When we set off from Page, AZ this morning, headed towards the Grand Canyon, we never thought anything would match the excitement of seeing this national park, but we were wrong. On the way, at Navajo Bridge (a national monument in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area), we encountered California condors. Hot damn! We had optimistically hoped to see one at Zion, but to no avail. It was amazing seeing them and so close. I got photos of one a mere fifty feet away. At their lowest ebb, only 22 individuals were left alive. Now the population has climbed to about 450. At the bridge are five birds, a nesting pair and their chick and two unrelated immature condors, K6 (pictured) and P5. Check them out online. This Navajo bridge collection then amounts to 1/90 of the world’s California condor population. When they are old enough to fly, the park service tags them. They use a carrion trap to snare them. I’m sure TSA wouldn’t approve, no carrion allowed.
Afterwards, we made it to the Grand Canyon, but before we got there we snagged a national forest campsite just outside the park. I estimate that we are camping at close to 9,000 feet. We are huddled close to the campfire for warmth as I write this post. There is still snow in the shade. We’ve both been to the south rim before and this is our first time on the north side, which is about a thousand feet higher than the south side and with one-tenth the tourists. Not that we are looking down on anyone.