Located in Grand Canyon National Park, Transept Trail takes you near the North Ridge of the Grand Canyon. It’s a 3.4 mile, out and back, dog and kid friendly hike that runs between the North Rim Campground and the Grand Canyon Lodge. The rebuilt Grand Canyon Lodge, that is, the original was burned down in 1932. People tell of a face that was seen in the flames of this fire, a face that still haunts the lodge. The face of the Wailing Woman, also called the Wandering Woman. Some believe she may be the actual La Llorona that Mexican legends speak of.
The ancient legend of La Llorona tells of a young, beautiful woman with long black hair. She fell madly in love with a man whom she married and had two children. His love, however, wasn’t true. One day she caught him with another woman and in a fit of rage, she drowned her own children in a river. Realizing what she had done, her rage turned instantly to grief and remorse. She howled as she chased their lifeless bodies down the river. Her mournful wailing was heard by everyone and is said to still be heard today. Legends vary slightly about her sad story, but the basics are the same.
A woman, terribly scorned, made the most horrible motherly mistake. She knew it too. Most believe that she killed herself as well; after she came to her senses she couldn’t live with what she had done. Her soul is said to be damned and forced to wander this plane, forever searching rivers for the souls of her children; who have already moved on.
Another story, more local to the area, says that the Wailing Woman is an unknown lady who lost her husband and their child. It’s believed that they died in a hiking accident, but the details vary with this story as well. She couldn’t bear a life without them, so she took it herself. Now her spirit is forced to wander this path in her white dress with blue flowers, crying mournfully and forever living the pain and loss that she felt in life.
The face that was seen in the fire of the Grand Canyon Lodge is believed to be that of the wailing woman. Whether it was La Llorona making her appearance, or a newer Wailing Woman will most likely forever be unknown. Although it’s said that there’s a door in the Grand Canyon Lodge that is slammed shut, every time someone leaves it open. I’m not sure why La Llorona would want that door to stay shut, but maybe the Wailing Woman has a reason. It could be a completely different spirit altogether, a mischievous life that was lost to the tremendous beauty of the Grand Canyon. You’ll have to decide for yourself.