Posted by William Ernest Waites, whose company operates tribal art web sites at Native-JewelryLink.com, Native-PotteryLink.com, ZuniLink.com and TribalWorks.com
Grand Tetons to Grand Canyon - Day Eight
The South Rim
We enjoyed coffee in the coffee shop while waiting for the Dining Room to open to open for breakfast. The Main Lodge Dining Room is a stunning room with soaring ceilings, white-clothed tables and windows overlooking the canyon.
When breakfast was finished, we pulled our car up as close as allowed to the cabin so it was easy get our bags into the trunk. At this point, the service of the baggage porter were not needed since we were leaving our parking spot anyway.
After checking out we headed out for the South Rim.
It is longer drive than it seems it should be to go from one side of the canyon to the other. Five hours of driving, which is testament to the immensity of the canyon.
Along the way we passed the Vermilion Cliffs, which are believed to be the nesting area for condors. None were seen by us, however.
The approach to the South Rim is more dramatic than approaching the North Rim
We crossed over the Colorado River and drove along the Little Colorado Canyon. As the name suggests, it is a sample of the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. The following photographs will give you a sense of the breath-taking aspects of the Grand Canyon as seen from the South Rim.We were booked into the Bright Angel Lodge.
Our requested cabin, with a view at the canyon's edge, was not yet ready when we arrived. So we boarded the free shuttle tram to ride to the west end of rim - Hermits Rest.
Once again, the free shuttle is a great bargain.
It also reduces private car congestion. The trams do get get crowed as they stop and gather riders on the way back to the lodges. Standing crowds of "strap-hangers" filled the buses eventually.
We also explored the vista from Kolb Studio and Lookout Studio, not far from the Bright Angel cabins. Looking down from there we could see a blue tarp and the white of the vehicle that had driven over edge. Sure enough. There it was!
When we returned to lodge we were checked into our cabin.It was beautifully situated so the windows overlooked the canyon. There was a queen bed and a roll-away bed had been added for Melissa. A fireplace was in one corner and there was a pair of easy chairs. The roll-away bed crowded the room so that getting to the easy chairs was anything but easy. But it was worth it to sink into the comfort of these chairs.
After settling in to the room, we applied our lunch/dinner strategy.
This got us into the Bright Angel Lodge dining room just at the end of lunch and before they closed until dinner. This strategy not only has us eating earlier so that we are not fighting a dinner crowd and not going to bed on full stomachs. It also allows us to order from the less expensive lunch menu.
Afterward, we strolled the walkway along the rim, including a visit to the famous El Tovar Lodge.
It is the granddaddy of Grand Canyon lodges.
It was the first lodge at the Grand Canyon, opened in 1905, and was designed in rustic style by Charles Whittlesey. It is believed to be the "model" for environmentally appropriate-styled buildings that were created elsewhere at the Grand Canyon and in other National Parks.
El Tovar was the flagship lodge for the Fred Harvey Company.
It eventually became an empire of hosting operations in restaurants, hotels, newsstands and Santa Fe Railway dining cars.
The company also spearheaded the collection and sale of Native American Indian made art and crafts at the Grand Canyon and along the Santa Fe Railway tracks.
We decided to have breakfast tomorrow at El Tovar, just for the experience.
Returning to our cabin, we sat and watched the colors change as the sun was setting.Then to bed.