Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Zoning Out in Arizona - Walking the Grand Canyon Rim, Part 1

Husband J and I decided to enjoy the Grand Canyon like most people do, by walking its rim. Now I should let you know that we spent time in the South Rim, which is the most popular area of the park to visit. The North Rim area is also available to visitors, but has a little less going on and is closed during the winter months beginning in November.

When we first got to our hotel, it was pouring down hurricane rain, so I couldn't see the canyon at all. At first I refused to look until we got right up to the canyon's edge. I even closed my eyes when we left our hotel so that I could have my own special "first look". Pictures just don't give you the impact of what the Grand Canyon is really like in person. I joked with Husband J that all that we were seeing just couldn't be real. It couldn't be. It's that spectacular.

We set out from our hotel, the El Tovar, and literally walk less than 50 feet to the rim. I'll talk more about the El Tovar and the great advantages to staying there in another post. Since we weren't ready for a far-flung walk that day, we stayed pretty close to the hotel. I will say that the National Park Service has made walking the Grand Canyon Rim pretty easy for almost any visitor. There is a main paved walkway that provides great views, and you can take it almost the length of the South Rim.

For the adventurer, you can move off of the main walkway for an even closer look at edge.
That's about as close to the edge as I was going to go!

The Trail of Time is also a part of the main walkway in this part of the park. Ever so often there were rock markers with their scientific names and geological ages. Science buffs take note!

I was still in my initial awe of the canyon and busy taking waaay too many pictures like this.

This portion of the South Rim happened to have a few shops that are their own historic structures. Verkamp's Visitor Center has been around since the early 20th century (1905 to be exact) and is one of the oldest buildings surrounding the canyon. It started out as a curio (craft) shop and has become an integral part of the South Rim experience.

Verkamp's floor actually has a nice time line showing major points in the history and development of the canyon as a park and tourist site. I learned quite a bit myself including the fact that our hotel was over a 100 years old.

Less than a hundred feet from our hotel is Hopi House, a wonderful example of Hopi architecture as interpreted by architect, Mary Colter. What's most impressive about Ms. Colter is that she was one of the few female architects actively working in the West in the early 20th century. She designed six buildings within the Grand Canyon National Park. I'm going to give her a post-humous "You go, girl!" The purpose of Hopi House was to provide a place for the Hopi Tribe to sell their crafts and celebrate their culture within the park.
Hopi House

I wish I was more of a shopper and that we had more room in our apartment for these gorgeous pieces. Check the prices, though.

I will say that I am sad that we did not learn more about Native American culture on this trip. Arizona is home to over 250,000 Native Americans from 21 recognized tribes. At the same time, I'm going to cut myself some slack since this was really only a long weekend. :(

I'm not done with walking the canyon yet. Stay tuned for my pseudo-hiking!


BigAppleNosh said...

Looks great - I'm loving your Grand Canyon posts! :)

lobster said...

love the grand canyon! My family visited back in 2004 and back then I wasn't scared of the edge as much but these pictures make me nervous!

Try Anything Once Terri said...

@lobster - I totally had to watch my step!

Morgan said...

It's so cool to see the grand canyon through your eyes! And I agree, pictures totally don't do it justice.

Plus, I'm super jealous you got to stay at El Tovar, it was all booked when we went so we had to settle for the Thunderbird Lodge the one night we stayed on the rim. Luckily the next night we got the best lodging in the entire park, in a private cabin at the bottom of the canyon...although we did have to get there by mule!

Kate said...

I am DYING to go to the Grand Canyon! I am so jealous you've seen it- it looks so cool! How fun.

lavenderpug said...

heehee i love that you wanted a "first look" with the grand canyon. the pics are gorgeous, although one of them gave me a little vertigo!

mintedlife said...

This is amazing! I've never been, but I would love to go. Maybe I should take a little road trip...

melinda said...

I love that picture of you at the edge - the background is just perfect and you can see the "I'm not taking one more step!" written all over your face :)


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