October 21, 2018

Texas Road Trip - Day Thirteen (Part Two)

Sunday, September 16, 2018
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Campground: Forest Road 310
Cost per Night: Free (boondocking)
Duration: 1 night
Weather: Sunny and warm

I hope you all aren't tired of seeing my Grand Canyon photos. With digital photography, I no longer print my pictures to store in a photo album, but rather use this blog as an online scrapbook of sorts. I've already deleted hundreds of photos of the first two weeks of this journey, but there are so many that I love and want to save. So, feel free to scroll by quickly, but I recommend clicking on each photo to enjoy the beauty of this amazing national park.

After our delicious breakfast at El Tovar (click here for my previous post), we walked along the rim to the Kolb Studio, which we had heard was a "must-see," not only for the history, but for the spectacular views. Sadly, we weren't able to see the Kolb brothers' original photographs since it was the first day of "Grand Canyon Celebration of Art, Plein Air on the Rim," featuring the works of 25 artists. Click here to watch one of the artists create a beautiful image of the canyon. The Amazing Kolb Brothers Exhibit opens in January, so we'll just have to go back, right?

I love the shadow-play on the canyon.

We came upon this gentleman drawing along the rim 
near the Kolb Studio. It's my favorite photo of this trip!

My happy camper!

Kolb Studio

This was one of the most pushy squirrels I have ever seen. 
He wanted whatever anyone was eating!

He's obviously not starving!

Next time we visit, I would love to take this train 
up to the Canyon from Williams.

While I hiked, Rod stayed in the RV and worked on an editing project.

I found out about this hike after watching one of Less Junk, More Journey's YouTube videos (click here to watch) and knew I wouldn't have time to hike the entire way down to Indian Garden Campground (which is 9 miles round trip and approximately 5-6 hours to complete), but their video inspired me to at least hike the 3-mile round trip portion to the first rest house. I left at 1:00 and it was sunny and pretty hot (92 degrees!), but I had a lot of shade on the trail and plenty of water. There were a lot of people walking back up as I was walking down, but it never felt crowded. I stopped a few times to drink my water, but waited to eat my snacks when I reach the turnaround point. Going down the trail was pretty easy on my lungs, but I could feel it in my calves and quads and whenever I stopped, I could feel my legs trembling a little bit. I rested here and there and when it was time to head back up, I realized I wasn't taking nearly as many pictures. I was too busy concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. It was tough! At one point, as I was taking yet another rest break, a couple walked by and I noticed that the man was wearing a Nebraska Market-to-Market t-shirt. I made a comment about the Husker football team and they stopped and chatted with me for quite a while. Turns out they live in Lincoln and are related to a former Barnes & Noble coworker of mine! I joined them on the hike back up and we had a great time talking about life in Nebraska. It helped me pass the time on the climb and before we knew it, we were back on the South Rim. Phew! What a great feeling to have hiked even just those three plus miles. I was hot & sweaty, but felt great. I headed back to the RV and couldn't believe the number of steps on my watch: 18,559 = 7.55 miles. That may just be a personal record.

Here I go!

Pretty easy going down...

The views from below the rim are so different, but just as pretty.

Thankful for the occasional cloud cover. It was hot!

This is just past the 1.5 mile point 
where I stopped for my snack and more water.

Future goal: Hike 9 miles down 
and back to Indian Garden Campground

Met these Nebraskans (from Lincoln!) along the way.

We made it!

The day's total.
Definitely earned a beer!

Click on photos for larger view.

October 19, 2018

Texas Road Trip - Day Thirteen (Part One)

Sunday, September 16, 2018
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Campground: Forest Road 310
Cost per Night: Free (boondocking)
Duration: 1 night
Weather: Sunny and warm

I woke up at 5 a.m., made my coffee and walked over to Desert View to watch the sunrise. I was so surprised that there was only one other person at the point when I arrived, but by the time the sun came up, there were about eight of us. We all spoke in hushed whispers, enjoying the serenity of the morning, watching as the soft colors began to appear on the canyon walls. What an experience!

Patiently waiting for the sunrise.

Dawn's early light.

Peacefully quiet.

Here it comes.

Looking north.

Looking northwest.

It gets prettier with each passing moment.

I walked back to the RV and helped Rod get everything secure and ready to head out. We made our way over to the Grand Canyon Village, stopping a few times at some of the lookouts. We spotted a dozen or so deer at the first stop and I'm hoping I got some good pictures with the Olympus.

Mary Colter's Desert View Watchtower in the distance.

We parked the RV and walked over to the El Tovar Hotel for breakfast. The lodge opened in 1905 and was one of a chain of hotels and restaurants owned and operated by the Fred Harvey Company, in conjunction with the Santa Fe Railway. It's a very elegant hotel and is considered the crown jewel of Historic National Park Lodges. I would agree! The interior is beautiful and the views from the dining rooms are breathtaking. 

The view of the Grand Canyon from our table in the El Tovar Hotel.

Chicken Fried Steak for Rod.

Southwest Breakfast Quesadilla for me.

I thought we were going to walk back to the hotel after exploring the rim, but we went a different way so I didn't get a picture of the exterior. It's a beautiful combination of a Swiss chalet and a Norwegian villa. Definitely worth a visit, if you're in the area! I would love to go back and have drinks on the patio as the sun is setting. Next time!

Click on images for a larger view.