I arrived at Marble Canyon Lodge just in time to join my Road Scholar group for dinner in the lodge.
The next morning we "saddled up" with our day packs for a hike in the Vermillion Cliffs of Marble Canyon.
We walked up washes....
...scrambled over rocks...
...and were led to an awesome place...
Jack, our assistant guide, asked us to stay quiet and just "be" when we entered a place he considered very special.
This is called a keyhole, a large water-carved opening with a narrow entrance.
Jack watched us as we silently entered the keyhole, and while no one spoke, we all mouthed, "WOW!"
The slot entrance.
On top of the hills, looking down on the Marble Canyon plateau. The Colorado River runs through the dark strip in the center.
Lunch stop in the shade of rocks.
A crescent moon shows over the edge of the Vermillion Cliffs.
Prickly pear growing in a circle.
I'd been concerned when I left the South Rim that I wouldn't be able to keep up on six plus-mile hikes. My cold and the altitude had me dragging after several days. However, at this altitude of around 3500 feet, I felt my strength and energy coming back, and I had no problems.
I would not have wanted to miss this hike. And, true to Jack's promise, we didn't see another human being. We had the cliffs all to ourselves, quite a change from the tourist-heavy South Rim.