On our recent trip to the Grand Canyon, the Snail Family picked up this dazzling set of postcards published by Lantern Press , a Seattle studio that specializes in original, vintage-style prints produced in the U.S.A. from recycled paper with non-toxic inks. Good people celebrating beautiful places. Named for the first director of the National Park Service, Mather Point is where most visitors get their first view of the canyon inside the South Entrance. At night, the amphitheater there is popular for stargazing. Quite opposite of Mather Point, Toroweap Point stands on the less-visited North Rim at the end of 60 miles of dirt roads, offering views of the Colorado River and Lava Falls 3,000 feet below. Lava Falls is a Class-10 rapid that can be heard all the way up on the point. We saw elk by the dozen during our visit, mainly by mule barns because the elk like the mules’ feed! The elk are patchy looking right now as they shed their winter coats. The young males have velvety nubs, not yet racks like the noble fellow in this postcard.We also saw lots of ravens (not crows!) circling over the canyons, and heard the strange sounds they make, mimicking other creatures. Vocally sophisticated, ravens’ “dialects” vary by region! Think of the Grand Canyon as its own country when it comes to raven language.
Ravens stay with the same mate for life, forming close bonds. They nest in cliff alcoves where they lay beautiful eggs.On the rebound from the brink of extinction, about six mating pairs of California condors currently live in the Grand Canyon region. The Desert View Watchtower was one of the Snail Family’s favorite stops on our visit. Perched on the East Rim, the 70-foot tower was built in 1932. It was designed by Mary Colter, who traveled all over the Four Corners by car and small plane, researching Ancestral Puebloan towers for the project.Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America, once occupied by a population of 100 Ancestral Puebloans. These indigenous people built the village’s first structure around 1190, and continued to add to the complext through 1260. By 1300, the site was abandoned; one more facet in the mystery of the disappearance of the region’s former civilization.Zion National Park is home to 19 species of bats! Bryce Canyon’s frost weathered formations are called hoodoos Delicate Arch, once called “Schoolmarm’s Bloomers” by cowboys, stands 65-feet tall. This is the arch on Utah license plates. “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth–there is nothing else like it anywhere.” –Edward AbbeyI didn’t see any antelope when I visited the Petrified Forest a few years ago, but I did hit it off with a caterpillar: