The Grand Canyon
Jun 23, 2009
|After a restful night's sleep we woke to watch the sunrise. It was a bit cloudy again but when the sun did hit the rocks it lit up the reds and golds in them, the water was also still this morning so it reflected beautifully.
This morning we hung around camp and had breakfast with copious amounts of tea, made by the teamaster, Debbie.
We were planning to try to hire kayaks before leaving for the Grand Canyon, so we packed up all the stuff (we're getting good at this now!) and headed off.
Now when I say 'headed off', it was more like 'headed in'... despite Sandy's experience in these sorts of terrain, her son Jason's car was having none of the uphill in the sand and we were soon well and truly stuck up to the axles with two wheels spinning.
We tried to push but your feet sank as quickly as the car did, so we set about finding some rocks to put under the wheels.
Luckily, our houseboat neighbours saw all the commotion and came to our rescue. They brought shovels and planks (and lots of body weight..) and with the first push Sandy was off across the dunes like Mad Max and came to rest on hard ground.... phew!
We thanked our neighbours (feeling slightly guilty as we'd been calling them perverts the night before for watching us in our bikinis on the lilos) and then hiked across to join Sandy in the car. We had a few more dicey moments but were soon back on terra firma.
We reached the marina but found we were out of luck on the kayaks too, they had four free but one had a dent and another one had a hole, I was up for putting Steve in that one but he wasn't so keen, so we used the toilet facilities and went to catch the earlier ferry.
We had decided yesterday to get the ferry to Hall's Crossing, which saves us a lot of road miles.
The ferry only took about 20 minutes and we were able to take some long-range shots of our 'campsite'.
Back on the road we headed for the Grand Canyon. The drive was pretty amazing and Debbie and I did our best to stay awake for it...
At one point we thought we'd taken a wrong turn as the road turned to a dirt track, we'd driven into Monument Valley where the road takes you backwards and forwards down a steep cliff that overlooks miles and miles of flat desert. The only thing that breaks up the expanse is the odd jutting rock that looked like pyramids. The story is that these are the points that aliens have landed... so I swapped my bear-spotting glasses for my alien ones, lets hope we have as much luck with them!
At lunchtime we stopped off in Mexican Hat, where we found the only restaurant in town. The food was a bit rough but the air conditioning was great, the temperature in the middle of the desert was pretty unbearable.
On the final leg to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, we saw a few glimpses of where the ground gave way to the canyon and the river below but nothing could prepare us for the view when we stopped to take a look inside the national park. It doesn't seem real when you look over the edge, it looks like a painting. There was a bit of a haze as they had been doing some controlled burning in the area but it seemed to add to the beauty of the place. I'm so pleased we came back to see it (unlucky Jo..!).
We knew the sun would go down at around 8:30, so we set about trying to find a place away from the usual campsites where we could have an unspoiled view of the sunset.
We drove up and down the roads looking for a break in the trees to quickly nip off the road and set up camp. We eventually found a track but there was too much traffic to drive up it without being seen, so we parked up and took a walk to see if it was suitable.
The path seemed ok to drive the car down, although there was a sketchy part in the middle over a pile of rocks. So we carried on until we reached the edge of the canyon and another spectacular view, it did seem like the perfect place but then we spotted a deer carcass and decided it was probably best not to camp near it with mountain lions, wolves and coyotes around.
The sun was getting low by this point, so we decided to find somewhere to watch it go down and then try to get into one of the normal campsites where you wouldn't be eaten in your sleep!
We found a great place overlooking the canyon with no-one else around, it was perfect. So we cracked open the wine and sat there until the sun disappeared behind the ridge. I could get used to this!
It was a bit of a mission to find a campsite and it was pitch black by the time we found one but there was lots of space for us to pitch the tents.
We were all starving, so we cooked up the remaining bocca burgers, beans and scrambled egg, man it tasted good!
We were also all very dirty, so even though it was getting on for midnight and we had to be up at 5, we really needed to get clean. The showers ended up being a bit of a nightmare, we knew they took quarters but we didn't know how many, so Sandy and Steve ended up getting dressed and undressed about three times before they found one that worked and put in the right amount of quarters... poor Sandy ended up washing in the sink!
Debs and I took full advantage of their bad luck and our showers worked first time, it was soo nice to be clean.
There were no bugs to bother us as we fell asleep and I heard two packs of coyotes very close to our tent, which made me very glad we weren't in the middle of the woods!