|| Home |||January-19th-2002|
This noisy night ended for us at 5:30 a.m. The thermometer at our alarm clock showed only 14°C, but nevertheless we had breakfast outside. When we finally started, it was already 8 o´clock. In between the warm water heater, which did not work properly, had kept us busy - the valve was leaking. With a few short hammer strokes the problem was tolerably removed. We did not want to take the vehicle to the garage because of that. On the way to the Grand Canyon NP we made a stop in Williams for getting gas and buying groceries. The prices for gasoline can even vary within a town enormously, so that a quarter of an hour additional drive definitely pays off. We can say that we could get here the cheapest gas within the 3½ weeks of our trip.
After we had gotten our camping site, we went by foot to the new established visitor center and the first view point Mather Point. The first impression of the extents of the Grand Canyon was overwhelming, not comparable at all with pictures we had already seen on TV. In the afternoon we drove back again to the park entrance, to Tusayan, in order to watch there the Grand Canyon film "The Hidden Secrets" at the IMAX-theater (admission fee $9.50). It´s perfect for bringing you into the proper mood for the Grand Canyon and very recommendable. Afterwards we actually just wanted to try out the Steak House in Tusayan which had been recommended by other US-travellers. But since no menu hung out there, we decided on fast food and payed a visit to Wendy´s (in our opinion the best fast food-chain in the USA).
After a small meal we went back into the park to the Grand Canyon Village. From there we explored the West Rim Drive of the canyon. From here several view points open fantastic views of the Grand Canyon. The road along the West Rim is however closed for the individual traffic from Memorial Day (occasionally even before) to at least Labor Day. During that time you must fall back on the shuttle bus service (free of charge). By shuttle we drove first to Prima Point. From there we walked to Hermit´s Rest, the last stop at the West Rim Trail. By shuttle we went back up to Mohave Point where we watched the sunset. At 10 o´clock we went to bed because we had planned an early and strenuous hiking tour for the next day.
Friday, the 18th of May - the first day without driving. We got up at 5 o´clock. We wanted to watch the sunrise (5:30 a.m.) and then start our hiking tour on the Bright Angel Trail, one of the trails that lead into the canyon. A distance of 19,6 km with a difference in height of 974 m was waiting for us. So early it was still quite chilly and we could stand long clothes well in the beginning. We managed the descent to the Plateau Point in 2½ hours. It seemed that we were the first ones there that day. The views of the canyon were gigantic there. In that idyll and quietness directly at the Plateau Point we had an extensive breakfast.
After an hour break we tackled the ascent. In the meantime it had become quite hot (approx. 35°C). Step by step we conquered the wall of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We had to make many breaks on the way up. The water, which we had with us, just ran down our throats. Now we met more people on the trail than in the morning as well as led mule tours which always spread an enormous dust cloud. Bit for bit we struggled the way up. Our legs became heavier and heavier and hardly wanted to carry us. Fortunately now and then the sun hid behind a few clouds. Otherwise we would have needed more than 3¾ hours in that heat for the ascent. Just before the end of our hiking tour we were lucky to see a condor. He sat quite calmly on a rock at the way and didn´t let us disturb him by watching him. Having arrived at the top of the South Rim, we followed the call of our motorhome and the showers.
After we had gotten rid of the dust of the Grand Canyon, we drove to the dump station for the first time. Here we noticed that the display of the waste water tank did not work correctly because after emptying it still indicated "full". In the evening we grilled delicious steaks. For the finish of the day we drove to the visitor center by shuttle and watched the sunset from Mather Point. However, much was not to be seen because it had become very cloudy.
On Saturday, the 19th of May, we got up at 6 o´clock. A further sunrise had been unnecessary due to the clouds. At 7:30 a.m. we started and drove along the East Rim Drive out of the Grand Canyon NP. At the view points Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point and Desert View we made short photo or video stops.