Sunday, May 19, 2013

Grand Canyon Part 2

We are back in California now after another change in plans. More on that later. Anyway, thought I would do one more post on our enjoyable time at the grand old canyon. One day we went to some of the overlooks you can drive to that are not restricted to shuttle only. It is actually the way we came in but hadn't stopped as we were in the motorhome. So we drove down to the East Entrance and stopped at some viewpoints there and on the way back.


At the eastern entrance is a short walk to the Desert View Watchtower.The Desert View Watchtower,was constructed in 1932 as a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower with a great view of the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert to the east and the San Francisco Peaks to the south. This 70 foot tower is the highest point on the South Rim. Mary Colter is the architect and she created a very interesting building from the exterior stonework to the inside walls covered with murals including many by Hopi artist, Fred Kabotie to an observation deck at the top.

The Park has a small village in it, which includes a quite large grocery store. When we came out, we saw this shopper hanging out in the parking lot.

The next day, we took Savannah for a long walk around the campground before we left her in the rv as we had plans to take the shuttle towards the west end of the park. By the time we got parked, and on the shuttle we was lunch time and so we got off at the stop where there are 3 hotels, including the El Tovar, which are all on the Rim with nice views. El Tovar was our choice for lunch. The hotel was first open in 1905 and had some renovations done in 2005.

We had the special which was a seafood pasta with a lobster sauce. So yummy, with a lot of fish and a great sauce. I took a picture after I had already eaten more than half. We could easily have shared.

Joe in picture above sitting on their porch after lunch checking out his messages.

Across the way is the Hopi House. This is another building designed, by Mary Coulter in 1905, after the ancient Hopi Village in Oraibi. There were some Native Americans putting on a show in front of the building which contains a gift shop.

the Kolb Studio, a national historic landmark, was build in 1905 NS served as home, photography, studio, and theater for the Kolb brothers’ public slide shows and films. The Kolb brothers built their home and studio perched dramatically on the edge of the South Rim at the head of the Bright Angel Trail, which is one of the main trails down into the canyon.

The picture above you can see their boat, on the right,which they lugged down the canyon to the Colorado River in search of photo ops. Their photos of the Canyon were a big part in adding to the popular of this Park as they were brought to a national audience.

You can see people walking part of the Bright Angel Trail, which is one of the most popular trails that goes down into the canyon.

We took the shuttle to the end, which is Hermits Rest. This was originally built in 1914 as a rest stop for tourists by the Fred Harvey Company, who built hotels and restaurants as part of a contract with the Railroad.

We then decided to walk back to the next shuttle stop, a nice 1.1 mile walk on the Rim Trail.






















We again jumped on the shuttle where we had to stand all most all the way back to the parking area. It is already busy, especially with international travelers. Can just image what summer will bring. Another nice day. Next blog may have a little more of Grand Canyon for our last day and why we changed our plans again. Stay tune.



Friday, May 17, 2013

One of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World

We left the North Rim, winding down the road through the Kaibab Forest and south to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Nice views as we continued the windy road.


We are staying at Ten X , a national forest campground about 4 miles from the south entrance of Grand Canyon National Park. It is a lovely spot, away from the main road with large spacious spots. Some of the pull throughs, such as the one we have, are long enough for several large motorhomes. There are no motorhomes in view from any of our windows, just ponderosa pines and gambel oak trees, Plus we are only paying $5 a night!! No hook ups but who cares. This is cheaper and much nicer than our last stop. Interesting pricing as this campground is run by the forest service while our last stop was run by a concessionaire.


As I had read that all the reserved sites were full for the weekend, we left early to get here by noon to get one of the first come first serve spots. Good thing we did as we got one of the last large pull thru sites. As it was still early, we headed over to the park to do a little touring.


As the picture above shows it is a world heritage site and certainly deserves it. Besides being magnificent, this park was well planned. All the building blend well into the landscape. Some of the lodging are set down on side roads so they are not seen from the main road or rim. This place gets 5 million visitors a year, many from other countries. Some of the area is accessible by shuttle only or walking the rim. We will take the shuttle another day when we don't have Savannah with us. The Rim Trail stretches from the South Kaibab Trailhead west to Hermits Rest, a distance of approximately thirteen miles and dogs are allowed!!

We stopped at the visitor center first and then walked over to the Rim for our first view from this side of the Canyon. Again it is hard to show in pictures how expansive it is. It is overwhelming. Just WOW. The Canyon has many rock layers, carved out over nearly 2 billion years. It is mind blowing how moving waters, land masses colliding and drifting apart, sea levels rising and falling have created this unique place. There is not a lot of vegetation on the elevated plateau and so all the different layers are on view for all to see.



You can see the Colorado River below and some of the rapids.




The trail is paved most of the way and this section near the visitor center and lodging area is mostly flat and so easy for anyone to enjoy.




As we headed back to the campground, we saw some elk grazing on the side of the road. Yeah, wildlife.

Stay tune for further adventures in this Grand Grand Canyon,




Thursday, May 16, 2013

Exploring the North Rim

In trying to figure out where we wanted to go next since we have 3 weeks before needing to be in the OC, Joe brought up the Grand Canyon. The North Rim to be exact. We have been near it a number of times in our travels in Arizona and Utah but for some reason didn't make the decision to stay there. Our timing was good as we arrived on the 14th and the North Rim opened the 15th. The South Rim, which is the more popular destination is around 7,000 feet and open all year. The North Rim at 8,000 feet is only open from May to October. The campground at the North Rim is already booked and so we actually stayed at Jacob Lake, a forest campground in the Kaibab National Forest, which is a straight 41 mile shot to the North Rim.The 50 plus sites are set in this forest setting right on the main road to the Canyon. $18(9 for us with our national pass) no hookups but nice. The next day we headed for the North Rim. There was a large section where fire has made its appearance with more dead trees than live ones. They get fires from every 2 to 7 years. However, most was lush and an enjoyable drive.

We drove through the entrance showing our pass which saved us another $25(good for 7 days). The North Rim is only 10 miles, as the crow flys, but with those without wings, it is an approximately 200 mile drive. The North Rim, thought not as popular as the South Rim, definitely has its own beauty and great views of the immense mile deep canyon. We first walked to the Grand Canyon Lodge.

This is a great looking lodge and would be a nice place to stay. You first enter the lodge and then as you walk down the stairs to the restaurant, you are treated to your first view of the canyon through walk to walk windows. WOW. If you have only seen pictures of the Canyon and thought it looked pretty, you are in for a pleasant surprise. It is one of those places that should be on everyone's bucket list. It is hard to capture by camera, your eyes want to go everywhere.


Below is Joe sitting on the lodge's outdoor seating area.

We took a walk on the only trail that allows pets. It is a nice walk through the forest area full of ponderosa pines, firs and lovely Aspen trees just getting their leaves.


It was a nice hike but we are ready to see more of the canyon views and so we drive to some of the view points. Point Imperial is the our first destination.



What spectacular views of the colorful plateaus that make up this canyon which is over a million acres.

Well known for its geologic significance, the Grand Canyon is one of the most studied geologic landscapes in the world. It offers an excellent record of three of the four eras of geological time, a rich and diverse fossil record, a vast array of geologic features and rock types, and numerous caves containing extensive and significant geological, paleontological, archeological and biological resources.



Another day we drove to Cape Royal Point, where we took a walk on a flat, paved trail to the Point for more mouth dropping views.




Angel's Windows is one of the interesting sights.


A close up view of the window.



The Colorado can seen below. The water looks calm in this section but there are sections that are high in the rapid ratings for whitewater rafting.



We stopped at a picnic area and ate the lunch we brought while taking in the incredible views.


Our next stop is the South Rim. Stay tuned for further adventures.