Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Desert To Ocean Trip – Part 7

Still seated in my Wayback Machine?


Now I understand why Grand Canyon is one of the natural wonders of the world! You can’t take it all in, it’s just too vast. This was our first view on Day 19:


We’re up nearly 7,000 feet and that’s about a mile straight down to the river. Oh my. I’ve been watching braver folks than I am stand right at the edges, like this tongue of rock:


I’m in awe of their guts and their balance and simultaneously hoping a gust of wind doesn’t come up. Glad I’m not their mom. Just sayin’.

So out of a gazillion photos I can only choose a couple to show you. Apart from nature’s beauty I was really interested in Mary Colter, the architect and designer of several important heritage buildings in the park. I even bought the book about her:


In a time when women weren’t commonly doing this type of work, Mary did her careful research and came up with the most amazing places that not only fit with the land and the early Native People but somehow avoid being totally kitschy. The cover of the book shows one example, the Watchtower, located at Desert View on the south-eastern edge of the canyon:


From the other side:


The design evokes the Ancestral Puebloan people’s towers (though this one is round instead of square) and an attached kiva, which contains a gift shop. The tower itself has several floors with Native American designs going back in time as you climb higher:

Watchtower inside

Watchtower inside2

The workmanship is very detailed. Anyhow, I love it so much that I personally want the park to move their stuff out so I can move in! Oh alright, guess that’s not going to happen. We settled for a campsite in Grand Canyon Village instead. And boy, were we glad we had secured reservations when we had (actually functional) wifi in Mesa Verde. They were full up.

On Day 20 we rode our bikes (for the first time this trip!) along some of the paved trails and a few miles along the rim where you were allowed to cycle. Everything is much more spread out here than we had realised and a lot of the area is inaccessible to cars. Luckily they have 3 shuttle bus routes (free) so after our bike ride we took the bus westward along the rim as far as you can go to Hermit’s Rest, another of Mary Colter’s inventions:


I love the huge fireplace inside:

HermitsRest fireplace

Not particularly needed when it’s about 80F however! The Hermit in the name was apparently a French-Canadian, Louis Boucher, who was an early white resident in the area. The main area is yet another gift shop and there’s also a concession with snacks and drinks.

Sadly wifi has been elusive for us. There is some apparently somewhere in Grand Canyon but not where we were. Not even cellphone coverage in the campground so they have pay phones available. How old-fashioned.

Next it’s on to our 8th state, Nevada.

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