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Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 19: Grand Canyon, AZ (Leg: 0, Trip: 1,570)

Typical park shuttle bus

They have a wonderful shuttle system at this park too. (as you may recall, Zion's was superb). There are three routes: The main one called the village or Blue route hits the central areas of the village, campgrounds, markets, visitors center, etc. The Green route connects with the easternmost point of the blue route and goes further east about5-6 miles, and the red route connects with the blue route's westernmost point and goes another 8+ miles west. The shuttles run every 15 minutes or better which is great.

They told us when we checked in yesterday that our water hoses would freeze. I had some pipe insulators with us so I wrapped the hose in those and this morning the hose was not frozen. Unfortunately, they don't insulate the actual water faucets here so that did freeze. Once the sun came out and hit the faucet, it unfroze rapidly.

Today is Carol's birthday! Happy Birthday Carol! And she had her first real look at the Grand Canyon today for a special present! More importantly, the weather cooperated.

After breakfast we took the blue tram to the visitors center, connected to the green one and visited all the lookouts along the way. As our green tram was fairly full and about to leave, a guy came up and asked "if there was any room remaining." The driver asked "for how many?" And the response was 26 plus a few. Seems a school tour from Tucson was in the area. The driver said "sure, load them up!" So our green shuttle was stuffed full for the first leg.

The views from the various rim lookouts were great for seeing the canyon. Some of the colors were better as the day went on and the sun rose higher.

An interesting rock formation in the Canyon

A really pretty view down into the canyon.

After the green shuttle, we explored the visitors center which was underwhelming. It is big, spacious, and fairly empty. Nothing to really see there.

We then took the shuttle to the El Tovar Hotel where we had lunch. It is a fairly formal place and the food was OK. After lunch we took the blue shuttle to connect with the Red shuttle and went all the way out to Hermit's Rest and back. This shuttle route has the most scenic stops and overlooks. Tomorrow we plan to investigate the red route in detail tomorrow. Tonight we are going out to eat and then to a ranger program.

Great view from the red shuttle route

Hermit's Rest - end of the line

Hermit's rest was originally a "rest stop" along the trail for horse wagons and later cars to come into the rim area.

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