An anniversary at the Grand Canyon
16.12.2015 - 17.12.2015 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.
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.
We walked back to our room in the cold night air, full and happy after a wonderful day.