Dan and Barb's Great Adventure 2016 travel blog

Beginning of Grand Canyon

Vermilion Cliffs from Lee's Ferry bridge

First bison sighting!

First picture of the Canyon

We know why it is Grand!

Bright Angel Trail

Mule deer in our "back yard"

Wednesday, on to the Grand Canyon! No problem getting out of the sand, we had scouted out the best way the night before. First thing we did was gas up as once again traveling through a remote area. Then, decided we had better get some ice, back to the gas station. Then decided we were heading the wrong way (there are 2 ways to get there!) Finally on the road, temp was 92 at 9:30 in the morning. The adventure continues!

Wonderful scenery today, we drove down from the Colorado Plateau through many switchbacks to the beginning of the National Park, another bridge over the Colorado River, our first sight of the canyon – magnificent – this is where they launch the boat tours down the canyon, Lee's Ferry. We did see the river; the only time we saw it! The Grand Canyon is so deep that you can’t see down to the bottom.

Then, we began our climb back up to 8,000 ft. We drove through the Vermilion Cliffs, just gorgeous, and finally left the desert and began to see magnificent Ponderosa Pine trees. I was busy trying to make some cell calls as we had some business to do and also to get a reservation for Friday night! What an adventure, I had to tell everyone we were traveling and would probably lose cell service and I would call them back. We are NOT happy with Onstar, we bought a hotspot for the truck so we could have WiFi. They neglected to tell us that they use AT&T and that AT&T has LOUSY cell coverage in this part of the country. Verizon is pretty sparse, but at least once in a while we can get a signal. Oh well, all part of our adventure!

We got to the National Park campground about 11, another first come, first serve but we DID manage to get a site – whew! If we hadn’t gotten a site, we would have had to drive 40 miles back. Had to pay $9/night here – price increase with park’s desirability. We went to the North Rim, didn’t even want to go the South Rim, which is where all the tourists go! Cooler here I guess due to elevation and there is shade. Nice spot with lots of trees – only 35 spots in the campground. We unhooked & headed right out for the canyon – anxious for Dan’s first glimpse of the canyon. However, before that, we saw a herd of bison, right along the road with no fences --photo opportunity!!

Words cannot describe the canyon! We just kept saying, wow, look at that! Checked out the Visitors Center and the Lodge which is Adirondack style, but made of stone & wood. The original 1928 Lodge burned down but was rebuilt in 1932, I think. CCC did lots of work out here in the West during the Depression. Kathy Hoke told us about Ken Burns’ NPR series on the National Parks & we were able to watch most of it before we left. We saw many of the places mentioned in the series – so cool!

We took off for a hike to the Bright Angel Point lookout. Well, it was an absolutely incredible walk. It was asphalt most of the way, only .5 mile, BUT….oh my goodness sheer drop-offs on BOTH SIDES of the walk. I walked most of the way looking at the asphalt! I am mostly OK when I can cling to the inside & not look down, but here down was on both sides! What an experience…..this is what memories are made of! Lots of tourists climbing up to take their pictures on the rocks – NOT ME! Anyway, survived and was OK when I reached the end & could just look out, but my little heart was pounding! Awe inspiring views – what fun!

Well, after that little adventure, we were in need of liquid refreshment so we went to the Saloon at the Lodge. Dan had a beer & I was thirsty & didn’t necessarily want a beer so asked for a ginger beer, they are usually pretty thirst quenching. After I got it, I asked the bartender what the ABV was and he said it didn’t have any alcohol – that was why he was trying to sell me a cider…...well, we got kidding around, and the guy sitting next to us said, add some vodka so he DID! I almost fainted as I wasn’t really interested in much alcohol at this altitude, but as Dan said, when you pay $6.50 for a beer, he could afford to add some vodka! He gave me a generous shot, but thankfully, it didn’t make me dizzy! We sat on the veranda & enjoyed the view and had our brews! Hiked 4.25 miles today, and the equivalent of 32 flights of stairs.

Headed back to the campground for dinner – our site is on the back edge of the campground facing right into the woods, aspen and pine, & we had several mule deer visit us in the evening. Dan took a walk & got several pictures & when he came back, there was one, just outside our door! So pretty! Early to bed, big day hiking tomorrow…. thankfully, it is MUCH cooler here & no humidity, even used our blanket while we slept.

Remember how I mentioned spring in Telluride, well it is also spring at 8600 ft at the Grand Canyon. Lovely pine trees - PINE POLLEN everywhere, yellow truck & on everything – thought we were done w/ that in NC. Major cleaning coming soon. We had the windows all open and I listened to the sloughing of the wind in the pines as I went to sleep - priceless!

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