Grand Day at the Grand Canyon, South Rim

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
Trip End Aug 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Quality Inn I-40 - I 17 Milton Road (Flagstaff, Arizona)

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 15 - Temperature today are in the low 80's. We will be dodging thunderstorms as we head to the Grand Canyon.  First sign of rain since we started the trip.

Note: If you click on a small picture below, then it opens into a slideshow with larger pictures. The pictures are all named in the slide show and some pictures have additional comments on the right side. Just click the arrow to move through the slide show. I wish I had tried my 3-D camera settings today!

We eat an early lunch at a local Route 66 western restaurant, Rod's Steakhouse. We then head out to the Grand Canyon South Rim, an hour's drive away. It is an easy drive, not a lot of traffic as we had expected. As we travel we watch the storm gathering and the lightening show ahead. We can tell it is above the Grand Canyon. We are hoping it will move out before we get there.

We finally make it to the gate at the Grand Canyon. We learn that we can apply the Yosemite vehicle fee to a National Park Pass to all parks for $80.00 (good for a whole year). Since each park costs $20 or $25 to enter, we decide that is the best deal. I later Google why the Great Smoky Mountains does not charge a fee. I find that when Tennessee gave the land to the National Park system they stipulated that no fees can ever be charged to use the land.

We then enter the Grand Canyon park, drive a short distance to the parking lot. We see 3 buildings - a visitor's center, a bookstore/gift shop and restrooms. The paths that lead out of the parking lot go to these buildings and to the walkway that runs along the South Rim. We find clean, landscaped, paved pathways everywhere and very little uphill walking. It only takes us a minute to get to the walkway that runs along the cliff of the canyon. It is a little crowded there, but not as many people as I had expected. Everyone there speaks some language other than English. I wish I could identify the languages I am hearing. Most are not Spanish because I usually recognize it.

I get my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon...and it is breathtaking. I have seen pictures before, but you cannot see the distance - how deep and far reaching the canyon expands. I could not imagine that anything could be that expansive. The colors and groves and shapes of all the canyon rocks are amazing. But the distance is what is unbelievable. There are several different areas along the walkway where you can get different views of the canyon. Mather's Point it one area that sticks particularly far out into the canyon. But all of the viewing areas are just as amazing. The canyon is so deep you can barely see the Colorado River in one tiny place.

We learn that yesterday a lady fell to her death on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from one of the trails (Grandview Trail) . We see many rails along the walkways and out on the points that stick out. But there are areas that do not have rails. I notice two children about 10 and 12 on one of those areas. They are about 6 feet from the edge of the canyon, a sheer drop. Their parents are snapping photos as they climb on one of the little trees there. The boy steps a little closer to the edge to get a view. The ground is sloped there, with rocks. Just one slip of his foot and he would slide off and drop thousands of feet. I cannot bare to watch. I see others doing the same thing. I cannot understand how they risk their lives or the lives of their children.  

We walk back to the car and set out to drive the road that runs along the South Rim of the canyon, Desert View Road. We ride along the edge of the canyon, but most views are blocked by trees. However, there are several  points where we pull over or drive out to see the view. .At the end of the Desert View Road (25 miles), there is huge tower that you can climb up in and see the view with lots of Indian pictures painted on the inside tower walls. From this viewpoint, you get a great view of the Colorado River winding it's way through the canyon. You can exit the park here, but we  decide to drive back along the same route. We don't see a lot of wild life, but we DO see an elk grazing along the side of the road. We stop for pictures.

We exit the park and I am SO happy I can now say I have been to the Grand Canyon!  It is one place I have always wanted to go, but wasn't sure I would ever make it here. I still cannot believe we are on this trip!

We had planned on going to Tuba City from this east exit, but the hotels are full for the night there and so we book a room in Flagstaff. Because Williams is so close, we head back there for the gunfight that is staged there every night at 7:00 on one of the street corners. Everyone gathers in a circle around the actors and they put on a little skit. It is fun to watch and I record all of it. I will try to upload it in a few days because I recorded it in sections and I need to work on it to make it one video.. It is pretty funny. 

After the gunfight, we shop a little in one of the stores and then head toward Flagstaff for dinner.   We find a super restaurant, Native New Yorker, on YELP (an app).  We then check into our hotel and go to bed.  Every night we are exhausted. But we will be ready to go again in the morning. We will be heading north into Utah.

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Catherine on

An AMAZING trip!

srhodes on

Thanks Catherine. YES, it has been! More so than I imagined it could be. Everyday has been wonderful.

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