30th March 2011
After a spot of retail therapy, we set off again in the direction of the Grand Canyon. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the road. We were coming from the east along the Desert View drive and I suppose expected to see something looming in the distance (if a hole can loom). As it was, we had a few sights of the Little Colorado river (a tributary) and then headed into the Kaibab National Forest. The Canyon cuts through the Kaibab plateau but I hadn't realised there were so many trees. The trees shield the Canyon from view unless the road heads to the rim which it didn't for most of the way. Our first opportunity to see the Canyon came at the Watchtower shortly after entering the park. We parked in the huge and empty RV section of the car park and walked towards the rim. Nothing really prepares for you for the site. Grand is far too small a word and pictures though glorious don't capture it. It's bloody amazing. Vast. Beautiful. And a bit scary. I didn't go to the top of the Watchtower as I don't much like heights and somehow those extra few feet made a difference.
After that stop we stopped at almost every viewpoint. It's not that the overall sight changes. But it is riveting. And the light changes throughout the day and from whichever direction you are standing.
Finally after a very leisurely drive, we arrived at the Trailer Village campground which was a lot more picturesque than it sounded. RV campgrounds are basically large glorified car parks but this one had grass and trees. Also grazing elk. It was very busy, fully booked, but didn't feel like it. Some of our nearest neighbours were deduced to be French pretty quickly. The giveaways were the large wine glasses and bottles on the lunch table with cloth. Not something I've seen on American camping tables. Our lunch wasn't as good as theirs.
Later we walked a couple of miles along the rim as the shadows started to lengthen. They have an interesting walk, marking the millions of miles by the metre and putting a large lump of the relevant rock at each change. So you're walking "down the canyon" as you walk along it.
We also saw two magnificent condor circling overhead.
Tomorrow we hope to walk a short stretch of a trail below the rim and to meet up with old (American) friends from London.
p.s. I bought a hat. I think it suits me, but I'm not entirely convinced.