Friday, May 8, 2015

Grand Canyon!

While I was in Williams, Arizona, a friend and I were thinking about taking the train up to the Grand Canyon to spend a few hours exploring. Since Williams is over 6000' in elevation, it was quite cool up there, and to add to the fun, we spent two full days with total overcast and rain. My friend decided we should just drive up the next morning we saw blue sky (!) again so that we could have unlimited time.

So, on my last day there, we went up to visit the Canyon. Since the area is so well visited, they have a fleet of shuttle buses that run along the south rim of the Canyon. You can get off at every scenic overlook to take photos and then board another bus that comes along every 10 or 15 minutes. Otherwise, the area would be a mass of vehicles trying to maneuver along the roads. During off-season, when there aren't many visitors, since it snows up there, you are allowed to drive that same route.


The Colorado River shaped the Canyon millions of years ago, it now flows through the bottom of the Canyon at almost a mile down - not often seen by people standing on the rim. The Canyon itself is massive, covering over 1900 square miles. It can be anywhere from 5 to 18 miles from the South Rim to the North Rim, which is higher elevation. There are many colors in the rock formations that have been carved out by the river, layer by layer. Although our shuttle bus took us along the rim for 8 miles, we saw only a small portion of the canyon.


The last stop on the shuttle was Hermit's Rest, a very rustic building built in the early 1900s with local rock. It now houses a snack bar and gift shop. The most amazing part of the building is the giant fireplace area, as shown in the photo below. There were people relaxing in that area, so I've blocked them off since I didn't have permission to post their photos. Unfortunately, they didn't have a fire going on that day.

There are different tours available, such as helicopter rides inside the canyon, and a pack-mule trip down into the canyon, a 20 mile hike with a couple days of camping. I probably won't be doing either of those. I will most likely go back to visit the Canyon again and camp there, or close by. There is so much more to see than what you can see in a few hours.

On the way back to our park, we saw cars parked on each side of the road, so we slowed down and saw an elk grazing along the road.  He was oblivious to the attention and just looked up a couple times.

Since neither of us had lunch, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant for an early dinner on the way home.  It was a great exploring day!   Thanks to my good friend who did the driving!


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