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Grand Canyon Polychrome: Exploring The Esplanade II

Veterans Day Weekend | Wednesday – Saturday, November 10-13, 2021

I can hardly believe that it’s been over three years since I last set foot on the Esplanade in 2018! Back in 2019 Diane and I took the year off from visiting the North Rim so we could finally go see the Waterfalls of Havasu Canyon on the other side of the Grand Canyon, and then in 2020 we cancelled our planned trip due to the weather forecast and other things we needed to get done at home. I’ve been looking forward to getting back and was happy to finally return this extended Veterans Day weekend with Jerry. It felt great to be back on the Esplanade! The sky was clear and the high temperatures were in the 70’s while the lows at night were very comfortable in the 40’s. We even found some water in a couple shallow potholes. As usual, I’m not going to get into all the specific details of this trip, but I will share plenty of photos below. We found everything we were looking for and had a pretty great time, until we started climbing out of the canyon on Friday…

Welcome back to the Esplanade!

Exploring the Esplanade

Ram Skull & Faded Pictographs

Canyon Narrows

Cave Paintings

Down The Canyon

Upside Down Sheep

Side Canyon Exploring

Faded White Pictographs


Red & White

Canyon Floor

High Ledge Pictographs

Canyon Nook

Corner Panel


Slot Site

Canyon Water

Little Panel

Evening On the Trail

The Esplanade at Dusk

Esplanade Camp at Dawn

Esplanade Morning


The Candyman Site

The Candyman Site

The Dreamcatcher Site

The Candyman

Overhead Pictographs

The Dreamcatcher



Headdress Guy

Long Guy

Little Lines of Sheep


Red Dog Site

Swordman Site

Upper Left

Lower Left

Red Pictograph

White Pictographs



White Dog Site

White Dog Panel

The Procession

Peeling Away


The Basket Panel

Basket Panel


Bow & Arrow

Sheep Panel

Side Petroglyphs

Faded Pictographs

Little Guys

Little Duck Head

Above The Ruin


The Ending

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short abruptly on Friday when I had to use the SOS button on my SPOT device to call for help. I’ve been carrying a SPOT with me for almost 15 years now, and this is the first time I’ve ever had to use that button. During a very steep and loose climb out of the canyon I had some sort of medical episode and my body pretty much became incapacitated twice. The episodes lasted for around 30-40 minutes each and then I was back to feeling 100% fine again. Not knowing if help was actually on the way or if it was going to happen again, I quickly climbed to the rim of the canyon while I was still feeling OK since I knew we were in a pretty bad location for a rescue, and I sure as hell didn’t want to spend the night on that cliff! We met the helicopter on the rim of the canyon and I ended up not needing a flight out or a rescue. I have never experienced anything like this before and it was very scary not to have control over my body, especially in such a sketchy and remote location. I really don’t ever want to feel like that again. I’d also like to send a special thanks to Jerry for sticking by my side and helping me get out of the canyon.

Update: I’ve now been to the doctor and have had some bloodwork done, but so far they have found no issues and I am apparently in perfect health…

>> Exploring the Esplanade II Photo Gallery


  1. Jenn Grover
    Jenn Grover November 22, 2021

    I have enjoyed your photos and write-ups fir years, now and benefited from the details you share. Glad to hear everything turned out OK.

  2. turbodb
    turbodb November 22, 2021

    Wow! First of all – glad to hear that everything seems to be OK, but bummer that you had to experience that and still not know what was going on!

    And of course, fantastic trip/photos prior to “The Ending.”

  3. Dianne
    Dianne November 22, 2021

    Beautiful rock art captures! So different! Sorry for your scare. Keep listening to your body.

  4. Kat Leedom
    Kat Leedom November 22, 2021

    So glad you didn’t need that helicopter and I sure hope you are feeling fine now!! I live vicariously through your amazing photos. Be well Randy.

  5. P Bergh
    P Bergh November 23, 2021

    Wow, those are some amazing panels. Good to know SPOT worked, glad nothing serious. Thanks

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat November 24, 2021

      Yeah, it was good to know that it worked once we started to hear the helicopter coming in the distance.

  6. Robert L Walters
    Robert L Walters November 23, 2021

    Thanks for your continued blogging, exploring and photography. What a weird, scary experience for you. I hope it never happens again.

  7. SteveR
    SteveR November 23, 2021

    Good to read that you didn’t need that helicopter ride! Hope you can figure out what happened, as there must be something going on that may repeat.

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat November 24, 2021

      Trying to get to the bottom of it, but no luck yet. Going to try hiking again this holiday weekend, but not alone yet.

  8. Harun Forester
    Harun Forester April 22, 2022

    I just completed the same trip. The red dog and candy man sites were amazing. The climb out is very loose, exposed and dangerous. I don’t recommend that route

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