Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 4 - Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon 2011

We got up early, had breakfast and headed to the Park.  When Greg brought me here 23 years ago, he had me close my eyes as we approached the canyon and let me out to the rim with my eyes closed so that my first view of the canyon was a dramatic and memorable one.  The kids wanted to do that to, so we found a place to park and walked them out to the edge, put their hands on the railing and told them to open their eyes.  Wow!

The Millers at the GCNP -- I would be in this picture but I couldn't make the timer work on my camera.  I've figured it out now, though!

We  then hiked along the Rim Greenway Trail to Mather Point.  It was s o beautiful.  The new trail is so beautiful -- paved with great railings along the edge and lots of benches and spots to sit and eat meals as well as tons of gorgeous native plants brought back in to beautify it.

We drove on to the Village area and hit the gift shops and visitor’s centers.  After dropping a small fortune at the gift shops, we carried on to explore the Village area. We were particularly impressed with Hopi House -- one of the amazing buildings designed in the 1930's by Mary Coulter.

Gage & Ruth, Grand Canyon 2011

Greg got some work done while the kids and I explored out to Lookout Studio.  When we got out there, we sat on their patio and were admiring the amazing view.  A couple of birds flew below us and Gage and I started bird watching.  We spotted a bird soaring around on the nearest ridge.  It was really big.  Really, really big.  We were 99% sure it was a California Condor -- all the field signs were there . . . Soaring flight, level wings, and just crazy huge!  And all I had with me was my iPhone camera.  Argh.  We texted Greg and said, “Come quick and bring a real camera!”  Of course, when he got there, it was gone.  We waited and enjoyed the view . . . It’s not like there isn’t plenty to capture your attention there . . . All of a sudden, we saw it again and it had a friend with it.  We got some pictures and we al agreed that it was one of the most special things we’d ever seen or were likely to ever see.  My pictures aren’t great but at least I have proof!

California Condor, Grand Canyon 2011

We came back to the RV for lunch and naps!  Awesome!  At the gift shop, I bought Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry and we started reading it.  The kids are loving it.

After our naps, we went back to the Park and visited the Geologic Museum and then drove out along the rim aways.  We found a “circus” (ala Yellowstone) -- it was a few female elk grazing on the side of the road.

On the way back to camp for dinner, we stopped in Tusayan and went to the Imax there about the Grand Canyon.  It was a nice mix of history and amazing views of the canyon.

I ran into their little market to buy an avocado for our dinner and Greg checked his email.  Turns out he had to take care of something right away so we drove back into the park so he could use wifi at the El Tovar hotel’s porch.  The kids and I found bathrooms and explored some more and then we headed back to camp.

Amazingly, given the fires in Arizona, they were letting us have campfires.  We had a beautiful evening under the stars.  (We poured the water from our dishes over the fire before we went to bed -- it works great! No worries about starting a forest fire when you drown the fire to cold).

The kids are sleeping in a tent nestled in the pines.  We have shade most of the day and are loving the Fantastic Fans we installed before we left on the trip.  We liked it so much we decided to stay another day.

Ruth & Gage at Grand Canyon


  1. Gorgeous pics and congrats on the Condors.

  2. Thanks, Jo. It was a highlight. I'm loving taking all these pics . . . it's amazing how easy it is with such amazing scenery!