Sedona en route to Grand Canyon South Rim
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We left by bus around 8 AM, a group of 31 plus our two coordinators. We stopped at Sedona for a stretch break and photo op. The red rock formations were so beautiful! John and I could hardly wait to go back which we planned to do at the end of our Elderhostel.
We continued on to Flagstaff where we had lunch at the Mandarin Buffet, along with at least one other busload! The restaurant was adjacent to the Northern Arizona University Campus, where our leader, David Best, is a professor of geology. The whole drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff and further on took us through so many different terrains or biomes. We learned the names of several cacti---saguaro, prickly pear, and cholla. After we passed the last saguaro, we soon entered the ponderosa forest where all new vegetation appeared. As we drove beside a creek, John and I were reminded of the Smokey Mountains.
When we finally arrived at the South Rim, we disembarked at Mather Point. It would be hard to describe that first glimpse of the Grand Canyon. I can only say it is NOT overrated! Oh, and I might say it puts the awe in awesome!
As we were leaving Mather Point, we saw many emergency vehicles, sirens blaring, heading in the same direction. We learned later that someone had fallen into the canyon and died. OMG!
After a not-so-memorable dinner at the Canyon Cafe, we heard a park ranger talk on "River to Rim." Mike was very entertaining, keeping our attention even after a tiring day. By 9 PM or so we were snoozing in our cabins.