We set off around noon on September 23 for the Grand Canyon - top on Richard's list of National Parks to visit. The GPS says we'll arrive around 3:00 - a nice short hop! Ugh..not so fast - Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings time! We settle in for the 4-hour drive and enjoy drive-by views of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument that seems to go on forever along US-89.
We had hoped to stay at the legendary "El Tovar" Hotel right on the South Rim in the Grand Canyon Village. But even with COVID flaring, the place was sold out and we were directed to their sister property, the Maswik Lodge just up the road. The accommodations were fine and it was just a short walk to the rim. We were so awestruck that first evening when we got to the rim that we forgot to take pictures! Was it the altitude or dry mountain air that had Nancy feeling a bit light-headed? We grabbed a pizza at the Maswik food court and settled down early with plans to catch a Grand Canyon sunrise. Mather Point - a craggy out-cropping that faces due east - did not disappoint. The small crowd was hushed throughout the brilliant sunrise over a mysteriously misty canyon at just past 6:00 am.
That afternoon we followed the advice of the kind woman who checked us into the hotel and set off on Route 64 to catch some views from the East Rim. Along the way we stopped at "Grandview Point" where a long-dead tree made for a beautiful foreground. Then we stopped again at "Lipan Point" for a selfie.
She was right - the views from the East Rim of the Colorado River snaking back and forth could not be beat. We imagined being on a raft at the "Hance Rapids" - hard pass!
For our final day at the canyon we enjoyed a 7.5-mile bike ride along the rim heading west to "Hermit's Rest". Richard played the coach and cheerleader that Nancy needed to make it up one incline after another. His strategy for the trip was to bike the steadily uphill trail early in the day while we still had plenty of energy and water, stop for refreshments and bathroom breaks at Hermit's Rest, then pop the bikes onto the shuttle bus rack for the air-conditioned ride back. Perhaps next time, we should flip it...shuttle bus out to the end and bike back mostly downhill!!
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Nancy McCabe &