Our first trip of the 2014 river season just came off the water and our second, a 15-day Oar-Powered excursion, headed out just recently. Wow, here we go… another wonderful rafting season! The two trips GCW launches in April are deemed “Hiker’s Special” rafting trips. That means they are our normal trips but with additional days to be able to hike and explore more of Grand Canyon. We run these extended Hiker’s Special trips in April while the weather is really great and cool for hiking around in the desert. An added bonus is the spring bloom! There is something really magical about bright springtime flowers in the desert. They incredibly-colored flowers just pop in the dry landscape.
I wasn’t able to make Grand Canyon Whitewater‘s Hiker’s raft trips this year, BUT I did hike into Grand Canyon via the Tanner Trail while the trips were on the water and snapped these photos of the wonderful flora of Grand Canyon.
The Grizzly Bear Cactus, below, produces beautiful pink, magenta or yellow flowers. This cacti may often be confused with Prickly Pear but is much more densely spined.
The Banana Yucca, below, was one of the most useful plants to prehistoric Native Americans. Many items such as soap, shampoo, paintbrushes, sandals, robe and string could be made from the roots and/or leaf fibers of this plant.
The flower below is a Utah Beardtongue, a type of Penstemon. Actually, our hometown of Flagstaff, AZ boasts one of the largest collections of Penstemons and even hosts an annual Penstemon festival!
The Globe mallow, below, I’ve heard can be used to make a very calming tea – similar to a Chamomile effect.