Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM


Roger J. Wendell at Ribbon Falls, Grand Canyon - August, 1992
Me at the base of Ribbon Falls, Grand Canyon
(August 1992)
Grand Canyon

"You cannot see the Grand Canyon in one view, as if it were a changeless spectacle from which a curtain might be lifted, but to see it you have to toil from month to month through its labyrinths."

- John Wesley Powell



"The region...is, of course, altogether valueless. It can be approached only from the south, and after entering it there is nothing
to do but leave. Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality."
- Lieutenant Jospeh C. Ives on his 1857-58 expedition to the Grand Canyon
[Interesting to note that exactly 150 years later, when I was adding his quote to my page,
  Grand Canyon National Park was receiving more than 4 million visitors each year - Roger]

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my page about Arizona...
Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my page about hiking...
Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my page about climbing...

Me and the Canyon:

Grand Canyon By the year 2000, at my best estimate, I had visited Grand Canyon (there's no "the" in its name) at least 15 times. Obviously I love Grand Canyon but you'll be surprised to learn that I don't think it's really that special of a place. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly wonderfully magical, just like you may have heard or seen for yourself. However, for me, Grand Canyon is really just a remnant of what much of the American west used to be, and should be.

My life has been lucky; my parents first took the four of us kids to Grand Canyon during a 60s road trip. Since then, I've shared driving duties to get me there as an adult and my own kids have hiked it with me as well. I've been in the Canyon with Tony, Doug, Bobby, Karel, Randy, Rogy, Tami, Amber and a host of acquaintances met along the trail and river itself. One time, unplanned, I even met a former coworker down there - both of us were very surprised! (We had both, previously, worked for the Postal Inspection Service)

Anyway, my different trips to, and through, Grand Canyon have been as varied as that ancient terrain is itself. I've been along the Colorado River, in a steady drizzle, while wild snowstorms raged on the rim a mile above me. I've been in box canyons so hot in the midday sun that I thought I'd pass out just trying to guide my brother to a nearby tributary to relieve his own heat sickness.

Some trips have been short, like the day my son, and our exchange student and I hiked down to Phantom Ranch, bought some over-priced candy bars, and hiked back up at sunset. Other trips, like with Randy or Karel, have been ten days, or longer, with not another person to be seen along most of the Tonto's meandering length.

At the bottom I've met wonderful poets, professors and plain people just like me. I've met backcountry rangers three days from anywhere and jail escapees (on Horseshoe mesa) roasting whole chickens on a pinion that they'd just cut down (highly illegal but criminals are difficult to stop...). I've dined with boy scouts, nudists, naturists, and philosophers at about every camp between South Bass and Tanner Rapids.

I'll keep going back, even if it means using that same campsite where Karel and I suffered without food or fuel for a few days. Or maybe it'll be that spot one north rim evening where Randy and I were spellbound by a display of heat lighting so brilliant our hands shook trying to set the camera.

Yes, Grand Canyon hasn't seen the last of me. Alone or with others, I'll be back. My prayers will continue too. The prayer for wilderness and our birthright to clean air, open space and nature will be with me when I'm there as well...

- Roger J. Wendell




It is an honor to be a visitor
in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado,
as it is an honor and a privilege
to be alive, however briefly,
on this marvelous planet
we call
~ Earth ~
- Edward Abbey

Note: I first found this quote, in handwritten form,
hanging on the stone wall at Phantom Ranch
in August of '92 - Roger J. Wendell


Report warns of man-made threats to Grand Canyon National Park
by Patty Lane, CNN, August 23, 2010

Grand Canyon Logo "The majestic views overlooking the Grand Canyon make it one of America's favorite destinations, but a new report finds several man-made threats are contributing to the deterioration of Grand Canyon National Park.

"Scientists and park staff working on the 'State of the Parks' Grand Canyon report highlight areas and resources in the park that are threatened, the history of those threats and what can be done to correct them.

"What they found is a national park that continues to decline from factors ranging from climate change to mining to aircraft flyovers as well as management of the Colorado River upstream from the canyon.

"They're all having a negative impact, said David Nimkin, southwest regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association, which conducted the study.

"'What people don't often know about the park is how threatened it is,' he said. If action isn't taken, 'the conditions at the park will continue to deteriorate,' Nimkin added.




"No geologist is surprised that the Colorado River threatened Glen Canyon Dam - the river has removed every grain of rock that once occupied each of its many canyons, including Glen and Grand. The Grand Canyon is roughly three hundred miles long, fifteen miles wide, and one mile deep. This means that the river and its tributaries have excavated an average of 125 million tons of solid rock from the Grand Canyon - each year for the last five million years or so. Not only that, the Colorado has removed even larger dams than Glen Canyon and Hoover. In the last half a million years, the river has blasted to smithereens a whole series of hard lava dams in the Toroweap section of the Grand Canyon, strewing their remnants downstream for eighty miles."
- James Lawrence Powell in his book; Dead Pool
(Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West) p. 17




Click on any of this page's "thumbnail" images for a larger view!
[a "mouse-over" also provides some text description]


April 2006:
(a 20th anniversary hike!)

On April 15th, my friend Doug Bloom, his son Bobby, and I departed Denver for a weeklong adventure in the Boucher area, Hermit Creek, and Monument Creek camps along Grand Canyon's south rim - exactly 20 years since Doug and I first experienced the Canyon together in what seems like another century (well, actually, it was another century!)! And, appropriately, we exited the Canyon on Earth Day and were safely back home in time to be with our families before the new workweek.

As you can see from these photos we had a great time experiencing a wide variety of climes and terrain between the 6,000 foot rim and 2,300 foot Colorado River. Most of the time we had the entire area to ourselves. At other times we were delighted to share camp with other hikers or even accept cold drinks from passing raft parties. Some days were long and hard with nearly ten miles of some very difficult trail (even our permit warned that the itinerary we had selected was "EXCESSIVELY DANGEROUS!") while other days were filled with much deserved rest and relaxation. Somehow we survived it all and plan to go back sometime soon!

- Roger J. Wendell, April '06


Going through Utah, after starting out in Denver, we got a
pretty good look at Mexican Hat, Hole-in-the-Wall, and other
Utah marvels. Once on the Canyon's rim, we used the Park
Service shuttle, to Hermit's Rest, instead of parking at the
trailhead. Hopefully private vehicle use will be even more
restricted in the National Park of the future?

Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Leaving Denver
Bobby does the Driving to Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Bobby does the driving
Mexican Hat, Utah - April, 2006
Mexican Hat, Utah
Starting out at Hermit's Rest, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Starting at Hermit's Rest
Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus - April, 2006
Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus
Starting Down Hermit's Trail, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Starting down the trail


A little hard on the knees but going down was steady with
extra water available at Santa Maria Spring. I drank freely
from the spring but highly recommend others purify it first!

Bobby Bloom at Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Bobby Bloom
Grand Canyon View - April, 2006
Nice view...
Santa Maria Spring, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Santa Maria Spring
Bobby and Doug Bloom, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Bobby and Doug
Roger Wendell Hiking in Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Roger J. Wendell
Roger J. Wendell Grand Canyon Backpack - April, 2006
Roger's 7,000 Cubic inch pack...


Great views with some level walking could be found along the
the Tonto at times! Once we reached the river camp was really
easy to set up since we didn't need to use our tents (although
we brought them along - just in case...

Grand Canyon Looking North - April, 2006
Looking toward North Rim
Grand Canyon Hermit Trail - April, 2006
Hermit Trail
Grand Canyon view of Various 'Temples' - April, 2006
Looking toward various Temples
Bobby and Doug Bloom on a Grand Canyon Trail - April, 2006
Bobby and Doug
Bobby and Doug Bloom on a Grand Canyon Trail - April, 2006
Bobby and Doug
Camp at Hermit Rapids, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Camp at Hermit Rapids


Comfortable beach conditions, at Hermit Rapids for two days,
allowed us to hike around and do a little bouldering, Yoga,
and other relaxing stuff while we enjoyed the clear air and
fantastic views!

Bobby Checks the Cooking in Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Bobby checks on dinner...
Doug wakes up at Hermit Rapids, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Early morning for Doug!
Starting the stove in Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Starting the stove
Hermit Rapids Food Bag, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Protecting our food...
Hermit Rapids (Class 9), Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Hermit Rapids (Class 9)
Roger J. Wendell alongside Hermit Creek, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Roger alongside Hermit Creek


Rodents are a problem in the more heavily used areas of Grand
Canyon. Purifying water is always important, almost everywhere you
go on the planet these days! By the way, those are somebody else's
packs being protected from mamilian raiders. Our packs, because we
planned to stay for an entire week, averaged between 45 and 55 pounds
when you included water along with everything else.

Bobby Purifies Grand Canyon Water - April, 2006
Bobby purifies our water...
Hanging Packs at Hermit Creek Camp, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Protecting packs from rodents
Grand Canyon Food Canisters - April, 2006
Park Service food canisters
View of Tonto Platform, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Tonto Platform
Roger J. Wendell at a Grand Canyon Trail Junction - April, 2006
Roger at a junction...
Hermit Trail, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Hermit Trail


Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my page on toilet matters... Roger at the Monument Creek Toilets, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Roger at Monument Creek toilets
Roger on the Monument Creek Toilet, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Roger sits...
Three Toilets at Monument Creek, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Three Monument Creek toilets...


Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for some photos of insects I found in Grand Canyon...


That pinnicle, in the middle of Monument Creek, is as tall
as most buildings in a small city. My old Gregory Cassin backpack
is approaching a quarter century of use and probably won't last
much longer...

Doug and Bobby Bloom and the Grand Canyon's Tonto Platform - April, 2006
Doug, Bobby and the Tonto!
Monument Creek, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Monument Creek
Sign to Granite Rapids, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
This way to Granite Rapids...
Doug and Bobby Bloom Hiking in Monument Creek, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Hiking in Monument Creek
Bobby, Doug and a Rafter near Granite Rapids, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Near Granite Rapids
Roger J. Wendell's 22+ year old Gregory Cassin Backpack at Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Roger's old Gregory Cassin pack


Camping by the river was very relaxing and warm. We didn't
need tents and the rafters seemed happy to throw us a few
cold drinks at the drop of a hat!

Grand Canyon River Rafters - April, 2006
Rivers Rafters
Rafters near Granite Rapids, Grand CanyonGrand Canyon - April, 2006
Near Granite Rapids
Colorado River Rafters, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Rafters line up...
A calm portions of the Colorado River, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Calm river...
Grand Canyon Inner Gorge - April, 2006
Inner gorge...
Colorado River, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Colorado River


On our last morning we got out of bed at just after 3 am and
started hiking at 4 am sharp. Diane was camping nearby and asked
if she could join us and we agreed. Although somewhat risky, we
all enjoyed the night hike a great deal - stopping, occassionally,
to turn off our flashlights to admire the nightime magic around us.
It took us slightly over six hours to reach the rim from Monument
creek campground - probably an hour or two faster than most... In
earlier incident, my hand brushed a cactuse while trying to set up
for yet another photo - Doug assisted me in removing the spines...

Bobby and Doug Bloom, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Bobby and Doug
Doug removs cactus spines from Roger's hand in Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Removing cactus spines...
Roger's Ground Cloth at Monunment Creek,Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Roger's ground cloth
Doug and Bobby rest at Monument Creek Camp, Grand Canyon - April, 2006
Monument Creek camp
Grand Canyon Night Hiking Out with Diane - April, 2006
Hiking out at night!
Doug and Bobby exit Grand Canyon - April 22, 2006
We made it!

For this '06 adventure, the drive to Grand Canyon, from Denver via I-70, took us about 10 hours. The drive home, via Highway 160 over Wolf Creek pass, took us about two hours longer as we made a stop at the Four Corners monument in addition to picking up some extra cash at the Ute Mountain Casino. Gasoline prices, when we started the trip, were just over $2.95 a gallon - probably quadruple what Doug and I paid on a similar Grand Canyon trip exactly 20 years earlier to the day! And, while we were in the Canyon gas prices went up nearly 10 cents per gallon for our return. I have more about "Peak Oil" on my Fossil Fuels page...




Miscellaneous Grand Canyon
photos from over the years:

Shade Near Crystal Rapids April 1993
Colorado River April, '93
Grand Canyon Shade 1993
Near Crystal Rapids
Roger J. Wendell April 1997 at Garnet Use Area
Roger J. Wendell 1997
Karel Karásek March 1991 at Boucher
Karel Karásek 1991
Karel Karásek March 1991 Yoga on the Rim
Karel does Grand Canyon Yoga 1991

Roger at bottom of Grand Canyon
Here I am in the bottom of Grand Canyon (near Tanner Rapids) in November 1998. This photograph was taken by my brother Randy.
Spacer Roger at bottom of Grand Canyon
Here's a shot from August 1992 (I was 36 then) Despite the extreme heat we decided to take a route devoid of streams or the Colorado River...

Randy at bottom of Grand Canyon
Here's Randy in the bottom of Grand Canyon (The Camera is looking towards the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers) in November 1998. This is one of the few photographs that were taken by me - I'm too lazy to carry my own camera. Anyway, notice how the water, on the left, is coming in blue while that on the right is tradtional Grand Canyon mud red. That's because the goofy dam they built, up river in Glenn Canyon, is acting as a giant silt trap - completely contrary to what nature intended...
Spacer Royal Arch Route
Here's a photo Randy took of me clinging to the side of the Royal Arch Route. There is actually a required rappel, further down this trail, because it descends down a rock face - there aren't too many trails like this one around!

Boucher Rapids 1993
Boucher Rapids '93
Roger J. Wendell Making Water at Hermit 1993
Me "making" water
Tonto Platform as viewed from Hermit
Tonto Platform
Roger J. Wendell a bit lost near Boucher 1993
A bit lost near Boucher...
Entrance to Havasupai by Roger J. Wendell - 11-22-1999
Havasu 'Baaja
Havasu 'Baaja (Havasupai, meaning the-people-of-the-blue-green-waters) is a wonderful little country that's part of Grand Canyon and immediately adjacent the National Park. I've been through Havasu 'Baaja, and even Supai, a number of times while accessing various parts of Grand Canyon. The Reservation has allowed me, and other backcountry users, access through their lands for some of the Park's more remote use areas - Thank You!
Lightning South Rim Grand Canyon by Randy Wendell - August 1992 This is a lightning photo Randy Wendell took with a regular camera during the summer of 1992 on the South Rim of Grand Canyon. As beautiful as lightning can be it's also very dangerous - check out my Lightning Safety page for more details...




Grand Canyon Backcountry Permits
(and their evolution!)

Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit Front Side - April, 2006
April, 2006
Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit Back Side - Spring, 2006
(back side)
Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit Front Side - August, 1992
August, 1992
Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit Back Side - August, 1992
(back side)
Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit Front Side - 1986
April, 1986
Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit Back Side - April, 1986
(faded back side)

My, how times have changed! If you click on the first permint, the front side for April, 2006, you'll see at the very bottom of the permit where they've written; "NOTE: EXCESSIVELY DANGEROUS HIKE! Hiker insisted on itinerary!" And, of course, park fees are considerably higher than they used to be as well...

- Roger J. Wendell, Spring 2006




Damming Grand Canyon
(and killing the Colorado River)

Glen Canyon Dam Did you Know that the Bureau of Reclamation had plans to build two dams that would flood portions of the Grand Canyon!

David Brower and the Sierra Club led a major battle to stop these dams. In June, 1966 the Sierra Club placed full-page ads in the New York Times and the Washington Post asking, "Should we also flood the Sistine Chapel so tourists can get nearer the ceiling?" Luckily these efforts stopped the construction of Grand Canyon dams but the Internal Revenue Service suspended the Sierra Club's 501(c)(3) charitable organization status for lobbying the issue...

Major John Wesley Powell was a U.S. soldier, geologist, and explorer of the American
West. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down
the Green and Colorado rivers that included the first passage through the Grand Canyon.

"Powell may have foreseen the end of the Colorado River, but he could not have foreseen the means. To conceive of Hoover and Glen Canyon dams and Lakes Mead and Powell, the Major would have needed more imagination than his contemporary, the visionary writer Jules Verne. When Powell wrote Arid Lands in the 1870s, the concrete arch dam had not been invented; the first in the United States did not rise until 1903, one year after his death. No construction company of his day would have had any idea how to build a giant dam at the bottom of a deep, hard-rock canyon in a roadless, wild region. Had such a dam been built, how would the water have been lifted to the rim? Not by electrically powered pumps, for no hydropower dams had yet been built in the United States."

"Powell could not have foreseen that giant concrete dams larger than the pyramids would impound reservoirs nearly two hundred miles long. That hydropower dams would generate the electricity to pump water thousands of feet vertically and send it hundreds of miles laterally through complex networks of pumps, pipelines, canals, and siphons. That the landowners who benefited would not be the local farmer and rancher, but giant agribusinesses and absentee corporations who owned thousands and tens of thousands of acres. That the principal crop on federally irrigated lands would be food for someone else's cattle. The hydraulic society of the American West became and remains the opposite of everything for which John Wesley Powell, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Newlands stood."

- James Lawrence Powell in his book, Dead Pool
(Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of the Water in the West), pp.49-50




Grand Canyon Waypoints

Compass For personal safety, and just for the fun of it, I usually take a GPS "reading" on the top of each peak, at the trailhead, or some other interesting point or curiosity along the way. WARNING: I cannot guarantee the accuracy of these waypoints as my own GPS bounces around a lot or I simply take an incorrect reading! Please rely on a more accurate source for your Waypoints! That being said, I still enjoy "cataloging" Waypoints and I keep a bunch of other locations, from around the world, on my 12ers, 13ers, 14ers, Waypoints, and other pages...

Granite Rapids (GC) N 36° 05.882' W 112° 10.978' 2,393 feet 729 metres
Hermits Rapids (GC) N 3° 05.987' W 112° 12.571' 2,387 feet 728 metres
Hermits Rest (GC) N 3° 03.741' W 112° 12.623' 6,610 feet 2,015 metres




Miscellaneous Grand Canyon Stuff:

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for Garrison Keillor and his humerous thoughts about Grand Canyon...
Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my and Doug Bloom's report of a meteor sighting near Grand Canyon in April, 1986...


  1. 12ers
  2. 13ers
  3. 14ers
  4. Aconcagua (Argentina)
  5. Africa (Eastern) - Kenya, Tanzania, and my Kilimanjaro climb
  6. Africa (Southern) - Our trip through Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  7. AIARE - The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education
  8. Alpine Resuce Team - Evergreen, Colorado
  9. Amazonia
  10. American Avalanche Association
  11. Backcountry Skiing
  12. Bear Safety
  13. Camping
  14. Climbing
  15. Colorado Avalanche Information Center
  16. CORSAR - Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card
  17. Ecuador
  18. Gear - Stuff for the Backcountry...
  19. Glen Canyon Institue - Drain Lake Powell and FREE Grand Canyon!
  1. Grand Canyon Association
  2. Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit Procedures
  3. Grand Canyon Backcountry Trip Planner by Bob Ribokas
  4. Grand Canyon Preservation
  5. Hiking
  6. Leave No Trace - Center for Outdoor Ethics
  7. Lightning Safety
  8. Making your own gear
  9. National Park Service
  10. Pikes Peak and Barr Camp
  11. Russia
  12. Survival in the backcountry
  13. Ten Essentials - Don't leave home without 'em!
  14. Trail Journals
  15. Travel
  16. Travel Two
  17. Walking Softly in the backcountry
  18. Water
  19. Waypoints, Grid Squares and Navigation


Warning! Climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry skiing are dangerous and can seriously injure or kill you. By further exploring this web site you acknowledge that the information presented here may be out of date or incorrect, and you agree not to hold the author responsible for any damages, injuries, or death arising from any use of this resource. Please thoroughly investigate any mountain before attempting to climb it, and do not substitute this web site for experience, training, and recognizing your limitations!




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