Another glorious day at the Canyon! The low last night was only 47, so it felt much warmer when we woke up. We wanted to get a little earlier start today since we were going to spend the day riding the park shuttle “red line” from the Bright Angel Lodge to Hermit’s Rest. The Hermit’s Rest Road is closed to private vehicles, so the only way to get up to that area is by shuttle. The trick would be finding a place to park. We left the campground at 8:00, arriving at the gate at 9:00 with no line.
We were lucky and found parking by the Maswik Lodge after checking out a few other areas. We parked the truck and walked a short distance to the start of the Hermit’s Rest Route.
We didn’t have a long wait before the bus arrived and we were on our way. The plan was to hop on and off the shuttle bus at each of the 8 stops. We realized that the first stop, The Trail Overlook, was a view we had seen before, so we just skipped it. As I said before, Bob and I had been to the Grand Canyon before, with our families and together quite a number of years ago. I have ridden the mules twice down the Bright Angel Trail and Bob has done it once with me, so we stayed away from the central part of the Village and Market Plaza where most of the tourists congregate. This is a view of the Bright Angel Trail that we took on mules. The first part of the trail is hair-raising as the mules make their way down the steep slopes. The picture shows the flat section of the trail after a stop at the Rest Area midway down.
Yesterday, we toured the east side of the Canyon where neither of us had been before, so today we wanted to do the west side. We made a good decision because crowds were light today and getting an early start helped a lot. Our first stop was Maricopa Point which gave us a view of the canyon and the former Orphan Mine.
Since the next three stops were grouped close together, we decided to walk to each of those and not ride the shuttle. The total distance from the first to the last stop was less than a mile.
I was SO glad that we decided to walk because that’s when we saw the 10 female elk bedded down in the woods, right alongside the trail between Maricopa Point and Powell Point! We would have missed them altogether except that another couple that was walking behind us noticed them and pointed them out to us. I told the guy that if I knew him, I would have given him a kiss and a hug! I was so excited to see those elk!
Beside all the elk, we saw lots of bluebirds like this one.
The views were awesome, but some were a little too close to the edge for Bob. He stayed behind and I went ahead to check it out.
We continued our walk to the third stop, which was Hopi Point. Hopi Point is a spot that people come to watch the sunrise because standing at the point provides a complete view of the canyon in both directions and the Colorado River.
We hopped on the shuttle from there to get to the next stop, Mohave Point, which provided more awesome views of the Colorado River. (My camera has an awesome zoom on it and I zoomed in to get the river pictures. We were actually about 7-10 miles away.) We were going to walk it because it was only a mile, BUT the trail was unpaved and we were warned that it came very close to the edge of the canyon. We didn’t like that idea, so we rode the shuttle. The shuttles came every 10 or 15 minutes, so we had enough time to take pictures and enjoy the views before the next shuttle arrived.
Our next stop was The Abyss. The Abyss is just what the name implies…a canyon view with a 3,000 ft. drop off. It was amazing! We could even see what looked like trails below us in the canyon.
We skipped the next stop, Monument Creek Vista because it was more of the same views we had already seen, but we did stop at Pima Point. The driver said this would be our last chance to view the Colorado River and possibly even hear it. The view was jaw-dropping in so many directions.
We did not ride the shuttle to the very end to Hermit’s Rest, which was a snack bar with bathrooms and a gift shop. We hopped on the shuttle at Pima Point heading east back to the Village. On the ride back to the Village, we spotted more elk near Maricopa Point laying in the woods. We arrived back in the Village around noon. We saw the train arrive in the Village from Williams as we were walking back to the truck.
We ate our lunch in the truck before making the drive back to the campground, with one stop in Trailer Village to check out the RV campground before we left. We tried to get a reservation in that campground, but it was full when we called. It looked like a nice place. We made our drive back to town and our campground, spending a few hours with Auggie before leaving for Happy Hour at the Grand Canyon Brewing Company. It was an easy walk to the restaurant from the campground.
It is quite a unique place, with a lot of money put into the decor inside. It was beautiful with lots of logs, a huge fireplace, and a bridge over a pond where people tossed their coins. We had beers and dinner during Happy Hour and returned to the campground before dark so Auggie could get his nightly walk. Clouds settled in as the sun set and things started to cool off. We move on to Las Vegas tomorrow for 5 days. We hope to get a tour of Hoover Dam and take in a show or two whlle we’re there.