There's a reason it's called "GRAND!"
Mount Carmel, UT
We woke this morning, looking forward to our day at the Grand Canyon. After a less-than-thrilling, mediocre breakfast at our Days Inn, we headed toward the park. On the way there we drove through Williams which was plastered with signs for Route 66, on gas stations, cafes and gift shops. We stopped for some "good" coffee (since the hotel only had instant-type) and drove about an hour to the park entrance. We found that buying the National Park Pass for $80 was the best deal, considering the number of NP's we were planning to visit over the next week at $10-25 a pop. Now we can enter any park we want for a whole year!
We parked at the South Rim main visitor center, and immediately headed out to Mather point for our first view of the Canyon. It was as amazing and awesome as we had heard, and much more incredible in person than all the photos we have seen for so many years…hard to describe in words.
We walked along the Rim Trail for quite some time, taking in more astounding views, watching ravens, climbing trees, and learning about the different layers of rock through the “Trail of Time.” Chloe enjoyed counting the little bronze/copper year markers (many were pennies) on the ground, and Leah said, “This is more fun than I thought it would be!” Tom was constantly saying “Be careful!” as he worried someone was going to fall off a cliff. I was just taking photo after photo.
Our hike led us to the Bright Angel area, where we had a very mediocre lunch (hot dogs & chips) from a little café, and ate it outside while a little squirrel frequently visited to try to steal our food. We then boarded the shuttle heading out to Hermits Rest. We left the bus to take in more views and get a better glimpse of the Colorado River at the Mohave Point stop. Since we had to watch our time, we headed back (via two different shuttles) to the main visitors’ center. After browsing the gift shop for a few minutes, we went back to the car and started out on the Desert View Drive. We spent a little while at the Grandview Point, and took in some of the most amazing and colorful views of the day. We had to keep moving so we could get to Lipin Point by sunset, around 7:45. We made it with about 15 minutes to spare, and proceeded to wait on a very cold, windy ledge for the sun to set. It was hidden by clouds, but still very beautiful to watch over the Grand Canyon.
We still had a 4 hour drive from that area to our hotel in Mt. Carmel, Utah. The drive was very desolate in terms of number of towns along our path, and so we weren’t able to stop for supper until we hit Page, Arizona (on the edge of Lake Powell) at about 11:00 p.m. We had to wake the girls up to see if they were hungry, and of course they were, so we stopped at Burger King (which of course, was mediocre). We arrived at our hotel, the East Zion Thunderbird Lodge, at 12:30 a.m. Although we wish we could have seen some of the scenery along the way, we were glad we had taken in the Grand Canyon from several viewpoints, and enjoyed our full day there!