We started our day with the scenic drive along Desert View Drive, stopping at Navajo Point before continuing along to the Desert Views Area. After pictures, we went to the top of the Watchtower, which gave us incredible views of this eastern end of the Canyon. There really is no describing the feeling of looking down into the base of the Canyon, it’s incredible. It is about 1 mile straight down to the base at this point, of course to walk down, it’s more like 7 miles with all the switch-backs. The length of the Grand Canyon, based on the Colorado River’s journey through the base of the Canyon is 277 miles, so, quite long!
We stopped for more pictures at Lipan Point and then wandered around the Tusayan Ruins (more snow!). The Pueblan people lived here in the 1100’s – what a barren existence they must’ve had: so incredibly cold along the rim in the winter, scorching hot in the summer. We wondered how they ever came to be here; it’s certainly a trek to get to the top of the rim.
We stopped at Moran Point and Grandview Point on our return journey, enjoying lunch overlooking the Canyon; not a bad view really! We went to look around the Verkamp’s visitor Center in the accommodation area. It had a neat timeline history all around the room.
The kids needed to attend one ranger program to complete their badge requirements. The one recommended as suitable to hold children's interest was the Geo-Glimpse Talk at the Yavapai Observation Station at 3pm. The ranger gave a good explanation of the Canyon’s layers using ‘cake’ as equivalent examples. The older three thought it was neat and understood the fairly simplistic explanation very well, Nate did not really grasp the symbolism of the Colorado River being likened to a knife cutting through cake. He just wondered when we would be sampling this delicious sounding cake! Bless him!
The same Ranger also signed their books and swore them in. There are different cloth badges depending on age and level, the idea being, I’m sure, that you return to gain all the levels – there would certainly be enough to keep us occupied another time, we loved this Park!
Back at the campground while the kids were back playing in the snow, Nate suddenly shouted: ‘deer!’. Dave rushed out with the camera and sure enough, there were two mule deer (they look quite different from the usual deer we see, much larger ears). We also spotted a gopher digging its hole next to our camper; it really seemed to be staring at us as it threw dirt out!
Dave went back to the overlook rim much later in the evening, once the full moon was up and the kids were in bed. He got some amazing pictures without any kind of flash, the moon lit up the Canyon brilliantly; he even managed to get a couple with stars in the background; they’re gorgeous, he really is becoming quite the talent with camera in hand.
States visited: 49!
visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800
Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)