Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Arizona - Grand Canyon National Park

The main reason we went to Williams, Arizona was to visit the Grand Canyon.  We packed a picnic lunch, filled the cooler with drinks, and headed to the park (I have learned my lesson on that one!).

It was a beautiful day and the park was packed.  We waited to go until a Monday, but I don't think it would have mattered.  It is the Grand Canyon...

We found a great parking spot at the South Rim near the visitor center and Mather Point.  After taking in the view, we made our way into the visitor center for the kids to get their Jr. Ranger books and to check out all the displays, maps, schedules, etc.  A short movie was just starting, so we watched that and then it was time for the Ranger led program for the kids over at the Mather Point Amphitheater.

The amphitheater was pretty much just a couple dozen seats carved into some rocks with a fabulous view of the canyon.  Just before time to begin, we heard someone calling out our kids names.  Huh?  How could that be?  It was one of the families staying at our campground!  Their kids spotted ours and so they came over to join us.  What are the chances of that happening?  Anyway, the program was about California Condors, one of the rarest birds in the world.  There are around 70 of them living in the Grand Canyon vicinity.  These birds are huge, they have wingspans of over 9-feet.  Not the prettiest bird, but the kids all enjoyed learning about them.

While having our lunch, we checked out our map to decide where to go next.  There are free shuttle buses at the visitor center that run all day taking people to some of the sites.  The park really was busy and the idea of touring the canyon with a bus full of people didn't appeal to us.  So...we drove our own car and headed in the opposite direction of the buses.

SO beautiful.  I think the pictures speak for themselves...

Just as the sun was setting, we reached the far eastern edge of the South Rim.  Here we visited the Desert View Watchtower.  This tower was built in the first half of the 1900's in the style of the ancient Anasazi Indian Watchtowers.  We climbed part way up and then went outside to watch the sun set.

What a day!  We went home with some great memories and some tired kids :)...

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos! So reassuring to see something solid and longstanding, esp. after yesterday's debacle. BTW, I am supposed to pass on an invitation to your family from James and Linda Nissley (via FB) to stop in and see them if you ever get near the Tuscon area. They said they even have RV hookup for electric and water if you want to stop in a couple of nights.