Monday, October 6, 2008

Grand Canyon -- On the Rim

It was so nice to get out of town! We watched the outside temperature gauge in the car drop as we climbed out of Phoenix and the temp was down 20 degrees by the time we hit Flagstaff. We were at the Grand Canyon in about four and a half hours (we stopped a couple of times). We checked into the hotel in Tusayan, and then drove into the park. It's $25 for a 7 day pass. A tremendous deal considering the views, hiking, and exhibits! We pulled over at one of the first main viewpoints and parked. They have a paved walking trail that runs all along the rim, so we just walked and took in all the views. It's so vast, it's hard to capture the true beauty with photos.

After taking in the views, we headed on towards the Grand Canyon Village area to visit the old hotels and studios along the rim there. Lookout Studio below, built in the early 1900's, is a favorite viewpoint.

Once inside the studio, the views out of the old windows were breathtaking. On the lower level of the building, they had an exhibit which seemed especially poignant given the current financial implosion of the last few weeks. "It Saved My Life" described the Great Depression years and the role that FDR's Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) played in providing jobs and a new life for hungry jobless Americans. The display just really hit home and made me wonder if current economic conditions in the U.S. will again lead to this type of devastation. Actually, a lot of the financial statistics listed in the write-up looked extremely familiar.

The cases above contain some CCC memorabilia. Mess kits, books, banners, etc... The Conservation Corp built many of the stone structures, trails, and park facilities not only in the Grand Canyon, but also around the United States. The corp gave a lot of destitute people a new purpose (not to mention food!) during the 1930's.

We took a little hike down the Bright Angel Trail, which was also built by the CCC during the Depression era. The views once you drop below rim level are outstanding.

Back up on top, we strolled along the walkway toward the hotels to have a look in the lobbies of Bright Angel and El Tovar Lodges. The little cabins below are located right along the rim walkway. Not a good place for sleepwalkers to stay since the drop is right outside your door, but I'll check this out for any future trips. The view from the room would be unbelievable!

We walked into Bright Angel lobby to have a look at the historic structure. The lobby's log walls are highlighted by Indian art and moose and elk heads.

Craig in front of Hopi House.

El Tovar Lodge Sign

At this point, the light was dimming without a sensational sunset and the lodge restaurants were packed, so we decided to head back to Tusayan to watch the Palin/Biden debate on television. Back to ugly reality? We stopped at Pizza Hut and grabbed a supreme to eat in the room.

Stay tuned because Craig drags me on a hike tomorrow!


jeanie said...

Beautiful Beck !!! Those giant slices of colorful rock look like fine Mexican Blankets. Thanks for sharing.

Jamqueen said...

Thanks for sharing--I was there in the mid 70's & really don't remeber too much! Will have to drag out my photos....

Islagringo said...

It took me 55 years to finally see the Grand Canyon and it was as great as I always imagined.

Thanks for the CCC memories. My Dad worked for the Michigan branch, building parks and such. I still remember him taking us around as kids and proudly showing us what he had done.

Beck said...

Wayne, I remember my dad pointing out all the CCC projects to me when I was a kid. We had a beautiful stone bathhouse at our town pool and trails all over the park. Jeanie and Jamqueen, I thought I might be underwhelmed by the Grand Canyon since I've seen it a few times, but I think we really got into it this trip! Thanks!