Flagstaff provided a stopover enroute to the Grand Canyon. My friend Amy caught a Facebook post of mine sharing my AZ location. She and her hubby Drew were headed to the GC for a mini-trip. In an act of great serendipity, we met up at the only restaurant open on Thanksgiving in Flagstaff. Crackerbarrel. The food…ew….the company fabulous!
I like that sections of town are full of old buildings.
Made two new friends at the hostel, Keith and Stefan. Keith I mentioned in the Jerome post. If you haven’t checked out his photography yet, please do. Talk about talent! Stefan is Swiss and finishing up a loooong North American tour. Stefan and I waited in line at the Flagstaff Observatory for an hour, in near single-digit temps, to peer at Saturn through a giant telescope. The wind picked up and they had to close the doors over said telescope. Drat! Rerouted to another scope we saw Jupiter which was nothing to sneeze at.
Aren’t they cute cramped into Keith’s little two-seater convertible? Not able to put the top down (that’s a backpack lashed on) I heard it was a cold ride they shared to Tuscon.
Which brings me to the GC. A kind barista in a Williams, AZ coffee shop shared her son’s first reaction to the GC. “It’s not like the pictures,” he volunteered. He’s right! The immensity, scale, the colors absolutely defy any pre-formed notions I had.
Still with the spins while walking, a short leash tethered me to the rim. Oh how I wanted to get below it. I now wonder if I was walking around with pneumonia?
Rangers’ talks taught me about condors, Native American stories, basic geology and “tall tales” specific to people in the park’s colorful history. There were a couple of visitor centers to check out.
First stop was the Desert View Watchtower. Built in 1932, the 70 foot tall replica of a prehistoric Indian tower gives panoramic views of the Canyon, the Painted Desert to the east and the San Francisco Peaks to the south.
The interior walls of the tower feature murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie.
I love the colors:
I’d read the best time to photograph the GC is at sunrise and sunset. True, mid-day sun washes out the colors and blurs value. Looking through my photos there are few of the canyon I took that appeal to me.
Evening photo below. A little better. See the trail touching the mid-rim point below? That’s the famed Bright Angel trail. To that point is 6 miles and 3,110 feet down. The CO River lies 4,460 feet below the rim and 7.7 miles from the rim. Even a day hike part way down and back is a macho endeavor due to the extreme heat and elevation changes down (even in winter). People have died trying to hike from rim to bottom and back in a day. Really
crazy strong folks backpack rim to rim. I admire that craziness, though.
And that’s it! Of all the pics of my grand destination just a few are worthy. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad to see the GC but it was just a taste. To return and really get into it, to camp out and spend days there tromping about I desire.