TRIP DAY 10
Wednesday 14th September, 2011
We left Vegas quite early so we could enjoy the sights along the drive to Grand Canyon. First stop was Hoover Dam and a walk up to and over the new bridge which is almost more incredible than the dam!
The drive onwards to the east was spectacular and I couldn't help but keep the shutter button clicking! Rather than take the full Route 66, we took the Interstate but stopped at Seligman, a famous point on Route 66 and had a fun lunch at the Delgadillos Snow Cone. We started to feel the cold here and had to get out our jackets.
From here on to Williams the traffic started to build and when we turned north on the final approach to Grand canyon South Rim it started to rain. We spotted our first elk at the park entrance and had the enjoyment of witnessing a rainbow
over the rim upon our arrival at 3pm.
The Kachina Lodge is perched atop the rim next door to the iconic and historic El Tovar hotel but the rooms are ridiculously small. Unperturbed, we quickly got started on getting our bearings and making our plans for exploring. We got the kids over to the Verkamps Visitor Centre to collect the workbook for the Junior Ranger Program. At 5pm we boarded our pre-booked tour bus for a guided sunset tour but there was no sunset just bad weather. Frank our guide was wonderful and we not only had a good time, but learned lots as a great overview to understanding the parks history, geology, and wildlife.
Dinner I had also pre-booked in the El Tovar and we were pleasantly surprised and had a very enjoable meal and bottle of cab sav from the Nappa Valley. Oh, did I say it was freezing?
TRIP DAY 11
Thursday 15th September, 2011
We were just a bit short to pull together a good breakfast so went to the Bright
Angel Restaurant. Well, what a culinary culture shock that was. Thinking we'd ordered safe dishes, we were so surprised by what came.
We then headed off down the Bright
Angel Trail and Chardae was squealing in delight about how much she loved hiking. It was all downhill for 3 miles
onmuddy, rocky, steep switchback tracks and at 7 years old she was coping better than most other adults on the track. We got caught ina suddentorrential downpour biut I pulled out the plastic ponchos I'd brought from home just for the ocassion and we headed for the hut along with crowds of other hikers.
If we didn't have the kids we would have gone on further to Plateau Point but the kids were starting to show signs of fatique so turned back. They really surprised us how well they hiked that difficult steep track back to the top. Many peoplr commented on how well they were doing as were moving faster and overtaking most other hikers and to think they are only 7 and 10. They were really shattered at the end but Chardae ran the final stretch just to get it over with I think. After a rest and shower in our room Leah was keen to complete herJunior Ranger program to receive her badge and other than completing a set number of pages in the book, she had to attend a ranger talk. She had chosen the 3pm talk about the birds of Grand Canyon featuring the mighty California Condor so we headed out for that. The talk started under blue skies but one rumble of thunder and the ranger cancelled it for fear of lightning strikes a very dangerous threat to people standing outdoors on the rim and a death just a few weeks earlier but sher took Leah inside and checked off her work, pledged her in and gave her a ranger badge. Chardae was so encouraged she decided it was worth the effort so after waiting out the fierce storm including a hail storm we had to return to get her book, finish the required pages and find another ranger. By the end of the day we had two Junior Rangers!
Dinner at the Bright
Angel restaurant again, all pretty easy actually and a walk back to our room. WE SAW ELK, MULE DEER, SQUIRRELS AND CHIPMUNKS. Plus ravens, but no condors.
TRIP DAY 12
Friday 16th September, 2011
David and I started the day with a run
along the rim. We found it a bit challenging uphill in the thin air at high elevation and extreme cold but it was a magnificent way to start the day with sunrise views at Grand Canyon! We ran for 6km then I did some yoga on the lawn and then we fixed our own breakfast of cereal and packed up to leave for our drive out along the Desert View Drive along the the rim to the east and out to the main road at Cameron. WE STOPPED HOWEVER FOR ANOTHER STRENUOUS STEEP WALK DOWN THE kAIBAB tRAIL so it was a very late arrival of 5pm when we came to our days destination in Page.