Day 39 - A Rim Evacuation!May 30, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌫 4 °C
7.30am alarm woke me up, only for Jackie to tell me she hadn’t slept & would probably be grumpy. At 8.30am we got down to breakfast, which turned out to be much than better & less busy than we had anticipated. The owner/receptionist who had been surly last night & not welcoming enough was this morning cheerful & chatty.
Over breakfast she asked if we were going to the Grand Canyon National Park. When we said to her we were, she said be careful. She then related a story that 3 days ago, she had a family from Oklahoma staying, they went to the Grand Canyon & the son fell over the edge whilst taking a selfie. He couldn’t be found until the vultures had swarmed all over him & picked the carcass apart. Nice story at breakfast, but a good one.
We looked it up on google & although we couldn’t find it, there were 3 selfie death falls in the Canyon in just 8 days in April. With this cheery thought, we set off for the Canyon just after 9.00am. We picked up Highway 40 westbound, also considered to be Route 66, to the town of Williams, then turned north on Arizona 64 towards the Grand Canyon.
We had gone through rain, but we arrived at the South Rim entrance of Grand Canyon National Park 🏞 in sunshine. Instead of the $35 fee we flashed the National Park Pass & headed in. We parked up in the Visitors Centre’s car park & went in to the centre, where there were exhibits celebrating the park’s 100th anniversary. After, we took our 1st proper look at the Canyon at Mather Point. It was possibly more impressive than I remembered it.
After the usual photos, we took the unusual step of taking advantage of the free shuttle buses, mainly because they weren’t busy. We got in the short bus queue & I spoke to the park ranger who gave us some advice to make the most of our visit. As a result, we got on & got off at the Train Depot. Here was the station for the classic Grand Canyon Trains.
After admiring them, we walked up to the El Tovar Hotel, then followed the south rim westwards to the start of the Bright Angel Trail. The Bright Angel Trail is a narrow path that clings to the side of the Canyon & goes all the way down to the bottom. Surely we couldn’t come all this way & not trek the Bright Angel Trail. We couldn’t, so commenced our descent down into the Canyon. Well actually we walked 10 minutes down to the ‘Upper Tunnel’, then turned round & went back up.
We walked a short distance to catch the Hermit’s Rest Route (Red) Shuttle Bus. We got off at the 1st stop, Trailview Overlook. Whilst at the Overlook, we became aware that the sky was turning black & there was thunder & lightning in the distance. We caught the next bus to the next stop, Maricopa Point, where I got up to get out, but Jackie dithered, saying she didn’t like the look of the weather.
Annoyed I sat back down, but then the driver spoke over the intercom, warning people of what to do in the event of lightning. No sooner than he said this, we were suddenly pelted with large hailstones that were blowing in all directions. Jackie didn’t mention that if I had had my way we would be stuck in the middle of this. Then the lightning started & the driver announced the South Rim was now being evacuated.
Our bus was filled to brimming, then we moved off through the now hailstone covered roads. What was strange we left about a dozen people at the stop, who took refuge under a tree, totally contrary to his lightning advice!
After 2 different bus rides, we returned to our hailstone covered car & had some crisps & cake. During our lunch the sun came out, so we decided to give the Hermit’s Rest Route another go. This time we drove nearer to the bus stop & incredibly for us, found a parking space nearby. We then re-continued a bus route, stopping for photos at Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss, Monument Creek Vista, Pima Point & Hermits Rest.
As we were nearing the final leg to Hermit’s Rest, the bus driver implored us that we walk along a tarmac Rim path back to Pima Point, which was only 1 mile long. I tried to bribe Jackie to do so by offering to buy her a silver ring. She didn’t want one, but she under sufferance agreed to the 1 mile trek. At the end we just missed a bus which didn’t help Jackie’s mood.
We returned to our car & drove out on Arizona 64 to Desert View & the Historic Watchtower. We did stop at other Overlooks, but I just jumped of the car took a quick photo & jumped back in. We left the Canyon via the East entrance, drove to Cameron, then South back on Highway 89 to Flagstaff.
It was gone 8.00pm, when we arrived back at the motel & didn’t feel like going out for a meal. We made do with cheese, crisps & cereal. As well as beer & wine.
Jackie is now Canyon’d out, but I loved the Grand Canyon. I might have to admit that it is the best park. The sheer enormity & splendour are breathtaking, but what really does it for me is because of it’s size, it didn’t feel at all crowded. Also there was a lot of fencing that allowed you to get right up to the edge & it has proper wildlife, Elk.
FITBIT still knackered.
Song of the Day - Hail Rain or Sunshine by The Script.Read more