We have now gone another quarter mile on the Tonto Trail, to mile 3.2 and a small rise on the high, western side of Mineral Canyon. We are right on top of one of the Hakatai Shale red splotches, the last one along the trail before we leave Mineral Canyon. Turn the panorama to look behind at the brown Tapeats Sandstone cliffs, and you can see the break that the trail will pass through shortly.
There isn’t much vegetation right here, even by the standards of the desert here in the inner Grand Canyon. A few bunches of dried up grass and not much else. There must be something in the mineral content or the character of the bits of soil forming on top of the Hakatai that the plants don’t like, but the sparse vegetation means that the red splotches stand out and can be spotted from a long way away. Head up to any of the panoramas above this area on the South Rim and you can even from that distance clearly pick out the Hakatai on the far side of the Colorado.