Monday, January 23, 2012

Grand Canyon mini trip report

Just before New Year’s, Erin and I visited the Grand Canyon for a couple of days.

We arrived in the afternoon in time to walk along the rim for an hour or so. Above is a standard Grand Canyon sunset photo. The Bright Angel Trail and Indian Garden are visible in the gloom.

We stayed in Maswik Lodge, which is fine but not super awesome. It’s a bit pricey for what you get. However I might choose it again instead of one of the rim hotels because it’s more secluded and quiet.

The key problem with staying in the park but not camping is lack of food. None of the hotels or cabins have kitchens, and the restaurants are very mediocre. (An exception is the El Tovar, which is quite good if a bit fancy for my tastes.) I think the lack of actual free enterprise is a leading factor here; everything is operated by the Xanterra megacorp and its massive contract with the Park Service, so there’s little space for innovation or passion.

Anyway, in the morning we headed out to Desert View to see some views.

View from outside the Desert View Watchtower over one fork of Tanner Canyon, with Cedar Mountain on the far rim.

Erin and me at Desert View.

The Watchtower was rather crowded.

The Watchtower also appears to be falling down? At least, there are gauges like this one all over measuring the cracks.

View from either Lipan or Navajo Point, looking east towards the Watchtower, which is visible at upper right.

After a couple of viewpoints, we parked at Grandview Point, had some lunch, and headed down the trail.

Looking south from the upper part of the trail.

Much of Grandview Trail is supported by log structures like this one, built by miners.

Erin at the turn-around point, about an hour below the rim in the middle of the Coconino.

Erin, with Grapevine Canyon beyond, at one of the airier sections of the trail.

After we returned, Erin took a nap while I went to the rim to see the sunset.

The following day, we went west to Hermit’s Rest, with the intent of hiking down the Hermit Trail and over to Dripping Springs.

View down Hermit Canyon from the Dripping Springs Trail.

Erin at Dripping Springs.

Dripping Springs is at the head of a pleasant little valley.

Just before rejoining the Hermit Trail for the climb back to the rim, looking up the Hermit Valley.

After the hike, it was dinner at the El Tovar and then back home to Los Alamos in the morning.

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