Waiting for sunrise
Thursday- Tyler and I decided to get up just after 5 am in hopes of catching the sunrise over the Canyon. Dawn, never a morning person, decided to sleep in. "I'll look at the video later", she mumbled as she rolled over in her sleeping bag. Her loss! There was a chill in the morning air as we zipped up our tents and hopped in the truck. We headed over to the same overlook where we watched the lightning show the night before, thankful the sunrise hadn't started yet. There were several other people with the same idea on the various overlooks. We got our cameras ready and waited! I set the camcorder on a rock and started recording, and shortly after the first pinprick of light showed up on the horizon. We took several shots of the sun rising, and it was amazing to watch the canyon become flooded with light! The canyon walls changed color before our eyes, the drab pre-dawn colors washed away after being bathed in sunshine.
Here she comes!
This is truely an astonishing sight that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime! I was fortunate to be able to share this moment with my son, something I'm sure he will never forget. We got several shots of the sunrise, and each other, then a French couple offered to take a picture of both of us. For some reason, they declined our offer to take a photo of them! We hung around awhile, our bones starting to warm in the now fully-up sun, then we headed back to camp. Tyler went back to bed, I stayed up to get a breakfast fire started. The wood was a little damp from the previous nights drizzle, but I managed to get a fire going.
I sat in the camp chair awhile, tending the fire and watching ravens tear into a trash bag next to an RV, two sites down from us.
They can be loud! Dawn and Ty eventually got up, and we had a big breakfast of bacon, sausage and french toast, grilled over a campfire. Yum! After breakfast, we gave our scraps to the Ravens, who were all over the place. We cleaned and organized the truck, then packed up and headed out.
We stopped at the post office to mail a few post cards, then went to check out the visitor center. Then, it was down the rim to check out all the overlooks. Each stopping point seemed like it was a whole new canyon, they were all so different! We met another family doing a similer trip, a teacher with the summer off who was taking his kids to see most of the same places and parks we were, they were just doing it from the other direction.
The "penny mesa" notice the tilted rock in back
So, we each shared stories and gave advice about the places we had already been, and were going to see! We were at the overlook where I read that a man had fallen to his death, trying to recover pennies tossed out onto the mesa tops. People have a habit of throwing wish pennies out onto the mesas, just off the overlook fence, and over the years quite a few had built up. Some jackass decided he needed these pennies, and jumped over the fence onto the mesa to collect them. When he tried to jump back, he now had the weight of a large bag of change...he missed the jump and fell to his death. All for about $15 in coins! One of the mesa tops here was half off, on an angle..wasn't like that last time I was here, I wonder if the penny jerk broke it?
At another overlook, we saw a photographer climbing out onto a ledge where he wasn't supposed to be, to get "the perfect shot".
Great view inside the Canyon
His girlfriend fretted and worried about him the whole time, while he jumped ledge to ledge like a billy goat. I really half expected him to fall, but he made it back OK.
Tyler and I found a marked trail into the canyon, and hiked down it for awhile. Dawn stayed up because of her knee, she was happy with the overlooks. We didn't go too far down, we weren't prepared for a major trek, (you need LOTS of water to hike in the Canyon) but we just wanted to go far enough down so that we could say we hiked "in" the Grand Canyon, instead of just "around" it. Tyler found the word "Jump" scratched into the rock at a cliffs edge...hope nobody took that advice! It was a beautiful day to be walking around in the canyon, and the scenery was just terrific at every turn.
Native American Kiva ruins
We rejoined Dawn at the top, and made our way to the next stop.
We found a museum of the original Native American inhabitants here, and took a tour of the place. There was once a village here, and you could still see the outlines of houses and "Kivas", or prayer rooms. the foundations were stone , and there was an interpretive trail around them. We explored these ruins for awhile, and I saw a HUGE deer in the woods nearby, but he bounded off before I could get a photo.
At one of the last overlooks, just before the fire watchtower at the end of South Rim, we were treated to a show by an amusing, hyper 9 year old named Dylan. Clad in a shiney, silver-lamee shirt and tye-dye pants, Dylan was bouncing all over the rocks while his Dad tried to chase him down and keep him calm.
The Watch Tower
He thought the firetower was a "Buddhist Temple", and he tripped and fell and "rolled his ankle" His father told him "Don't take off your pants, just bleed in them! " as he tried to remove his drawers at the overlook to show how "injured" he was (he wasn't). You could tell Dad was more than a little exasperated dealing with his "wind-him-up-and-watch-him-go" son, but the kid was genuinely funny. (This is also why I waited till Tyler was 14, to take this trip!) His Dad said he deserved his "rolled" ankle, as punishment for "bouncing" all over the rocks. He would be known to us forever after as "The Bouncing Dylan!" and we would see them a few more times before the day was out.
We went over to the watchtower next, and of course Dylan and his Dad were there too.
The "Bouncing Dylan", and Dad!
We went up the different levels, looking at all the artwork on the walls inside. At the top, they had telescopic viewfinders to look into the canyon. We heard a "tattattattattattat" sound, and turned to see (who else) Dylan, pretending the viewfinder was a machine gun, shooting at invisible fighter planes in the canyon. There were great views in every direction, as the tower was situated in kind of a "corner" of the canyon, and you could see the Colorado river as it winded off into the distance. Dawn wrote in the Tower's guestbook, "We loved the views, and the bouncing Dylan!" hmm...let them figure that one out!
Since the Tower stop was the last overlook, we headed off to the nearby gift shp for awhile, collected our prerequisite souvenirs, and headed off to our next stop.
The Colorado River
..Page, Arizona, and Lake Powell!