Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday: The Grand Canyon, Part 2

As we waited in the van to get through the park gates, anticipation was getting high in the van. We were all so ready to finally see what we had driven 273 miles from Vegas to see. Luis dropped us off at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center so we could take a bathroom break and visit the gift shop and then step out behind the gift shop to the edge of the canyon.  The first views are pretty amazing and a little bit overwhelming. We all looked around and pointed out things we saw, then marveled at the tiniest of tiny people walking on the Bright Angel Trail way, way, way, way down below us. In fact it took a while for some people to even see them, and I had to use my telephoto lens to spot most of them. A couple of little squirrels popped up to say hi while were standing here.
My first view of the Grand Canyon
Luis, the tour guide
Luis parked the van and came to get us and we began our trek down the trail of the South Rim. In all, we would spend from 12:30 until just after 4 pm in the park. We walked for about 15 minutes before we stopped at an outlook area and sat down to eat our lunches, which the tour also provided. Let me tell you - there's nothing like sitting near the edge of the Grand Canyon, talking and laughing with friends, while eating your packed lunch.
Once we were full, we continued on the paved Upper Rim Trail and stopped at different lookout points along the way, while Luis explained things about the Canyon as we asked or there was something interesting to point out. Our route consisted of beginning at the Bright Angel Lodge, then we stopped at Trailview Overlook, Flatrock, Maricopa Point, Powell Point, and lastly Hopi Point. Luis helped us have some fun with photographs at one point along the trail. We were amazed at each place we stopped, but Luis kept saying "Oh this is the ugly part. Let's keep going" and we would move long.
Our only group shot, from left: Mary, me, Shiri, David, Rob, & Gevy
He was right - not that any of the Canyon was actually ugly, but once we hit Hopi Point we understood what he meant. This is where you actually get your first view of the Colorado River, which looks like a tiny creek from the top. You don't get a complete view, but you can see it snaking its way through the bottom here and there. Also at this point the Canyon sort of makes a turn and instead of running perpendicular to you, it's running more straight out from your vantage point so you can see a lot farther through it.
At Hopi Point, we spotted a small herd of 6-8 elk, and they just walked around as if we weren't even there. I literally stood 4' from one of them, and it just seemed as though I could walk right over and just pet it. As people walked closer to take pictures, they slowly moved back down the road where we were headed to catch the bus. We saw blue birds here and there as well (they'll eat grapes if you throw one out to them.) 

Hopi Point was our last stop on our walking tour, and we hopped the free shuttle to take us back to the Lodge where our van was parked.
I really can't wait to visit again some day. Nick and Kate need to see this, and I would go back in a heartbeat. It's truly amazing the creation that God has placed us to live on. Words really don't do it justice, and honestly, photos don't either. It's just something you need to see for yourself.

No comments: