20 April 2009
WALKABOUT '09 - DAY 4 - MILE 410 - AIN'T IT GRAND
After leaving Bedrock in Valle, Az, we continued north.
Although I am a native Arizonian I had never been to the Grand Canyon. A destination that needs no introduction.
Keep in mind, we were traveling in the 'off' season to avoid crowds and high hotel prices. The lower hotel prices we got, but the crowds had already started to mass at all the places we went to.
Unfortunately, the 'summer' viewing areas were still closed so in several of the places we went, we were not able to fully access the areas because the national parks we went to were not fully staffed.
Something to keep in mind if you plan on visiting our national parks this summer.
As you drive up to the Grand Canyon you will find yourself in a forested area wondering...'where in the heck IS this big hole' and then, it reveals itself to you.
Pure wonder. Words cannot express the beauty and grandeur of this place.
This was my first view of the canyon...
[click on any picture to enlarge -- and I highly recommend you do!!]
I highly recommend you visit the visitors center BEFORE you explore anywhere. They have maps of trails and guides for your drive.
There are trails all over, it is just a matter of how far down into the canyon you want to go. Keep in mind though....what goes down MUST come up and believe me the 'up' part can be exhausting!!. CARRY WATER WITH YOU even on cloudy days!!!
All the historic buildings in the park were designed by architect Mary Colter, a woman I have written about before. She designed the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ as well as the El Tovar Hotel, Hermits Rest, Bright Angel Lodge, Hopi House and Phantom Ranch at the Grand Canyon among others.
She also designed the spectacular Watchtower at the Grand Canyon.
The Watchtower is three levels and you can climb to the very top to view the canyon. The day we were there it was EXTREMELY windy so be warned.
This was an amazing place but you know what? We only explored about 40 percent of it. There is the whole north rim we did not get to go to due to time. Not to mention the bottom or the 'glass bottom' walk way north of where we were.
I would say this would call for another trip!!
*note - i will be updating this post with video so stop by again.
UP NEXT: THE VIEW