March 27, 2006
If you ever go to the Grand Canyon, absolutely, positively stay on the rim. It was freaking awesome. We will never, ever, do it any other way again. And next time, we will book it in time to stay at El Tovar, the historical hotel on the rim that just celebrated it’s 100th anniversary… or at the very least, we will make sure we have a canyon-facing room at the Thunderbird Lodge where we stayed this time. (We booked 6 months in advance and were told we were lucky to get the streetside room we got… what the hell do people do when they are not Type-A Planners such as myself? I guess those are the people staying in Williams, AZ, and driving an hour each way every day.)
So. Apparently the day before we arrived was 65 degrees. Not so much for us. Not that I am complaining. The sun was shining as we boarded the shuttle bus to explore the west side of the South Rim.
We quickly established a rhythm that stayed with us for the rest of the trip. Bryan did the kid-wrangling, I did the photo-taking. I appreciate this so much because, as you can guess – I took a shitload of photos. And Bryan kept our kid safe. He brought Declan a safety whistle, taught him how to use it in case they got separated, but mainly just kept that little hand securely locked in his grip – because there were lots of places where we were looking straight down that canyon.
But man, was it beautiful. Pictures never adequately capture it.
You. must. go.
The snow started to fly just as we reached Hermit’s Rest – the western-most tip of the shuttle route (the canyon itself goes on for hundred of miles). And as much as we’ve had our fill of snow lately – it was magical to watch it fly.
That evening we had dinner at the El Tovar Restaurant (so I could get a peek at the lodge) and guess who I ran into? Our realtor. Not kidding. There on Spring Break with her family.
And the only other highlight of my evening was catching 5 minutes of American Idol as we walked out the door for our reservation. Holy fauxhawk, Batman! Declan nearly peed his pants when he saw it. And later in the evening when we were practicing some sign language he has been learning in school, Declan came up with the the Sanjaya “sign” below (all on his own, I swear!).
And we crunched back through the snow to our snuggly room and slept like the dead.
Highlights from Day 1 Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: