Monday, April 29, 2013

Last Day At Grand Canyon

Our Saturday plan was to get up very early and take the shuttle bus to Yaki Point in time to watch the sun rise over the canyon.

Didn't happen. Craig woke me up and told me that if I wanted to do that, it was time, but that he didn't want to go. My body was not ready to leave the warm bed either, and so I cuddled up next to him and went back to sleep.  We are just not morning people. After the exhausting hike the day before, and the half bottle of celebratory wine, I needed sleep more than I needed to see a sunrise. In fact, for once I lingered in bed long after our usual wakeup time reading blogs and looking thru the pictures we had taken the day before. So nice to be retired!

Although we did not do sunrise, we did follow our plan for the rest of the day, which was to explore some of the east part of the park that is accessible by car. As we drove along Desert View Drive we lost sight of the Canyon. The land is flat and covered with scrubby pine forest. I imagined what it must have been for the explorers who first discovered the canyon, or the early Indians who came upon it without knowledge of its existence.  They may have heard stories, but to see the canyon for the first time without pictorial preparation must have been amazing.

Our primary destination was the Watchtower at Desert View. Although it looks old, it was actually built in the 30's for the park service as an observation tower. The stone is all local.

It has four levels, each open at the center.

The walls are decorated with Indian motifs worked so they appear to be ancient and weathered. Fascinating.

There is a large patio observation deck off the second level. As you can tell from the picture we were there before the Saturday crowds started to come. 

In the distance to the East we could see the flatlands and Cedar Mesa. It is beyond the park borders; the locals call it "Flat Top."

This part of the canyon is quite different from the areas we viewed over the past few days. The primary cut seems narrower, and the side canyons not as deep.

On the way back to the campground we stopped at all the remaining points and vistas we could find. We were able to see more of the river at this part of the canyon.

We relaxed and rested during our last afternoon at the Grand Canyon. Craig went out to buy the T-shirt he had seen on our second day and I stayed at the Alfa to work on my blog post. However, since he took his phone, I had no hot spot.

One of our small traditons is to enjoy a dinner at the grand lodge of each National Park we visit if possible. I made reservations at the El Tovar Hotel months ago.

We had a window table and a sunset time, but we really couldn't see much of the canyon, and the sunset was unremarkable.

It didn't mater, because our whole experience had been marvelous. One thing I enjoy about our special dinners is the sense of history and past luxury. There was a time that only the rich would have been able to eat at these grand hotels.

I am so glad our country has preserved our National Parks, and that now ordinary people can enjoy them. 

Our country is rich in so many ways. 

We should all remember that, and support public works.


  1. Amen! Nice reminder we should not be taking things for granted.
    Joe and I arrive at the Grand Canyon Village tomorrow.....your blog is our travel guide. Neither one of us has ever been there! Thanks for all your information!
    Safe travels!

  2. Couldn't agree more with your last comments. We've been to that watchtower also. You have some wonderful pictures to go with your fine memories of this beautiful park. They will be a comfort if and when you decide to hang up the keys. Even re-reading your early blogs will be fun!

  3. We visited the North Rim and ate lunch at the lodge there. We had a window table but couldn't see much of the canyon either. But it was still so fantastic. Great pictures.

  4. What a great tradition, Merikay. I love that idea of eating in the lodges. We haven't managed that in the past but may may more effort in the future. As you said, these lodges are so historic and usually incredibly lovely. I have enjoyed your trip, especially the Bright Angel trail. Mo hiked to the bottom some years back, but I have never done it.

  5. I imagine it was hard to pick out which pictures to use for your posts.

  6. If you haven't yet pick up a book about Mary Colter....she is my heroine...speaking as a woman builder.

  7. WOW! Great pics. I too love the idea at having a meal at the Grand Old Ladies of the past. I think it gives a special view of the area.

  8. You are right, our country is rich in so many ways. Thanks for another fabulous Grand Canyon post! So gorgeous, it's on my bucket list for sure. Bet it was really nice to just hang out in bed for a morning too.

  9. It's amazing all the colors in the walls of the canyon. I haven't been yet, but some day I will, I'm sure. I'm glad you had such a memorable time and I'll bet you have hundreds and hundreds of photos! :)

  10. One of the reasons we like to come to USA and travel is the way you preserve history and all your wonderful State and National Parks.

    When we visited the Grand Canyon I was struggling with breathlessness from the altitude so only John climbed the tower. I wish I'd been able to push myself but I knew I would take forever to climb those stairs.

    What a great time you are having.


  11. So glad you enjoyed your Grand Canyon adventure. Well said, our national parks certainly are a treasure!!

  12. Again, you've posted some beautiful photos of the Grand Canyon. That's a great tradition of having dinner in some of the great old establishments in the National Parks. Great idea.

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  14. What a beautiful post. And your pictures are amazing! I've been to Grand Canyon three times--twice as a "stroll the rim," tourist, and once hiking in (North Rim/Kaibab Trail) that nearly killed me. But I've never been to this spot, and that view is spectacular!

    And I totally understand the special meal. It's important.

  15. Yes we should support out beautiful parks.
    I went to the Grand Canyon a few years ago and would love to go back as I only had a day and half there.

  16. You make us want to return! But we must do it slowly so John can acclimate.

  17. Another great post and pictures. Sunsets are much like sunrises, only they come at a much more convenient time of day.


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