We woke up feeling fresh, with some of the jetlag tapering off. After breakfast at the Maswik, we caught the Blue Line Shuttle to the Visitor’s Center and walked from there to the rim trail. The paved trail was easy to walk on and offered spectacular views the entire way.
As we walked along, one thing that struck me is how different mindsets experience the canyon.
There is the artist/poet type, who focuses on the way the sunlight alters the appearance of the layers of rock throughout the course of the day, or who tries to put into words the feeling of awe and insignificance that the sight of the vast canyon inspires.
Then, there is the analytical, math-minded, adventurer, who is fascinated with questions like, “if someone fell off of the canyon, how long would it take them to hit bottom,” and “what are the precise dimensions of the canyon?” – You guessed it, my boys, especially Thing 1. Hubby had a great reaction to the gory obsession.
Instead of freaking out in horror, like I was inclined to do, he asked Thing 1, “Well, what’s the distance it would take you to reach terminal velocity?”
From there, they took the formula, using estimates based upon average depth of the canyon and estimates of the speed at which one would fall, etc. Oy vey!
The math-minded and poet-minded fascinations merged when it came to the science of geological, paleontological, and wildlife around the canyon.
We watched the timeline stamped along the path, marveled that the earth at a particular spot was 270 million-years-old or 1 billion-years-old. It’s not easy to grasp the ancientness of the minerals. We looked at the layers of the cliff-sides and plateaus, spotted shale and limestone, and peered down to the Colorado River.
We even spotted a Condor—a huge buzzard-like bird with a 9-foot wingspan.
We finished our hike and ate lunch at El Tovar Lodge, a lovely hotel right on the rim. A restaurant with a view – excellent! I ate a salad with chicken and Meditteranean veggies.
Before walking back to Maswik, we stopped at the Hopi House Art Center to look around. I bought a book of Native American Legends and also a book with photos of the views from Hermit Road. I also loved seeing all of the different styles of Native American pottery and learning about the way they were made. Some coil pots, burnished. Others molded as “greenware” actually poured into a mold and then hand-painted. Amazing.
We drove to Lake Powell in time to take a dip in the lake. But e the drive provided amazing scenic view the entire way. We hugged the Grand Canyon and passed through the center of valleys between roc formations seemingly erupting out of the Earth. Beautiful!
We ate dinner at the Lake Powell Resort and Marina Rainbow Room, overlooking the lake and a boatyard full of houseboats.
I need to get some sleep because we have an early day tomorrow.
After breakfast, we hit the road – that is, after a short errand of picking up a Styrofoam cooler, some ice, and a case of water. The kids were intrigued by the giant cacti dotting the landscape in some spots and thickly settled, like forests of saguaros in others. We stopped to see Montezuma’s Castle (another misnamed ruin, since the Aztecs had nothing to do with building this Pueblo village thought to be a thriving community between 1100 and 1450 A.D.)
Hubby liked the drive on Route 17 as we continued North – speed limit 75 was a first for him. We arrived at the Maswik Lodge in Grand Canyon National Park and walked a short way down Bright Angel Trail, where the mules walk and then climbed back up and caught the Hermit Road Suttle to explore a little more. The boys reacted with anticipated awe.
Thing 1 immediately wanted to know the dimensions of the vast canyon. After hearing 270-something miles long, none of us could wrap our heads around it.
We ate a small snack, a short rest in the room, dinner at the Lodge, and then took a shuttle to Arena, where we walked a paved path to the rim trail and walked along the rim trail to watch the sunset. We’re back in our room and ready to get a good night’s sleep before tomorrow. I will dream of the vivid hues that filled the sky and the way the white shelves of rock turned to burgundy layer by layer as the sun set. Phenomenal!