Saturday, 6 November 2010

East to Arizona

Andrew and Lizzy went back to North Hills and we set off east to Arizona, to the Grand Canyon. We set off at 7am and arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park at about 1pm. The incredibly straight road rises through impressive desert landscape, through high level scrub and pine, rising to about 6000’ at Tusayan, just outside the park, where we were staying at the Holiday Inn Express.

We left the car at Mather Point for our first glimpse of this epic spectacle. It’s overwhelming and leaves you emotional and speechless. A gaping great scar eroded in the earth, about 10mls wide and 270 miles long and one mile deep. AWESOME. Different rock layers laid bare, pink and grey.

With a few hours left before it went dark at 5.30pm, we decided to do a gentle walk from Bright Angel Lodge along the Rim walk to Hopi point. There are several clear paths, graded according to terrain, distance and height climbed, clearly described in the Visitors Centre. The views from the rim walk are astounding, and can be accessed on foot, by bike, by wheelchair, by shuttle bus, by helicopter and by the Colorado River! The best thing about these national parks is that you are not able to approach by car and all the tourist tat is left at the shops outside the park. Everything inside is unspoilt and natural. Brilliant! After about a hundred photos taken into the canyon, it was time to head back. A steak and a beer at the steakhouse across the road and then back to do the blog. It couldn’t be more different here than last night in Las Vegas. Tonight’s “strip” had a Texaco garage, a couple of food marts, a few motels, Wendys, a Mexican, a Pizza place and that was it!!! Also average daytime temp 70 deg rather than 80deg, and plunging at night to a cool 55deg. But then we are 6000’ up!! Back to bed for 8.30pm and planning to get off early for a walk into the canyon on the South Kaibab trail to Skeleton Pt. tomorrow. Great names like Brahma Point, Vishnu Point and Wotan Plateau….

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