Not sure I still have anyone following my journey, but I'm going to blog as if I do.Today started out quite early due to construction going on. Seems they have to get their work done at night since it is the main road to the south entrance. I am only about 1/2 mile from the gate here in the campground, so I will just have to deal with 0300 wakeups I guess. Anyway, I took advantage of that time and got into the park early enough for sunrise as the above photo attests to. This scene unfolded as I was hiking the Watchman Trail. What a beautiful trek it was too. The following photos should give you some idea of what I saw. The really tall pointy rock is what they call the Watchman.
To me, this looked like the best seat in the house this morning...
From here I went back to the visitor's center. Talked to a ranger about the need for a pass to get back to the Watchman at night. Turns out that I don't need a pass to get into the southern part of the canyon, which the Watchman is part of. Great news if the weather holds up. I then hopped on the park shuttle to get to deeper parts of the canyon. I got off at the Grottos stop and then hiked a couple of trails to take me through some awesome canyon views as well as an area called the Emerald Pools. There are three sets of pools, but I only walked to the lower pools. This brought me close to another shuttle stop so I hopped back on and headed back to the campground for lunch and a nap due to my very early morning start. Nap was a bit longer than planned so decided to wait until early morning to head out to get some star shots. Right now it is raining (something rather rare in the desert) so that may not happen either. Below are a couple of shots looking down the canyon.
Tomorrow it is back to the canyon to take a couple more hikes. Almost doubled my step goal on today's hikes.