|Zion Canyon from Overlook|
The morning drive took us back through Route 9 that we had traversed in the pouring rain just two days ago. Gone were many of the waterfalls we’d seen along the way. In their place were long streaks of black where they’d been. There was one more hike we wanted to take before leaving Zion that was said to be moderate with long drop offs mostly fenced. You never know what you’re getting into exactly but we geared up and took off.
The Canyon Overlook Trail was just past the long tunnel with the parking lot being on the right so catching this on the way out seemed to be the way to go. Yes, On the trail there were long drop offs. Some had handrails but there were a few spots where there was just enough space for one person at a time. Thrilling. The view at the end was worth the trip though. It was a great opportunity to view the canyon from the top.
As we were leaving, we passed a couple with two young children who were about six and three. I just shook my head. Did they not read the literature? Or maybe they just stopped and didn’t check. This was no place for little ones to hike.
As we were about to get in our car we realized that people were photographing something on a ledge just above the street. Sure enough, two bighorn rams sat there watching the morning traffic pass below them.
|Arizona Scenic Route 89|
Before long we arrived at the first viewpoint for the Grand Canyon. It’s called Desert View at the east entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. There is a huge visitor center there but we scurried past it to get our first view of the canyon. Again, “Wow!” was all I could say. The next thought was so that’s why it’s called “grand.” It was already living up to its name.
Our room was on the terrace level which sounded lovely but actually was just a label for that level of the lodge. There was no terrace and our window looked out into a small hillside topped by the lodge’s driveway. The El Tovar was built in 1905 and was a premier spot to stay back then. It was designed in a European fashion said to appeal to the upper crust of the times who thought that anything European was the best. It was designed as a cross between a Swiss chalet and a Norwegian Villa. Built from local limestone and Oregon pine at a cost of $250,000, it was considered the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi. Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Zane Grey, Bill Clinton, and Paul McCartney are among the list of celebrities who have stayed there. In 1987, it was placed on the registry of historic places.
|El Tovar Lodge|
Our view of the canyon from the second row of tables by the window was great. I’d like to say my chicken piccata was too but it wasn’t what I had envisioned. Bob enjoyed his pasta dish and we both ate too many warm tasty rolls.
The advantage of eating early was that we were ready for the sunset which came at around 6:15 local time. By now we had learned that it’s not really the sun setting that you want to see but rather the rays of the sun reflecting off the multi-colored cliffs of a canyon. The Grand didn’t disappoint. It was a lovely evening display.
By the time we got back to the El Tovar, it was very dark. There were more lights around the area than had been at Bryce Canyon but we walked to the rim anyway to look at the stars. They were still spectacular. Only now, days later, the light of the moon was beginning to wash out the Milky Way. I was determined now though. This would probably be my last chance to get a picture of the night sky. I vowed to try again the next night. Would I be successful?