Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Grand Canyon and Onward

Posted from Yuma, AZ    (Click on Pictures to Enlarge)

To view additional pictures, CLICK HERE to view the Google+ album.

It's time to play "blog catch up" again.  We were recently staying at the Trailer Village in Grand Canyon NP and the cell reception was pretty slow, so I just decided to wait until we got a better signal.

We visited the Grand Canyon 19 years ago when we made a hurried trip to the west from Virginia.  At that time we camped in Flagstaff and just drove up to the Canyon for a single day visit.  This time we spent 5 nights (way too short) within the park.

We pulled in on Tuesday and the campground was not too busy (surprisingly).  This elk was grazing right behind our rig and didn't even pay any attention to us.

On Wednesday we ventured over to the Visitor's Center via the excellent shuttle bus system provided by the park.  We parked the Honda the entire time of our stay.  Picked up some brochures and saw a video presentation of the park. The Visitor's Center has had many upgrades since we were here last.

The next day we jumped on the bus again (a stop right at the entrance to the campground) and road out to the "red line" transfer station for Hermit Road. This time of the year only shuttle buses are allowed to travel on Hermit Road (along with hikers and bicyclists).

We decided to ease into hiking here and rode the bus to the Monument Creek Vista stop, then hiked (actually walked on a paved trail called The Greenway) to Hermit's Rest.

Here's a better look at The Greenway trail.  It runs along the south rim in this area.

Here's a look at the Colorado River far below from Pima Point.

After about 2.8 miles we made it to Hermit's Rest.  This is the end of the line for the shuttle bus.  From here, everything heads back east again. Hermit's Rest was built in 1914 and served tourists visiting Hermit Camp (long gone) by coach. This is the westernmost terminus of the Hermit Road.

The building was designed and constructed to blend in to the natural surroundings.

Today the building contains a gift shop, small snack shop, and is still a place to relax before hiking into the Canyon from the nearby trails.

After our short hike we visited the Grand Canyon Railroad Depot.  The train line still runs today and makes trips to Williams, AZ.  This is a permanently retired engine #3859 which worked the rails in years past.  The Depot is located just below the Bright Angel Lodge.

These guys were not only comfortable with tourists, but the unused portion of the train rails as well.

The next day we decided to take a hike "below the rim".  After reading the trail descriptions we decided to take the Bright Angel Trail down to the 1.5 mile rest station.  Here's a view near the trailhead looking down into the Canyon.

This is the same trail which the mules carry tourists down into the Canyon, but our schedules didn't coincide today.  Here's a bit of rock art for Sherry.  This was up on the wall just as you pass through one of the tunnels.

The brochures indicated that it takes twice as long to return back to the rim as it does to hike down.  It didn't take us that long, but we did make more than a few stops on the way back up. We only hiked 1.5 miles down, but the elevation still dropped 1000 feet.

There a many "scary" overlooks at the Grand Canyon, but when you see a sign like this it's probably a good thing to pay attention.

The final evening we rode the bus again over to Yaki Point to wait for sunset.  We honestly didn't get any real nice pictures of the sun setting in the canyon, but had a nice time anyway.

Believe me, we were not alone.  There were a lot of folks out on the rocks with similar ideas.

The sky wasn't the greatest for photographing as there weren't too many clouds in the sky this evening.

The Grand Canyon is always a place we look forward to returning.  Being able to stay at the campground within the park and use the shuttle bus system worked out very well.  Just a word of warning, however.  Although there is a general store near the campground, prices for food are greatly inflated.  Stock up if you can before arriving.

In an attempt to bring our travels in line with the blog, I have no pictures from the past couple of days. We left the Grand Canyon on Sunday and traveled to Cottonwood, AZ where we stayed for two nights at the Thousand Trails Verde Valley campground.  This was our first time at this TT.  It was definitely one of the better ones we've stayed in.

Today (10/7) we left Cottonwood and headed to Yuma, AZ.  We're staying in the Escapees KOFA Co-Op for a few days while we have some dental work done in Algodones, Mexico.  Hopefully, I'll have an entire blog on our Mexican dental "adventure".  Stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!


  1. Beautiful pictures! Can't wait to hear about your dental experience, we are headed down in January to do the same.

  2. Looks like you guys did the park up well. That is one big area on erosion, but I think Canyonland’s was even more so. The elk definitely look like they are totally comfortable around people. Our only visit was a quick one-day one like your first one except we began in Sedona. I’d like to get back and stay a few days so thanks for all of the tips.

  3. Always such an awesome place! Our travels have now taken us to all four sides of the Grand Canyon. We, too, have stayed at Kingman and from there we did the Skywalk. If you are ever back in that area, it is well worth seeing it at least once. Such nice pictures.

  4. Love those pictures! What a spectacular place. Wish we could have stayed longer than we did in the Spring. But your photos bring back some great memories. Wow! I think I mentioned this before, but I really like how you have put together the travel maps during 2013 and 2014. I have to learn how to do that...

  5. We did the train ride to the canyon in 2002 and had a great time. We'd love to stay at the canyon campground like you did. Were reservations required at that time?

    We are planning on doing some dental work in Mexico this winter and would love to hear Karen's professional opinion of the dentists.

    1. To have some dental work done in Mexico you would have to come west of the Mississippi River. LOL

  6. Nice update. We have been to the Grand Canyon a couple times. Once on a scooter trip and only stayed over night and the last time we stayed in Williams and took the train which limited out actual time at the canyon. I think you did it right and stayed closer so you could spend more time.
    You guys are down south pretty early aren't you?? Well we will be headed that way in a couple weeks but knowing us it will probably take us a month to get there!! Happy trails.

    1. Yes, it's still a bit warmer than we like, but we wanted to get the "dentist" stuff taken care of before the onslaught of the snowbirds.

  7. A great visit to the Grand Canyon. Since we visited the GC just before Christmas all those years ago, our hiking options were limited to the few trails that were cleared on the rim, but we had the park practically to ourselves, and that was special.