Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eleven! Part 3

We got up early, got dressed and headed out for our trip to the Grand Canyon.  The Grand Canyon is about 1.5 hours north of Flagstaff and I knew we wanted to get there as early as we could.  We grabbed something to eat at Wildflower Bakery and ate in the car.  We arrived at the South entrance just before 9am, got in line and paid our entrance fee, $25 for the week.  That had gone up since the last time I'd been there 4 years ago.

We drove towards the Canyon to Yavapai Point, parked our car (went to the bathroom ;) ) and walked to the edge of the world. :)

A.'s first view of the Canyon

I could tell A. was inspired with her first glimpse of the majestic beauty of the Canyon.  The layers of rock with hues of reds, orange, greens, blues, has inspired many artists, including my own sweet girl.
We started walking down the trail along the rim towards the lodges, missing the observation point completely! LOL  What started out as a quick jaunt a little ways down the walk way turned into a several hour adventure.  I thought we were going to quickly look at this point then go back to the car and drive it down to the lodge area.  Instead, we kept on walking, leaving our water and food and money back at the car!  When we walked the 2.5 miles to the El Tovar Lodge, we jumped on the shuttle to take us back to the spot where our car was.  What I didn't realize at the time was just how many stops that shuttle takes (map was left in the car as well).  It was well over an hour and a rather circuitous route before we finally made it back to our car and water.  It would have been faster if we'd walked! LOL  However, the shuttle ride gave us a glimpse at some wildlife we wouldn't have seen otherwise as well as a lesson on human nature.  We saw all sorts of people on that bus and I'd have to say a good majority of the Americans certainly fit the sterotype of the "Ugly American" :(  Oh my goodness!  The complaining, the swearing, the general nastiness to each other and others around them.  It made me so sad to see.  Here they are at one of the Wonders of the World, surrounded in God's majesty, and all they can do is swear and yell at each other? :(

In spite of the nastiness and the very long bus ride back to our car LOL, we had a lot of fun and were so thankful to see our car and get some water! We drank our bottles and ate some peaches and plums we'd brought along then headed over to the observation deck that we'd missed previously. One wall of the observation station is all glass which gives you incredible views of the canyon.  You can see down to the river and the ranch from this vantage point.  Very cool. :)

When we had walked to the ranger station/gift shop by El Tovar Lodge earlier A. grabbed a Jr. Ranger badge book and started to fill it out.  We were  planning on going back to the station to listen to a program so she could fulfill all the requirements for the badge but by the time we actually made it back to our car and then back to the lodge, almost 2 hours had passed and the canyon was now packed with visitors!  There weren't any parking spaces left.  One thing we learned on our bus trip is that July is the busiest month for visitors to The Grand Canyon.  Who knew? LOL  As we drove further from the lodges looking for parking, the big black clouds that had been to our south much of the morning were now threatening overhead.  The first clap of thunder and we knew a downpour was imminent.  It was now close to 2 in the afternoon, we hadn't eaten lunch besides our pieces of fruit and we were in for a good old mountain downpour.  We decided we'd head over to the Market Plaza in the park and grab something to eat there.  As soon as we parked the drops came down.  Huge, drenching drops.  We made it to the cafe just as the thunder clapped again and the skies opened up.  It was pouring!  We sat in the cafe by the window watching the rain pour down eating our soggy sandwiches and talking about what we were going to do next.  We checked out the gift shop attached to the cafe, bought a t-shirt and baseball cap and decided to brave the storm and head on out of the park to another tourist stop in Williams, Bearizona!  
The storm was pretty bad, lots of rain and ground lightening.  I have since learned that there was flooding not too far from where we were (and where we ended up going the next day) and a 12 year old girl fell into the flood waters and drowned. :(  We were happy to be snug and dry in our car and by the time we made it over to Williams, the sky cleared so we were able to check out Bearizona. I'll share about that next. :)

Here are our pictures from the canyon along with A's painting (she drew it at the canyon and then painted it back at the hotel that night). (click on pictures to make them bigger)

Close to the beginning of the Bright Angel Trail

 We had just been on this ledge a few minutes before

 Hopi House one of the original buildings at the Canyon
El Tovar Lodge, 
another historic building at the Canyon built in 1905 
by the Santa Fe Railroad Co.
Cool old tree along the trail

 Hawk soaring over the canyon
 Elk we saw from the shuttle
 Donkey's all saddled up and ready to hit the trail

 View from the observation deck
 Phantom Ranch seen from the observation deck
Western Scrub Jay

A's. Canyon Painting


3 Sons said...

Loving your posts. Amazing painting. :)

Jen U. said...

I'm loving these posts too! All of your pictures are causing me to look even more forward to our trip!