Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bucket List–Grand Canyon

Let start out by saying sorry this is long, but the Grand Canyon – WOW – what else can I say.  So much to see and do there and around the area.

We left Catalina in Tucson and headed for the Grand Canyon.  This is one of the bucket list items Fred and I both had on our list.  Neither one of us have ever been there and both of us were looking forward to this part of the trip; needless to say we were not disappointed. 

Since there was no state park close and the RV Park in the Grand Canyon was full we stayed at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and RV Park.  The park was really nice with lots of amenities as well as we had access to the hotel amenities.  Sites are close but with Route 66 within walking distance and the Grand Canyon a short drive you really do not spend that much time in your rig.  This is also a Passport America park so the price is great!

This is also the location where you catch the train into the Grand Canyon.  Price for the train ride is expensive and you only get three hours of free time in the park before you have to get back to the train for the return trip but the experience is worth the cost.  There are a number of levels you can ride the train, so you have to select what is best for your pocket.

Within walking distance is Historical Route 66 – this was our first adventure on the route.  This was something that was really special to us as we both grew up during the high times of Route 66.  We went out our first evening there for a walk down the strip and for dinner.  Stop at the Route 66 Café, there was a guy there singing oldies but goodies and we had a locate beer and hamburger.  It was a fun special night.  Here are some other pictures of our fun visit on Route 66.

We were up bright and early the next day for our trip into the Grand Canyon and what a day we had.   We got to the visitor center and learned that there were three bus route you could take to different areas of the canyon that were free.  Great way to get to see just about everything.  So we took the blue route – which is the lodging/shopping route and had breakfast was at the Bright Angel Lodge overlooking our first view of the canyon.  Afterward we walked the Trail of Time for a while before we got back on the bus to tour the red line, which is the longest of the bus routes with nine stops to Hermits Rest.

There are a number of neat shops along the Trail of Time and we stop at a few along the way.  First was Verkamp which was the first trading post ever open in the Canyon. Over the years it has been updated and a second story was added but the original building is still the first floor.  At the end of the sidewalk up to the trading post was something we had never seen before – there are places throughout the park where you can refill you water.  There are lots of hikers around and they want to ensure plenty water is available to them.  The water comes from the springs within the canyon.  Another one of the neat places that we stopped at was the Native American Hopi House.  This place is a historic landmark as it is an original structure of the Hopi Indians   that has been restored .  Inside was really unique and has lots of great shopping.  Fred would not let me stay long though – lol

Now on to the Red Route of the bus tour.  Along the way there are nine stops where the bus makes stops.  You can get off at any time and take as much time as you would like at each stop and/or either hike to the next stop and catch the bus again.  The buses run every 10 minutes and you can get off and on as much as you like.  The route is 8 miles long and there is a hiking trail along the route so if you want to hike as much as you like or not hike at all.  Each stop has different view of the Canyon and each was as great as the last.  The first stop gives you a trail overlook of the Bright Angel Trail which is 12 miles one way.  There are five stops long the way on this trail and you can hike as much or as little as you like.  Here is a picture looking back at the trial and if you look close you can see Grand Canyon Village at the top of the ridge.  Great hike.

The last stop is at Hermit Rest which used to be a the rest stop for tourist as far back as the 1920’s after a rough buggy ride up the 8 mile trail.  There is a gift shop and a small deli inside.  The place is really neat and has a wonderful big fireplace.

Outside the overlook of the canyon is just as great; we also had a Raven that was just entertaining everyone and waiting for someone to drop some food. 






That evening as we were leaving the park an elk crossed our path and we noticed others resting/grazing along the side of the road.  It was a cool thing to see.

The next day we went back to the visitor center and took the orange tour bus route.  This route has two sections to it and covers six stops along the canyon.  From this route is the access to the South Kaibab Trailhead which is the trail the donkeys/mules use to take you to the bottom of the canyon and/or you can hike it.  From these points you will also have the best access to see the Colorado River.  Again the buses stop at each stop about every 10 minutes so you can get off and take as long as you like at any point. 

Our first stop was at the South Kaibab Trailhead and we hike down the trial a ways.  The trail is steep with switchback so we did not make it far, but it was fun.

View from this side of the park were just as amazing as the other -

But the all the sudden the weather moved in – this was something and we got back on the bus as fast as we could as it started hailing

With the weather moving in we went to the Market Plaza to do some shopping and get lunch; it was our hope the weather would improve.  The rain just seem to keep coming so we cut our day short but we did make it over to Mather Point before we left.  As you can see the weather was just hanging around but the sites were still awesome.

Views of the Colorado River as it winds through the Canyon were great from here.

Our fulfilling this bucket list items certainty was not disappointing and if you have not seen the Grand Canyon, make plans and go.  The place is amazing!!!