Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grand Canyon

I have always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, yet even in my 9 years of fulltime RVing, I never got to the Grand Canyon. The closest I got was in January 1991 on my way back from California on the way home to Denver. We had left Las Vegas earlier in the morning and it was 11 degrees. It was snowing when we arrived at the Grand Canyon. The kids didn't want to get out and do much because it was cold. You couldn't really see much because everything was covered with snow. We had some hot chocolate in the lodge and went on down the road. Well, finally, almost 20 years later I returned to the Grand Canyon and spent several days enjoying the wonderful views and doing some hiking.
The El Tovar Hotel. Designed by Elizabeth Jane Coulter, employee of Fred Harvey Company, the hotel opened in 1905.

Lookout Studio, built on the edge of the canyon.

Looking down on Plateau Point which is 3000 feet below the rim of the canyon.

Pictures don't do justice to the view of the canyon. There is no describing the awestruck beauty of this vast chasm in the earth.

Zoomed in at 40X to get a glimpse of the bridge over the Colorado River in the bottom of the canyon, some 5000 feet below the south rim.

Zoomed in again to Phantom Ranch, the only place to stay if you go to the bottom. There are cabins, dorm style bunks and a campground. Reservations and permits are required to stay overnight. They suggest getting reservations and permits a year in advance, but there are always people who cancel and if you are lucky or want to wait a few days you can usually get in.

They say not to feed the wildlife, but this lady didn't think it meant her. Not only was she feeding the squirrel, she was petting it. Her and her husband kept feeding it peanuts just so they could set up photos. Sorry, but I kept hoping the squirrel would reach around and bite her. Having been a volunteer in the National Park System I understand why they don't want people feeding the animals. Please people, they are WILDlife, leave them alone. Just enjoy watching them. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.....

The Orphan Mine was established in 1893, but wasn't found profitable and mining was sporadic until uranium was found in the late 1950s. Until 1969 the mine was a major source of uranium during the cold war. The park service is now in a major clean up mode to decontaminate the area and make it once more accessible to the public.

Sunset over the canyon.

We stayed about 5 miles outside of the national park in Kaibab National Forest.

A beautiful view of the canyon.

Remember at the beginning I said I did some hiking? Well, Max and I hiked down to Plateau Point. Although only 3000 feet below the rim (just over 1/2 mile), it takes 6 miles to get there with all the switchbacks. And after climbing down, you had to climb back up those same 6 miles. I knew it would be a tough hike and it was, but I'm sure glad I did it. And yes, I was sore for several days after. It was a nice 8 hour hike.

On our way out we stopped at the 3-mile rest area for brief moment.

A look down at the switchbacks on the trail down to Plateau Point.

Sunset at Mojave Point on Hermits Rest Route.


Bob Parker And Donna Huffer said...

Now REALLY see it and raft it. Awesome. Both of us have done it twice and will do it again Lord willing.

Diana said...

Wow, I didn't know this was your first visit. And I can't believe you went all the way to Plateau Point! Good goin'!

Jennifer said...

Congratulations on your great hike! That is a serious workout.

Beautiful pictures.