Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Grand Canyon

Ned, Mary and Joe Pose for the Camera

Today was spent exploring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is the most visited part of the Grand Canyon and also the most developed. We started the morning by driving to the Visitor Center and getting Junior Ranger books for the boys. Since one of the requirements was a ranger led program we stuck around and attended a program on the geology of the Grand Canyon and learned about how this natural wonder was formed. After the program and some trash collecting the boys were awarded their Junior Ranger badges.

An activity we read about was a digital photography workshop called "Canon Photography in the Parks" sponsored by Canon. You sign up for a session and they lend you a digital camera, digital SLRs for adults and point and shoots for the kids. They take you on a small hike along the canyon rim with a professional photographer to give you tips on how to adjust camera settings, use natural light and frame your shots. We signed up and spent the next two hours taking pictures. It was a lot of fun. Between the four of us we took 370 pictures. We also learned a lot about taking better pictures. When the course was over we reluctantly turned in our cameras.

Pine Cones

Ned Fills the Canyon

Canyon View

Apache Plume

Kaibab Trial

Mary Catches Photographers in Action

Bird in Tree


Prickly Pear in Bloom

We then hiked along the Rim Trail to the Bright Angel lodge. The Rim Trail is a nice hike but very crowded. Most of the visitors to park are dropped off here from tour busses. As we made our way along the rim we stopped at Yavapai Point and Observation Center which has exhibits on the geology of the Grand Canyon. We dropped in at the train depot to see the Grand Canyon Railway train from Williams, AZ and at El Tovar, a beautiful hotel on the rim.

We had a late lunch at Bright Angel lodge which was not very good. I walked down to the trailhead of the Bright Angel Trail and watched the hikers returning from the canyon. They were all glad to be at the top. I asked one woman if she had fun. She paused and looked back at the canyon and turned to me and said, "If I knew you better I'd throw you over the edge."

We then hopped on the park shuttle back to where the car was parked and drove back to Desert View to watch the sunset. We said goodnight to the canyon and went to sleep for tomorrow we are returning to Route 66.

The Bright Angel Trail

The Hopi House

Looking North to Bright Angel Canyon

The Desert View Watchtower from Navajo Point


Sunset at the Watchtower

Sunset Over the Grand Canyon

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