Sunday, May 12, 2013

Grand Canyon, Day 1

We stayed at an RV park in Williams last night, and this morning took the train to the canyon.  It was a beautiful day, lots of sunshine, a few clouds, but just enough to make wonderfully interesting shadows on the contours of the canyon.  Started off with a "Wild West Shootout" before boarding the train, in a little mockup old west town.  Good way to loosen up the crowd and get everyone there in time to leave.  The train ride was very pleasant, and we had a good time visiting with the conductor, who had worked as a locomotive engineer for the Burlington Northern for years before coming to work on the Grand Canyon Railway.  So we had a good time talking railroading, comparing notes from our similar experiences--for those who may not know, I spent the bulk of my career at the law firm representing railroad companies, so I had the chance to spend a lot of time with railroaders and learned a lot about trains--so that was fun.  He jokingly said I could come back and work as the big guy on their Polar Express trains that run during Christmas.  We passed their little Santa's North Pole Village they have set up that they use for this--very cute.

Got to the park--South Rim--and took the bus tour, as a way of introduction to the place.  They made a couple of stops and gave us time to get out and look and take photos.  While Trisha had been here with her family when she was in high school, this was my first time.  All I can say is WOW!!!  Those who have been here know what I'm saying--for any who have not been here, there is simply no way to convey the enormity of this phenomenon--and no way that any photograph can give you any sense of how massive, how powerful, how awe inspiring the place is.    We were happy that the day was clear, as the weather report had said chance of thunderstorms, which never materialized (though that would have been beautiful in its own way).  To see the sun playing on the different layers and contours--just leaves you speechless.  There was a wonderful quote on a plaque at one of the stops:  For one minute, don't talk, don't read, don't take photos--just be still and look.  What wonderful advice!  Talk about a way to put things into perspective, and give you a good dose of humility--when you think of the powerful forces of the rivers that carved this canyon, and just how small you are in the midst of all this massive power and beauty--just puts your own supposed significance into a whole different light.

We decided to bring the RV up tomorrow and we'll stay in one of the campgrounds, and will have a chance to spend some more time, hope to do some biking and maybe a little hiking, though are very mindful of all the advice on how the elevation effects you, so we'll take it very easy.  But we definitely want to see the sunset and sunrise in the canyon.

Though pictures can't come close, I'll put up some anyway.

Wild West Shootout

Here it is, these shots from Hopi Point along the South Rim
 The Colorado River

Giant condor, with 9 1/2 ft wingspan!--but we didn't see this one; it's a picture of a picture from an album that one of the park volunteers had by a telescope through which you could see a nest, but no actual condor sightings.

This is a researcher doing work on condors, with an antenna designed to pick up sounds to determine activity across the canyon
 Shots from Mojave Point

At Mojave Point, looking from one observation railing to another, where Trisha is standing, through regular lens setting
 Zoomed in with telephoto

 Shots of the Colorado River

 At some point, you just have to sit in wonder of it all

 Cloud shadows

Historic El Tovar Hotel in Grand Canyon Village--in some ways reminded us of the Grove Park Inn in Ashville, NC

The Hopi House, built in 1905 as a way to provide a marketing place for native crafts, in an attempt to revive Southwest native crafts

Some Navajo youth demonstrating traditional dances, outside Hopi House


  1. Great pictures............


  2. Jack, like your comment that "at some point you just have to sit in wonder of it all"! I remember that it seemed everyone was whispering when we were there...I think people are just awestruck and reverent when seeing it for the first time. Yes, the "Landscaper" has done an amazing job!

    Mary Lou

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