After arriving in the Grand Canyon, we spent the next day driving around the park doing all the touristy things one does when at the Grand Canyon for the first time. Though I had been here before and have done all of these things more than once, I took great pleasure in doing them all again as if it was my first time here.
Woke up at 540 to catch the sunrise. It was cold in the morning so I was glad that we had our winter jackets from New York with us. After the sunrise, we headed into the lodge to see if there were any cancellation at the Phantom Ranch which is an historic lodge that sits at the valley of the canyon. For years it has been my dream to be able to go to the botto, but the logistics of all my previous trips never seemed to allow it. As I waited in the lobby of the Bright Angel, sipping coffee and eating a muffin, the park ranger- an older Native American man- called out a long list of people who were lucky enough to get picked to go. “Holy shit” I thought. “I can’t believe that there are that many cancellations!” As the list continued to be called I became excited with the anticipation of hearing my name. Unfortunately, by the time the ranger got around to our names there was only one female bunk bed left. After some disappointment, we put our names on the list for the next day, fairly confidant that I was finally going to make it to the bottom of the canyon.
Our first stop today was the famous Desert View Drive. Tired and blearly eyed, I drove 25 miles east until we reached the Desert View Watchtower built by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter in 1932. The Watchtower serves as both an observation point for eastern views of the canyon and a gift shop.
Tired from getting up at sunrise, and worn out from all the driving, we decided to grab a few things to eat from the general store located next to the parking lot and stop off for a picnic lunch at one of the many view points on our way back to the Bright Angel. Though the few restuarants that sit within the park borders are decent, nothing can really compare to enjoying a meal with the canyon right at your feet.
After resting at the trailhead for the Grand View trail, we made our way back to the Bright Angel and napped just long enough so we could get up in time to catch the sunset at Yavapai point. If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, you’ve never experienced the mad rush of thousands of tourists frantically trying to find the best place to watch the sunset and then claim out the best spot so that they can take 5oo pictures of the same shot. I myself stand guilty of the above behavior, but this time I felt calm in knowing that there really is no bad place to watch the sunset over the canyon and so there was no need to rush. Every view is amazing and one should be careful that in the effort to get that “perfect shot” one does not wind up experiencing the sunset entirely from behind a viewfinder. That being said, I did manage to get some decent shots as the sun’s light offered up a delightful show of shadows and color on the rocks before us.