31st March/1st April 2011
The weather was glorious. We decided to walk part of the way into the canyon. A mere scratching of the surface. We chose the Bright Angel Trail which is busy even with mule trains. It is also reasonably wide and easy if in places icy.
I've discovered that I suffer from a condition I'm naming "Over Cautious Grand Canyon Mother". Any time my children look remotely close to the edge - and we're talking very remotely, staidly standing, carefully walking - I get a gut-wrenching nervous pain. I am not alone. Having forced my girls to hold hands, both directions walking on the inside near the cliff, on the way back up we encountered a similarly afflicted mother with her husband and two sons. "If you go near the edge, I'm going back!". We commiserated with each other. I don't think there's a cure.
I don't think we really went far enough down to begin to get a sense of the world inside the canyon. That's for another year perhaps.
After this we had an ice cream and wandered to one of the National Park Centres. And then a little weirdness began.
We knew that we had managed to coincide our trip with that of some old friends from London - Americans who had returned to the States in 2006, and who we hadn't seen since. So I had texted to tell them we'd arrived, and then left messages on both their phones. Except one wasn't. I got the number wrong and for no earthly reasons the recipient of my errant messages decided to call and mess about. The line was so bad I could barely make out anything and certainly not tell that the voice wasn't one I hadn't heard in over 4 years. This person proceeded to tell me complete rubbish, text me again and since then has been calling repeatedly. Calls I haven't taken. Conclusion - they're an arsehole and the numbers will be blocked on my return home if this carries on.
Meanwhile we did walk further along the rim to the Yavapai Geology Observatory (stunning viewpoint) and then headed back for a rest.
As we left to go and watch the sunset later, we heard from our friends and met up at supper time and again this morning. Lovely to see them and their now 3 gorgeous children.
At 11ish we left, heading south on the 64. We're so much more relaxed about our journeys now. We had c. 160 miles to cover to reach Kingman, AZ, a good stretch towards Vegas which is our destination tomorrow.
After a mediocre lunch at Williams - a very Western town on the Santa Fe railroad - we decided to take the old Route 66 for some of the journey. More interesting than the Interstate but also one of those roads across nothingness under a big sky with cliffs in the distance. We were alongside the railway lines most of the way, watching goods trains slowly snaking across the landscape. Very Bad Day at Black Rock.
Tonight it's warm for the first time. We've had hot days but been at such an elevation that the temperature plummets later to around freezing. Not today. 20s-30s, no clouds. Dry and dusty and it's only April. We're not built for this and can't imagine what summer is like.
Tomorrow the RV is returned.