After picking up Susan and Andrei at the airport on Wednesday evening, driving to Flagstaff and camping that night just outside of Flagstaff, we dined here for breakfast Thursday morning. I highly recommended.
We camped at site 294 at the Mather Campground in the park for the weekend. This is our site.
A mellow, used-to-people, big elk in the park near the campground.
The Desert View Watchtower was our first major stop on Thursday afternoon. It's a 70-foot, four story tower that was completed in 1932.
Killer view of the Colorado River from the The Desert View Watchtower.
Inside the tower folks can ascend a circular staircase to the fourth floor for some great views.
On our way back towards the campground we stopped for a tasty picnic lunch.
View from Grandview view point.
From Grandview you can see the Desert View Tower in the upper right.
Statistics show there have been 50 falls from the rim of the canyon since 1925 and 38 of them were male with the average age being 34. Andrei did not add to the statistics.
Susan and Andrei take in the grand view.
Back at camp it was chips, salsa and beer time.
We opted for the circulator shuttle bus to go check out some more of the south rim buildings and such.
At the El Tovar Hotel. Allison and Susan's grandmother used to stay here often as a young kid as her father worked for the railroad company and made frequent visits to the park.
View looking down Bright Angel trail. The green trees and vegetation in the middle of the photo is Indian Gardens, a 4.5 mile hike down from the south rim.
Fritzy scoping out Indian Gardens and the trail out to Plateau Point. The view point at the end of Plateau Point is 1.5 out from Indian Gardens.
Friday we drove to Page, AZ and the Glen Canyon Dam. Our intinerary for the day was a 16-mile float from Glen Canyon Dam down to Lee's Ferry.
To start the trip we were bused down through the tunnel in the sandstone that was used to access the river during the dam's construction. The blue boats down there on the river are our boats.
The Colorado River Discovery office in Page, AZ.
Fritzy looking hot! I caught her in the middle of jettisoning the lower half of her zip-off pants. The green helmets were required attire briefly when we left the bus and loaded up on the boats. Apparently tourists are known to toss coins from the bridge which can can cause major skull issues if a helmet does interfere with the coin's trajectory.
Loading up on our boat. JP, our guide, greets Andrei. There were about 21 of us on the boat.
JP demonstrates how we would use the life jacket if necessary. We did not need to wear them otherwise.
View of the dam from on the water.
The snazzy dam visitor center on the rim above the dam.
These attic holes in the wall go through to the tunnel inside the sandstone. The attics were used to as an exit to push debris created during the construction of the tunnel.
Sisters on the boat.
The water was very flat requiring the boats to use a motor at times to speed up the trip.
We stopped for a lunch break on a small beach. A short hike from the water's edge led to some petroglyphs. We were told we could swim here too.
I was the only one from four boats that took up the invitation to swim. The water was about 48 degrees so I didn't swim too long but it felt great to take the plunge.
Andrei and Susan living large!
Petroglyphs near the beach. Petroglyphs are images pecked or scratched into the rock. Pictographs are painted images.
View up the wall from the base near the petroglyphs.
Once back at Page, we made the short .75 mile hike out to an overlook to view the Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River.
Just a few hours earlier we rafted through this section. Pretty cool.
Saturday morning I went for an 18 mile run down South Kaibab to the Tonto Trail. I ran the Tonto over to Bright Angel, out to Plateau Point and then back up Bright Angel. The weather was cool, overcast and rainy. It cleared a bit in the afternoon allowing all of us to return to the South Kaibab trailhead and hike down the trail 1.5 miles to Cedar Ridge. This is the view down from the South Kaibab trailhead.
Andrei, Susan and Allison descending the South Kaibab trail.
At Ooh-Ah Point along the South Kaibab trail. O'Neil Butte is in the right side of the photo.
At the Cedar Ridge rest area with O'Neil Butte.
Group shot at Cedar Ridge.
Andre and Susan ascending the South Kaibab trail near Ooh-Ah Point on our hike out.
Great evening light.
Our last view of the canyon on Sunday morning before starting the 8 hour drive home to Los Alamos.
Petrified wood! It's really old.
A short walk through many sections of petrified wood just outside the visitor center.
This is Old Faithful. It's an awesomely huge specimen of a petrified tree. It was struck by lightning in the 60s and, sadly, the NPS took it upon itself to reconstruct the root ball by using cement mortar and added some concrete support underneath at the same time. The NPS admits that was a super lame thing to do and is now letting it fall apart and hopefully return to something more natural.
Painted Desert. If only there was a huge trail system down in there.... :)