Saturday, March 8, 2014

Riding the Train and Seeing the South Rim

Today was our train ride from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We were up at 7:00am so that we could get ready and bring our luggage down to the lobby so that they could load it on the train. After dropping off the luggage we headed to the Grand Depot Cafe for some breakfast and then we made our way to the depot to wait to board the train. There was a wild west shootout show but we didn't go and watch it, instead we walked around and took a few pictures. Then we lined up to board our car - we rode in the Kokopelli Observation Dome Car. You sit a little higher and have great views. Once on board we got settled and in no time the train left the depot headed for the Grand Canyon. While on board they had snacks and drinks available for us and we had a singer come and entertain us. His name was Calvin Kristoffersen and I really enjoyed listening to him. I even ended up buying one of his CD's. The train ride was a little over two hours and when we arrived at the Grand Canyon we immediately boarded a bus for an hour and a half tour along Hermit Road. We didn't actually get very far down the road but we did make two stops - one at Hopi Point and one at Mohave Point. There are great views of the canyon at both of these areas. We had about 30 minutes at each stop. As we were heading out on the road we encountered a few elk - they are huge. The tour bus then dropped us off at Bright Angel Lodge. Here we did a little shopping and then went into the lounge and had a little light snack while we thought about what we wanted to do next. After eating we decided to walk along the Rim Trail for a short distance. We left Bright Angel Lodge and walked west. Our first stop was at Lookout Studio - here we walked out to the terrace for an absolutely great view of the canyon. We didn't stay out there long because it was a bit windy and cold, but we definitely loved the views. From here we went to Kolb Studio. At the Studio I got my National Park Passport Stamps first thing and then we looked around a bit before heading out again. Next we took a short walk down the Bright Angel Trail. We didn't go very far, just a little ways past the first tunnel and then turned around and went back to the Rim Trail. This time we walked east along the trail stopping at any view point we encountered. Then we went into El Tovar Lodge just to look around and see what it was all about. Next we crossed over to Verkamp's Visitor Center where I got more Passport Stamps and we looked around the gift shop.

By this time we were ready to call it a day and decided to head to the hotel. We followed the Rim Trail back to the newly renovated Bright Angel Trailhead (here are pictures of the trailhead renovation and here is an article about the renovation) and then walked down Village Loop Drive to the Maswik Lodge. We got checked in and walked to find our room which was in a separate building from the registration desk. Thankfully it was still light outside because we had a little trouble finding the building and I am not sure we could have found it if it was dark. After getting settled in and relaxing for a few minutes we headed back to the main building to get something to eat. The eating area is like a food court. They have different sections with different types of food and they have a separate pizza pub. After eating we returned to the room to get some rest.

We had a great day on the train and walking the rim around the Grand Canyon Village. Now it is time to sleep as we have another full day tomorrow.

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