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Old 1 Nov 23, 04:20 PM  
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Libby
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Join Date: Nov 03
The West Coast Road Trip that grew - Day 4 a Day at the Grand Canyon

Monday September 25th 2023

You can find Day 3 Here

We woke about 6am. By the time we were ready it was about 6.45 and light outside.

We weren't sure what to do about breakfast. The emails from the hotel said a grab and go breakfast was avaiable and the sign outside the restaurant stated boxes would be available from 7am.

So we killed a few minutes until the restaurant opened but the host at the door said he knew nothing about boxes and could only offer the buffet.

As it was now gone 7am and our only day at the Grand Canyon we decided to drive to the Grand Canyon and see what we could find there.

It only took a couple of minutes to get to the entrance where we paid $35 for a 7 day pass and were given a park map with walking and bus routes marked on it.. (There are more cost effective options if you are going to visit multiple national parks in a year. But this was our only National Park day.)

It took a further 10 minutes to drive to the parking lot. On the way we saw our only elk of the trip.

We parked up at the Visior Center (which had very limited opening hours) and decided to walk to Mather Point to get our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon before finding breakfast.

We were not disappointed with the view. The quietness at that time of the morning and the sheer size was breathtaking. Photos cannot do it justice.






We then took a waiting bus to the market place where we bought a lovely fresh breakfast of bagels, yoghurt and breakfast sandwiches at a coffee shop inside a supermarket.




We sat outside at a picnic table to eat.

Looking at the map we weren't far from the Canyon and decided to walk back to the rim. We did get a little lost on the way but came accross an interesting cemetery where we saw a memorial to the people that died in an aircrash above the canyon in 1956.



I was not aware of this disaster, but read up about it later. In 1956 aircraft were only under air traffic control supervision when near an airport. After that it was up to the pilots to stay alert and keep a lookout for other aircraft nearby. On this day one of the pilots misjudged the space they had and clipped the other plane resulting in the deaths of all on board both planes. It also led to tightening of air safety rules.

After speding a few moments quietly here we continued our walk to the rim. It was absolutely beatiful with trees everywhere and no other tourists venturing to this point. We saw a huge spider scurrying accross the path in front of us.

Here it is next to DHs size 11 shoe.


It was a Grand Canyon black tarantula. I kept my distanceand zoomed in to take a photo. As DH got closer the spider got scared and went down on its rear legs. Whether it wanted to make itself look bigger or was getting ready to pounce we don't know as we moved on and left it in peace.

Soon we had more amazing views ahead of us





We realised that we'd joined the trail kind of in the middle



and decided we'd head to the village and come back to Yavapai Observation Staion later on by bus (sadly we didn't)

As we continued we saw a starkly beautiful, but partially dead tree.



On close inspection we could see that someone (probably more than one person) had grafittied the trunk with a felt pen. I was so shocked to see that in such a natural place,

I'm a little confused now so apologise if my pictures don't match up with the narrative.

At the village we used the loo, had ice creams and visited a little museum and gift shop.

It was a lot busier here and we didn't like it as much. However the views just carried on taking our breath away.



It was now very hot and we were wilting fast. We decided to take the bus all the way to Hermit's rest. There was a reasonable view from the right side of the bus, and interesting commentary and air con. We could have got off at view poits but we were hanging on by will power at that moment.

With a good memory of our early breakfast we decided to buy sandwiches here for lunch. Being so remote the only offerings we long life prepacked sandwiches. We were glad of the calories but didn't enjoy them.

We sat for quite a while in a shady spot and took in the views once again.





It was only about 3pm, but the earlyish start and the jet lag meant we were absolutely spent.

We decided to go back to the hotel for a nap and some food and then return after dark for some star gazing.

We took the bus back to the car park and on the way saw the Grand Canyon train at the station and the mules in a pen.

We realised we'd missed a lot of views but were just not capable of staying any longer.

Back at the hotel we all napped for at least an hour before heading out for a pizza at "We cook pizza and pasta" in Tusayan. A very basic place with good pizza.

As we headed back to the Grand Canyon we were the only car heading in that direction. There was a steady stream of cars leaving as the sun had just set.

Once parked up we walked to Mather Point and saw the very tail end of the sunset. It was strange watching the canyon disappear as it got darker. There were lots of sounds of cicadas and distant howls of much larger creatures!

Sadly the moon was very bright and although we stayed 90 minutes after sunset the sky wasn never really dark. We did get to see some of the brighter constellations such as the plough and draco, but not the experience we hoped for.

But it was good to be outside after dark to experience the canyon in a very different way.

On returning to the car park it took a while to find our car.

It didn't take us long to fall asleep that night.

Tomorrow is the start of our long drive to Disneyland with a few stops on the way.

Day 5 Here

Edited at 11:53 AM.
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Old 3 Nov 23, 09:19 AM  
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Mortimer Mouse
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The views look amazing. But the spider
Mortimer Mouse is offline Girl Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List
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