6 Oct 2010 2022
Today was both overwhelming and underwhelming. Overwhelming because of how massive the park is. We barely scratched the surface and yet we felt very tired at the end of the day. Overwhelming at how many different nationalities were present. We heard french, german, japanese, vietnamese, and The Queen’s English. There was a constant cycling of tourists foreign and domestic at the Grand Canyon Village. To stand there is to constantly be surrounded by Grand Canyon green horns. It was also amazing to see so many animals. We saw a neat type of squirrel, a mouse/chipmunk thing, dear, a woodpecker, and a beautiful blue bird. It was so awesome – especially the blue bird. At the end of the day, it was amazing how dark it was and how many stars there were in the sky. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera that could properly capture the night sky. That’s why I want to get a film 35mm Canon camera.
The Grand Canyon was underwhelming in two ways. First of all, the sunset sucked compared to how amazing the guidebook made it seem it would be. Perhaps it’s because we saw it from the “village” instead of a lookout point.
The other underwhelming part was the look of the canyon. Again, maybe it’s where I was standing, but it looked nothing like the photos I’d seen. Of course, it looked amazing, but it had trees and none of the crazy colours I’ve seen in photos. Don’t know if it’s because most of those photos are from deeper in the canyon. It was weird to see so many trees in the Grand Canyon.
So what’d we do? At first we thought the place to go was the Visitor Center. It appears that they purposely set it away from where you want to be in order to get people parked there during the busy summers. As it was, it was hard enough to get parking over where everything is even though it was the off season. Turned out that we wanted to get to the Grand Canyon Village. Once we finally got to the Grand Canyon Village, we were starving and decided to go eat at the Arizona Room. While waiting for lunch (about 45 minutes or so) a photographer came in and let us know that there was a rainbow outside. Danielle checked it out and told me to go photograph it.
Despite lots of signs telling people to leave the wildlife alone and specifically not to feed them, lots of people were petting and feeding the rock squirrels. I partially blame it on language/culture barriers and partly on people doing whatever they want if no one’s watching. It leads to the squirrels being fearless around the humans. One climbed on my photography book bag while I was changing lenses to take some macro shots. I guess it thought I was taking food out of my bag. More about their behaviour in a future post.
We also saw the cliff chipmunks which were so cute they were definitely kawaii. (かわいい)
The food at the Grand Canyon is actually really good. They also don’t do like Disney and jack up the prices because it’s such a pain to leave the Grand Canyon. You get very large portions with your meal and we often left a bit of it uneaten. Overall, for the restaurants at Bright Angle Lodge, the food is great at either restaurant. The servers and hosts/hostesses are very nice and delightful to interact with. However, the speed of service sucked! It often seemed that they had about half as many people working there as there should have been. It took forever to get seated (even when there were empty tables), to get the order in, and to get the check paid. We started requesting the check while we were still eating so that we wouldn’t have to waste our vacation sitting idly in the restaurants. Anyway, that day Danielle had the corn chowder and I had the soup of the day, a semi-spicy southwestern soup. Unfortunately, I found out a couple days later that it had been the soup of the day for the last quarter of the year. I had a burger with some not-really-spicy peppers and Danielle had some kind of sandwich. (Both with fries) We left quite sated.
We went to the Kolb house, an old photography studio, which was pretty neat.
Afterwards we saw ANOTHER rainbow!
Then we went on the Rim Trail towards the Hermit Trail (ie, going west). Well, at first we stood in line to take the shuttle bus out a little deeper into the trail. But after we didn’t get on after one or two busses came by, we were told by the bus driver that they can’t take standing riders on the first stop. So if were to walk to the next stop we could stand and go as far as we wanted. So we went for a walk.
Eventually we got to the second bus stop where we saw the deer I mentioned above.
There we boarded the bus and got off at Maricopa Point, mentioned by the bus driver as a great overlook to get off at. There we saw the blue birds and some very nice scenery.
The rain came back and kept us from seeing more of the trail and being in the ideal place for the sunset (Hopi Point). The weather should be a lot better tomorrow. We got to meet and talk with a British woman who was in the USA to see the South West. She had flown into California and driven to Yosemite and a bunch of other national parks. We had a nice conversation with her about our time in England and how driving differed between our countries.