|06-28-2008, 04:07 PM||#1|
Have Camera, Will Travel
Join Date: Oct 2006
Trip Report IMAGE INTENSE -- Southwest Splendors! Part 2
Trip Report -- Southwest Splendors Part 2
So, the next morning, I woke up, opened the curtains, and found – this!
5 inches of snow! Out of no-where. (It was a bit deeper actually at the Canyon). They had said something about a small chance of “snow-showers”, but no-one thought much about it, and no-one, including the locals, expected *this*! Chris said he’d been to the Grand Canyon at least 40 times over the years, and had *never* seen it with snow. The locals said it never snows this time of year. I was thrilled. The Grand Canyon is beautiful in the snow! And it warmed up quickly into the 60’s by afternoon, so by 2pm, it was almost all gone. We absolutely got the best of both worlds, because we got to see it gorgeous with snow, without going in the freezing winter, and by the afternoon, we saw it in gorgeous, spectacular sunshine. And the snow had settled the dust & dirt, so we got to see it very clear, indeed!
The local naturalist who'd joined us on the bus decided to change around our morning's itinerary a bit, so that we could see some areas that were great in the snow, like the Watchtower, and go to the Vista-type areas later on, once things had a chance to clear up. That worked out wonderfully!
This picture was taken through the window from the top of the “Watchtower”. While we were at the Watchtower, most of the clouds began to lift, and we were able to see the canyon very clearly.
Me and Cheryl with our matching brown knit hats (it turns out she has the same ear issues I do, and needed to cover her ears, too. So she went & got a hat at the IMAX, too!) Boy, was I ever grateful I’d bought it!
Chris being a bit dare-devilish. You should have seen the look on Cheryl’s face when I wondered out loud how difficult it would be to get out where Chris was…
Me and the Canyon.
After our morning of running around the Canyon in the snow, it had cleared up enough that Chris was able to arrange a helicopter tour over the Canyon for Debbie, Jen and I. Debbie had *always* wanted to do it, and I thought it would be cool. So off we went. I figured it was best to do it *before* eating lunch, anyways. Cheryl ended up being able to join us on the flight!
While it was a *very* cool thing to do, and a way to see a very different viewpoint of the Canyon, I have to admit it was not quite the “religious experience” I had been led to believe it would be, and I doubt I’d do it again. But it’s probably something you should do once in your life.
After the helicopter flight, and lunch on my own at the Bright Angel Lodge (really good comfort food) I decided to take a bit of a hike down into the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail, which is the trail the mules go down into the canyon on. I was warned to allow twice as long to come back up as you take to go down. I ended up walking about 2 miles in, then turned around & came back up. Took about 3 hours altogether. At the point I turned back, the trail had become a series of switchbacks, so you weren’t seeing any new scenery, just from lower down. I really think I went quite far enough, thank you! I got some *lovely* shots, with a bit more perspective.
This is a shot of the El Tovar Hotel, which is right on the rim. Some were saying that we should have stayed there instead of the Grand Hotel. While it would have been nice, Cheryl told me the El Tovar would not work with Disney, and required them to guarantee the number of rooms they’d pay for each tour. Disney wouldn’t do that. The El Tovar is very small and very popular, so they really had nothing to gain by having half their rooms taken by Disney… And the rooms are reportedly very small. But some day I will need to go back and stay there.
There was a cute little mountain goat on the trail, and idiots were letting him getting up close to them, and one guy tried to pet it. (*I* used my zoom!) “Hello, don’t touch! Wild animal! He may look cute, but he’ll gore you with those horns if he thinks you’re looking at him wrong!” People!
Several condors were out, sailing around the canyon near the El Tovar. They were very majestic. Just don’t take too much of a close-up. The closer you get, the uglier they are!
To be continued...
Link to Part 3 and loads more pictures!
Last edited by sayhello; 06-29-2008 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Add link to part 3
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