Monday, 7 November 2016

Farewell to the Grand Canyon

Saturday 5th November.
Managed to keep the RV a bit warmer overnight and M wore R's vest so, although it may not have been too flattering, it did give M a warm and restful night!
M got up as the sun was casting long shadows through the trees. Very still today, not a breath of wind.
After a traditional smiley breakfast of eggs, bacon and baby tomatoes, we walked into the Plaza, where we managed to send a couple of emails on the iPad, had a coffee and hot chocolate and posted a few cards.
We walked back to the Rim to admire it for the last time. We fell into conversation with one of the Park Rangers named Roderic who was also just standing and admiring the view. We talked for some time and he told us a lot about the Canyon as well as about his life as a full time Ranger. 
He also reminded us of the famous episode of the "Flintstones", when Fred and family had visited the Grand Canyon on vacation - but then it was only a small ditch a few feet wide!
During this time, we managed to photograph two or three different types of bird including a Pygmy Nuthatch, a very familiar Woodpecker and a Scrub Jay.
M wanted to sit quietly and contemplate the view, while R went off and photographed all the 43 rock samples, from the rocks that form the top of the Canyon 270 million years ago, to the those from the bottom of the Canyon 1,760 million years ago. As each yard represented a million years, that was a two mile walk there and back.
In the meantime, M made a lovely video walking through the trees to the edge of the Rim and then back to the path. It will help to remind us how very beautiful the Canyon is, although nothing can quite embrace the feeling of standing in silent awe next to that view.
Very wistfully and reluctantly, we turned away from the Rim and walked back to the Plaza, where we had parked the RV. 
It was a very special morning just enjoying the view.
We set off east towards the Park exit some 22 miles away, but stopped twice on the way at viewpoints that gave us yet another perspective on the Canyon. The second was the Desert View Watchtower, where we climbed the 70ft to the top. It truly was a magical morning.
Finally, we left the Park and headed east to Cameron. To get to the north Rim from the south Rim (just ten miles away across the Canyon) you have to drive about 50 miles east, then 50 miles north, then 50 miles west and finally 50 miles south again - it is a 213 miles one way trip. We only did the first two bits of that to get to Page by the Glen Canyon Dam. For mile after mile we drove through a huge forest and then alongside a 2,000 ft escarpment with fascinating stratification - again for mile after mile. The last hour of the drive was in darkness, a bright moon, one third full, was overhead.
We found the campground easily and booked in for two nights. No comparison with the Grand Canyon in terms of location (a busy road near a large town) but at least it did have hookups to keep M warm!
Page was founded in only 1957, just a year after the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam started. Apparently, this area was almost completely undeveloped prior to that - just another forgotten Indian reservation.
32,126 miles - 139 miles today, 956 miles for the trip so far.

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