2015 Vacation: Days 9 and 10

Day 9: Grand Canyon West

The drive from our hotel to the Grand Canyon was pretty uneventful. It wasn't like previous destinations where you could really see a change in landscape. It helped build anticipation.

Once in the park, we spoke to a ranger. He gave us Jr. Ranger booklets and highlighted the fact that the boys would need to attend a ranger-led talk or program. There just happened to be a fossil walk starting within the hour, at the Bright Angel trailhead. We hopped on a bus, road a couple stops down, and then started looking for the trailhead. Another group was doing the same. We wandered around a bit, looking here and there. Went down a trail and saw this:

[caption id="attachment_1986" align="aligncenter" width="300"]First View First View[/caption]

There it was!! No fanfare, just "Ooh, there's the Grand Canyon."

Ben located the trailhead, we snapped a few pictures of the canyon, and then headed over to the fossil hunt. The ranger gave a talk about the Grand Canyon and some theories on how it got there. Then he led us on a hunt to find 6 specific fossils. It was pretty cool and I find myself looking a lot closer at rocks these days. After the hunt, we walked around a bit. We'd been separated from Tim and Karen and didn't want to push ahead without them so we decided to grab some lunch. We ended up having to wait for quite a while, but it gave the boys time to work on their books.

I briefly chatted with a female hiker who was on a 900 mile solo hike. She'd started at Arches National Park. I told her how impressed I was and offered to buy her a meal, but she said she'd stashed food along the way before the hike. As we were preparing to leave, a couple of rangers sat down with her. I heard them saying that no charges had been formally pressed against her. I can't help but wonder what she did and what happened.

We caught the bus and spent the day travelling down the red line route, basically the Western half of the park.

[caption id="attachment_1982" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Gnarled Tree Gnarled Tree[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1981" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Upper Tunnel Upper Tunnel[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1983" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Brothers Brothers[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1984" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Cactus and Mid Bladderpod Cactus and Mid Bladderpod[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1987" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Heart Rock Heart Rock[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1988" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Me! Me![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1990" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Luke in a tree Luke in a tree[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1992" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Beauty Beauty[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1996" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Tim Tim[/caption]

Grand Canyon Vew-from-the-Bright-Angel-Trail-Grand-Canyon

[caption id="attachment_1978" align="aligncenter" width="300"]On the edge On the edge[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1977" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Ben and Jenn Selfie Ben and Jenn Selfie[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2003" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Creosote Creosote[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2002" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Breathtaking Breathtaking[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2001" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Plateau Fence Lizard Plateau Fence Lizard[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2000" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Wormwood Wormwood[/caption]

The end of the line is called Hermit's Rest. We got off the bus, walked down to the little gift shop and grill only to discover it was all closed! We used the bathrooms and then headed back to the bus stop. It was evening by that time so there was a huge line. 40 people. Since it was the end of the line, each bus that pulled up was already packed with people. So they packed us in more. I hated it. I know people who live in crowded cities are totally used to that, but us Midwesterners are NOT. So awkward. I disliked it so much that it sort of marred the experience for me. We walked between stops as much as possible, but some stretches were just too far.

[caption id="attachment_1993" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Raven at Hermit's Rest Raven at Hermit's Rest[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1989" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Karen and Bible Verse Karen and Bible Verse[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1980" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Hermit's Rest Hermit's Rest[/caption]

We were half dead by the time we got back to town, but needed dinner. We ate as fast as we could and then headed back to the hotel. I think we all slept well!

Day 10: Grand Canyon Desert View Road

After our bus experience the day before, I was so grateful that the East side of the park has limited buses. We got to drive ourselves!

It was a misty, drizzly day so our views were limited. Also, the East side of the park has limited gift shops, trails, etc. There's just not as much, which was truly fine with us since we were all worn out.

The Watchtower at the far end was neat. My inside pictures didn't do it justice. It was packed, but we still had fun exploring!

[caption id="attachment_1995" align="aligncenter" width="200"]The Watchtower The Watchtower[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1979" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Boys at the Watchtower Boys at the Watchtower[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1999" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Watchtower from a distance Watchtower from a distance[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1994" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Smile Smile[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1985" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Colorado River Colorado River[/caption]


There was also a little trail through some old ruins.

[caption id="attachment_1997" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Tusayan ruins Tusayan ruins[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1991" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Our farewell Our farewell[/caption]

We decided to head back to Williams and spend the evening exploring. There were a ton of gift shops and restaurants. We picked up a couple souvenirs, at at Cruiser's Rt. 66, and then headed to bed early.


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