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Celebrating at Grand Canyon

An anniversary at the Grand Canyon

30 °F

We made it to Grand Canyon after dark, we’d forgotten about the time change. But we got settled into our cabin, part of the Bright Angel Lodge, and then went to have dinner. The cabins are historic, very old but refurbished with modern plumbing.

I must explain that there is a rim walk that goes quite a way around the South Rim. I’m not sure exactly where it starts or stops but we have been on several sections. There are low walls on some of the edges and other places no wall at all.

Along the South Rim are 3 hotels; the El Tovar, then just west the Thunderbird and then just west of that is the Bright Angel. The El Tovar is probably the most famous. Only 2 hotels were open now; the El Tovar and the Bright Angel. These hotels are in very close proximity to each other, each connected by the rim walk and separated by large driveways. The walk from Bright Angel to the El Tovar is about 5 min. The walk in the area is paved and wide and can accommodate wheelchairs. Other portions of the rim walk are dirt.

The Arizona Room, attached to the Bright Angle Lodge, had been recommended to us for dinner. The Zanterra Co is very conscious about food issues and the staff were aware of Celiac. There were many items on the menu gluten free as well as bread. This was evident quickly as we reviewed the menu with our waiter. We had a nice dinner, me a stuffed Native Squash that I’ll for sure try to replicate at home.

The weather was so cold, but we found that by layering up we were not cold at all. The only issue was icy spots on the walkways. The sky was clear with sparkling stars.

I woke up at about dawn to a beautiful blue sky and went out to shoot photos. There were no clouds and no apparent haze. It was cold and my fingers were the worst since I had to keep my fingertips free for the cameras. Few people were out so I had the canyon nearly to myself. I shot a bunch of photos with my big camera and several with my cell phone. It was so enjoyable to be out without many people, shooting photos where I liked.
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We had an anniversary breakfast at the El Tovar, complete with a glass of champagne. We had a large filling breakfast so that it would last until an early dinner. The El Tovar has a huge fresh tree in the lobby that extends up to the 2nd floor. The dining room has farolitos around the room, on a shelf close to the ceiling. Wreaths hang on the walls. Everywhere there is a feeling of Christmas.

Feeling full, but not stuffed we decided to take the free Shuttle out to the Visitors Center. Even though it was not above freezing outside, we were toasty warm and able to just enjoy the drive thru the snow.

We walked from the Visitor’s Center to Mathers Point, rim walkways had been cleared and were free from ice. Mathers Point itself was full of people, especially from other countries. It seemed like a bus full of Asians had stopped there. Other years we’ve seen busloads of people from Spain and other countries. But we went to the areas not so crowded so it wasn’t a problem.

We went out a little before sunset, as at sunset the canyon is actually mostly dark. Unfortunately, the sky was quite hazy so photos were not so nice.
We had a nice walk up to the El Tovar and got there just a little early as we hoped to enjoy the tree. We’d wanted a window seat, but the hostess recommended that we have the table in front of the fireplace as the canyon would be dark. We realized that she had a good suggestion. So there we had a table front and center of the large fireplace.

Arizona law prohibits ones from bringing their own wine in so we had to order from their menu. We had a wonderful ½ bottle of Champagne and ½ bottle of Zinfandel. Dinner was good, but dessert was amazing. We’d ordered a piece of Flourless Chocolate Cake, which the chef then decorated for our anniversary. So memorable. It was amazing with the 20-year old port.
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We walked back to our room in the cold night air, full and happy after a wonderful day.

Posted by Miss Chris 14:32 Archived in USA Tagged grand_canyon travel anniversary trip bright_angel_lodge rim_trail el_tovar Comments (0)

An Anniversary Trip

A trip to the southwest

sunny 57 °F

IMG_201512..0014387_HDR.jpgIMG_201512..0508586_HDR.jpgIMG_20151215_141908771.jpgWithout a word of blog we are off on another short trip.

Tomorrow is our 43rd wedding anniversary. Amazing. We’d planned a trip to include Taos, Hovenweep, Jemez and ending at the Grand Canyon today. Alas, when the weather was predicted to be frozen we decided to forgo that trip. The RV has too many issues and we’d likely be found as frozen mummies.

New and improved plan is the one we have now. We should be at the Grand Canyon by dinner time. We will stay at the Bright Angel Lodge, a place we’ve been in when beginning our hike across the canyon years ago. We’d wanted to stay at the El Tovar, but the rooms didn’t look appealing, so we will go for breakfast and dinner there tomorrow.

After the Grand Canyon, we will head to Santa Fe, where we will make a stop at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. We won’t go for cooking lessons, this time, but rather supplies and Christmas presents.

From Santa Fe, we will drive on to Taos. This should be towards evening so we will get to see the city and Espanola decorated with Farolitos. This is truly a wonderful sight to see and we are so happy that we can see this again.
In Taos, we plan to eat and eat some more! La Cava and Orlando's. OMG!!!! Also, we must buy some spices and fabrics for our RV. It is due for a major remodel.
This trip is only for Dale and I. We are basking in the aloneness!

Posted by Miss Chris 14:02 Archived in USA Tagged grand_canyon travel anniversary trip taos Comments (0)

Grand Canyon, Day 3

IMG_5903.jpgIMG_5943.jpgIMG_5959.jpgToday was the last day of our grandkids trip and we had lots to pack in.

1st off, catch the 8a.m. shuttle bus to Hermit’s Rest for the Junior Ranger/Family Hike. We haven’t been to Hermit’s Rest in many years and think that we just stopped and looked much like yesterday, but we didn’t even know about the trail so this was all new.

We got to the trail and found the ranger, there was only 2 other people, a father and his son so we were lucky to be in such a small group.

The Hermit’s Rest trail is mostly unmaintained which means that it is rocky and uneven. It is really a beautiful trail but steeper than the Bright Angel with many steps carved out of rock that are tall. I think that it would be very difficult to hike with a large backpack on. The trail does meet up with the Bright Angel but again I don’t think that I’d hike this one with a big pack on. The kids had no problem with this trail though.

We spent time at the Hermit’s Rest after the hike and were so amazed at the structure. It was designed by Mary Colter who also designed the Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio and Desert View. There is a huge fireplace that is lit, as per the staff, during the winter on very cold days. I think we will try to go there during the winter. They also welcome dogs during the winter, purchasing dog biscuits for our furry friends.

From Hermit’s Rest we thought that we’d stop along the way so that Christabel could finish up her Junior Ranger book. I had the big idea that we could stop at the Lookout Studio, we would enjoy the view and some coffee while Christabel completed her last page, a drawing.

Dale and I were sitting when Bel rushed up crying, she had placed her book on the ledge so that she could get her pencil when a gust of wind blew her book right off the ledge and down into the canyon. What a catastrophe!

I hurried Bel to the ranger at the Vercamp’s, now mostly a visitor’s center, thinking that the ranger on staff would help. We found Ranger Eric and I explained what had happened; Christabel had finished everything but one page including the Junior Ranger Hike (Charlotte brought her book along as proof). Ranger Eric listened to poor Christabel’s tale of woe and told her that it was ok. Ranger Eric gave Bel the pledge and the badge and we were able to obtain the Hike Patch after all. We got ice cream floats in celebration!

We then took the kids to see the Ancient’s ruins and Desert View before returning to the RV.

For our last evening I put into a large pot, sliced potatoes, sliced carrots, chicken thighs and dumped in leftover chicken broth. We then packed up a table cloth, napkins, our picnic basket and pack then took off again to one of the rim overlooks.

At the overlook we backed the pickup up to the rim walkway and put the tailgate down. We got the camp stove out and I put on the pot of chicken stuff. We set up our foldup picnic table, put on the tablecloth, poured some wine and enjoyed the evening. When our dinner was ready we all sat down and ate by the rim.

Wow, what a way to enjoy our last night together!

Posted by Miss Chris 23:43 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises grand_canyon nature hiking travel family camping tourist national_park rv outdoors family_travel grandkids hermit's_rest Comments (0)

Grand Canyon, Day 2

IMG_5890.jpgIMG_5889.jpgWe had planned to get up early, be on the 8a.m. shuttle to the end of the road at Herman’s Rest then go on the 9a.m. Family Ranger Hike down the Herman’s Rest Trail. Unfortunately we learned, earlier, that our campsite was reserved for the night so we would need to move.

The host told us of another site which was likely to be vacated but we needed to make certain. We finally saw the campers and verified that they would be leaving so went to dump while we waited. We dumped at a private campground and were happy that we were in Ten-X rather than have full hookups with internet and close neighbors.

By 11:30 we packed up a lunch, got into Grand Canyon Park, parked at the Bright Angel and hiked down the Bright Angel Trail about 1-1/2 miles. It was getting really hot so we just turned around after lunch but the kids had a great introduction to hiking the canyon. Christabel, the one who really didn’t like to hike asked if we could hike down to the bottom of the canyon sometime.

We took the shuttle all the way to Hermit’s Rest just for the ride then road one stop back to the Village where we hopped out to walk to the Abyss. The trail goes along the edge of the Canyon, some of it right on the edge.

We got back on the shuttle at the Abyss, tired but happy!

Posted by Miss Chris 22:19 Archived in USA Tagged landscapes grand_canyon nature travel camping tourist national_park rv outdoors family_travel grandkids Comments (0)

Grand Canyon, Day 1

IMG_5878.jpgIMG_5880.jpgAnother day of driving and we were at the Grand Canyon south rim. As the campgrounds were full we stopped at a campground just south of the park called Ten X. The campground host saw us looking for a site, we’d left Bel and Elias at one already. The host gave us the number of one he thought was perfect; he went and picked up the kids while we got into our campsite.

In the morning we went straight to the canyon as we wanted to eat breakfast at the El Tovar. When our boys were young and the farm was falling apart we went to the Grand Canyon and someone told us to go to the El Tovar for breakfast as one can find a cheaper yet just as lovely meal. We have always done that.

The kids were excited to go into the El Tovar for a meal but careful not to look like we were out of place. Bel reminded me not to look around too much as to seem as if I never go to a place so nice. We had a great breakfast, kids were convinced, once again, that they had the best meal ever.

From the El Tovar we gathered the Junior Ranger booklets and then walked along the canyon enjoying the views. At the lookout studio we took a photo of all of us, and found some books at the Kolb studio.

We had an early dinner back at the campground where the kids played rock hopping games and then a nice campfire.

Posted by Miss Chris 20:56 Archived in USA Tagged landscapes grand_canyon nature travel hotel family camping national_park outdoors family_travel Comments (0)

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