On the Rim

Trip Start May 21, 2013
Trip End Jun 02, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Saturday, May 25, 2013

We slept in today to let Derek catch up because of jet lag.  So we didn't get out of the house until 11:00 which was okay because it was in the low 50s early in the morning.  It took about 30 minutes to get to the park.  We parked by the new Visitor's Center which is near Mather Point.  Boy, things have changed since we were here in 2000.  You can't drive to the west end of the Rim Drive anymore.  They have buses running between stops.  It sure helps because of the number of people who visit. 

We went straight to Mather Point.  There is no way to describe the feeling of seeing this awesome natural feature.  It is surreal, even the second time.  No picture or video can adequately prepare you for the immensity and grandeur that overwhelms you.  We spent the rest of the day hiking the Rim Trail and checking out Bright Angel Trail and the Kaibab  (Keye-bab) Trail.  From Mather Point we could see just a glimpse of the Colorado River.  We could see Phantom Ranch on the north side of the river, where you can spend a night or two if you plan ahead.  You can either hike down or ride mules down. We headed west from Mather Point and stopped to have our lunch on the rim under the shade of a pine tree.  We had packed sandwiches and chips and of course we all had plenty of water.

 We moved west on the Rim Trail and next came to Yavapai (Ya-vah-pie) Point.  Every time you go by another point you see a little different view and want to take even more pictures.  There was a geology museum at Yavapai and it was really cool.  They had a relief map of the canyon with all the pertinent features identified.  It also explained all the layers of rock and how old each is.  We rode the shuttle bus from Yavapai Point to the Train Depot Stop just below the El Tovar Lodge.  The Grand Canyon Train was in the Depot and we went to see it.  Then we walked up to the El Tovar Lodge and went in to see it.  As National Park Lodges go it is not that spectacular.  When we left the El Tovar we went to the Hopi House which is made of stones from the canyon.  In front of the Hopi House there were two Navajo Indian brothers who were playing music, telling stories and doing traditional dances.  One thing they told us was that their grandfather had been one of the "Code Talkers" of the Navajo.  They coded messages in Navaho during WWII and these codes were never broken.  The show was really good.  We went into the Hopi House where Derek got a t-shirt.

We walked by the Kachina Lodge, the Thunderbird Lodge and by the Bright Angel Lodge to the Lookout Studio.  I found some turtles to buy for my Wild Wyoming Women friends and a pair of California Condor hiking socks.  Next we went to the Kolb Studio which was originally a photography studio but now is a gift/book shop.  Outside in the back of the studio there were places up high and down low on the rim where you could take pictures.  When we were here in 2000 the Bright Angel Trail started right beside this Studio and you can still get on the trail from there.  But they have constructed a new entrance further west where the shuttle bus can go and there is room for the mules that take people down the trail.  We walked a little further west to the Trail Overlook to get a really good view of the Bright Angel Trail.  A wedding was happening at the Trail Overlook which serves as a non-denominational place for religious services every day at 7:00 pm and twice on Sunday mornings.  We turned around from there and went to catch the Blue Bus back to the Visitor's Center.  But there were too many people waiting for it at the Bright Angel Trailhead so we walked to Bright Angel Lodge and went inside to the gift shop,  I got a neck tie with special beads in that soak up water to keep your neck cool in the heat.  Erin got a new pair of sunglasses as hers are an old prescription.  We went out to the bus stop for the lodge and got right on the shuttle bus.  It took half an hour to get back to the Visitor's Center because the bus made so many stops and it was really crowded.  Hardly anybody got off at any of the stops but we had to stop at them all. 

When we got back it was 5:30 and the Center was closed.  So we went to the car and headed back to the house.  I made Pizza Casserole for supper.  Erin had never had it before and she really liked it.  We looked at pictures and blogged and went to bed.

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