we were booked for the night,

We weren’t alone. A group of touring maniacs, driving their Porsches, Beamers, Benzes and Corvettes like there was no tomorrow, also descended upon the bridge like locusts at about the same time.

So we did not stay long. We only took a few pictures and then drove on to check into our 1929-vintage lodge, leaving the locusts behind.

The original ferry operated at this spot from 1872 to 1929. The Navajo Bridge was constructed in 1928-1928, as you can see from the sign below. The Marble Lodge, where we were staying, was the first “tourist” establishment in the area. It opened in 1929.

IMG_3960 IMG_3965 IMG_3961 IMG_3967 IMG_3963 IMG_3973

The view from the bridge are pretty spectacular.  The bridge is about 500 ft tall and over 800 ft long.  Which is why I thought it was funny that someone should post a “no jumping” sign. It would certainly be a one way flight.

IMG_3969 IMG_3971 IMG_3974 IMG_3979

We also had a good fortune to watch two of the Colorado river rafter pass below. You can see them in the above shots.

And now, here are some photos of our “antique” motel – the Marble Lodge (which has actually been renovated and looks quite modern inside).

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And now, just to digress for a moment, here are also shots of the same taken early morning the next day. An interesting contrast in the quality of light and shadows, isn’t it?

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* * *

NORTH RIM OF GRAND CANYON

After we had checked in at the Marble Canyon Lodge, we mounted our jalopy again and headed up to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It took a little more than two hours to get there, climbing most of the time. We started at an elevation of about 3,500 ft (the lodge), and ended up at about 8,500 ft at the Grand Canyon.

Kaibab Lodge, Deer Sighting

Along the way, we stopped at Kaibab Lodge, only a few miles from the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. Just to look around. It was one of the accommodation options I had considered for us for this day. But they were sold out. Yet the sign by the highway read “VACANCY.” Which made me curious.

“Oh, we just sold our last room a few minutes ago,” the desk clerk explained. “Haven’t had a chance to change the sign yet.”IMG_3982

Outside, on a beautiful green pasture, I spotted a herd of deer grazing in the distance.  They were quite far away. It took Elizabeth a while to actually see them. I snapped a picture anyway, hoping to enlarge the view.

“Hm, that’s an omen,” I thought. “Perhaps another birthday sign from the spirit realm?”

Later, I looked up the meaning of Deer as the Spirit Animal:

What is the meaning of the Deer totem?

When you have the deer as spirit animal, you are highly deer-totem-300sensitive and have a strong intuition. By affinity with this animal, you have the power to deal with challenges with grace. You master the art of being both determined and gentle in your approach. The deer totem wisdom imparts those with a special connection with this animal with the ability to be vigilant, move quickly, and trust their instincts to get out the trickiest situations.

That’s spot on, as far as I can tell. And I think that Elizabeth would confirm it, too. So no doubt, this was another spirit message for my birthday.  The Deer was the first of the three Spirit Animals that were to show up on this trip.

We also saw another herd of deer the following day, while driving from Bryce Canyon to Kanab (Utah). It was Elizabeth who spotted them first that time. Evidently she also has the Deer spirit medicine in her energy mix.

TOURING & HIKING (A LITTLE) THE NORTH RIM

The first place we stopped at after we entered the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park was the administrative offices of the Park (see the maps below).

IMG_4017 IMG_4018 North Rim header

We wanted to find ouy for what activities one needed to get permits, and which areas were open  for free roaming.  We had learned from our Sedona friend Karen, for example, that to do a hike to the Wave (in Utah), one needed to get a permit. And that there is a lottery to decide who gets to go because the access to the Wave is restricted (to only 10 slots a day, we found out later).

A very nice park ranger spent almost half an hour educating us about all this in his office. He also showed us the best places to go to at the North Rim, both by driving and hiking. We thanked him profusely.

After that, we drove to the actual North Rim, parked near the Lodge, and then spent the next hour or so walking around and hiking to the Bright Angel Point – the farthest protruding piece of high country into the Grand Canyon (see the map).

IMG_4009It was so windy along the way and at that spot, that I jokingly said to Elizabeth, “maybe this should be renamed Hell’s Angels Point.” 🙂

(After the notorious biker club and Howard Hughes’ 1930 film). You can see Elizabeth’s hair flying in this shot, as she is desperately trying to hold on to that rock, so the wind would not blow her away).

This is the shot of the Bright Angel Point I took from that same spot. I also had to hold on to the same rock with one arm while holding the camera in the other.

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Anyway, here is a photo album we brought home from the North Rim, starting with some panorama shots:

IMG_3987 IMG_3988 IMG 3990 IMG_3991 Norht Rim_Panorama Elizabeth Dancing in the Wind

IMG_3994 IMG_3995 IMG_3996  Eliz Bright Angel trail IMG_3997 Bob on Bright Angel trail IMG_4006 IMG_4002

IMG_4012After about an hour or so, we drove on to Point Imperial, the highest point of the North Rim National Park, some five to six miles away from the Visitor Center (again, see the maps). This is where we took these shots…

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And that’s all she wrote from the North Rim on my birthday. It was later afternoon and time to start our long drive back to the Marble Canyon Lodge.

* * *

RUSTIC DINNER AT LEE’S FERRY LODGE

On our drive to the North Rim earlier this day, as we were passing this place not far from our Marble Canyon Lodge, I said to Elizabeth, “this looks like the rustic restaurant I envisioned for my birthday dinner.”

We agreed that we should check it out upon our return.

And so we did. It was marvelous. This “rustic dinner” ended up being Elizabeth’s third favorite experience of the entire trip.

IMG_4031 IMG_4032 IMG_4030 IMG_4033 IMG_4034

* * *

SECOND WALK OVER LEE’S FERRY BRIDGE, CONDOR SIGHTING

After dinner and a short drive back to the Marble Canyon Lodge, Elizabeth suggested we go for a walk to and across the Navajo Bridge which we only quickly perused this morning. The sun was just about to set, so the light was very different from our first visit to the bridge.

IMG_4038 IMG_4039

Little did we know that this light exercise would also include a second sacred animal sighting. This time it was a Condor.  I could not believe my eyes. I never knew that there were any Condors in Arizona. This one, however, was perched atop a rock deep down in the gorge under the bridge, evidently settling down for the night.

IMG_4036 IMG_4037

Andean Condor - Vultur gryphus
Andean Condor

I realized almost immediately that this was no coincidence.  This was clearly yet another-second birthday greeting from the spirit realm.

You see, the Condor is revered by the Andean shamans as the sacred animal of the East cardinal direction, of the Air element, and of the Hanaqpacha (Upper World) where the Ascended Masters reside (see Condor Air/East/Upper World). I always address the Condor as such when I open the sacred space before shamanic ceremonies.

CondorAnd now, on my 70th birthday, for the first  time in my life, I was actually seeing one in the wild.

Pretty, wild, huh? 🙂 Looking at it from high up on the bridge, it was hard to believe that this creature has the largest wingspan of any bird – often 8-10 feet wide.

The Condor’s lifespan is similar to humans’. It averages around 70 years. Some birds have been known to live to be a 100.

Upon our return home, I also looked up the properties of the Condor as the Spirit totem:

Condor— Soaring above limitations, imminent changes, knowledge concerning the dead, a new vision through death and rebirth

Andean Condor— Condors motivate us to collectively reach out and share the knowledge we have stored within ourselves. 

California Condor — Condor people are inspired to restore balance

Condor – teaches us how to soar above our limitations.

  • This Totem is a semi-permanent totem; once it enters your life it californiacondorclwill be with you always, through your numerous lifetimes.
  • You may start to see auras and colors around people; 
  • Condor can help teach you how to accomplish this through patience and vision.  
  • Condors teach you how to soar without using much energy, how to ride the thermal winds instead of flapping.  
  • Go with the flow.  Use your own energy powerfully and efficiently.  
  • Condor is associated with the sense of smell and aromatherapy is a good tool to use to connect with this Totem.   
  • The Condor promises us that no matter how difficult things are at the moment, rescue and change are imminent.
  • Soar above the drudgeries of every day life through spirit. Condor is there to protect you in this journey. (Source:  http://www.linsdomain.com/totems/pages/vulture.htm)

* * *

For more on this trip, click on…

 

 

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