This morning, we checked out early and began our drive to the other side of the canyon. As the crow flies, it was a mere 11 miles, but to drive around involved a trip of 220!
We couldn’t resist one last look from this side, though – from Lipan Point, where we were lucky enough to be the only visitors. For a short ten minutes or so, we had the whole of the Grand Canyon to ourselves – we stood quietly and absorbed the magnificent view which lay before us, reaching the conclusion that to appreciate such places, really, one needs to have peace, quiet and a little bit of space in which to contemplate.
But of course, with those two hundred and odd miles to go, one of us was getting restless. We bid farewell to this side and set off around the corner and along the other side.
In the space of the next few hours, we experienced yet more stunning landscapes with the scenery changing character around every corner. For instance, we kept coming across these little canyons – clefts in the earth which were just there in the ground to the side of the road. Had we but known what interesting things lay in store for us on this particular journey, we’d have approached it in an altogether different way, because to be honest about it, we weren’t particularly looking forward to driving so far to end up so near.
We made a stop in Cameron, about the only place on our journey where we might find a snack of some kind but though we could have purchased any kind of Native American art, snacks seemed to be out of the question.
Never mind, we weren’t hungry, really.
It wasn’t only the landscape that was changing, either. The weather was so fickle today – 103F in the shade one minute, 55F in a rainstorm the next – oh, and 89F in between.
The sky was changing character as fast as the scenery and we were loving every minute.
As always, I have way too many photographs to share, but here are a few highlights…
Strangely shaped hills which have been eroded, forming greyish green mounds at the foot of the cliff faces.
Those clear layers of rocks, which stretch for miles in perfectly straight lines.
The sudden sight of two buttes, appearing out of nowhere as we turn a corner and looking remarkably like two castle gates.
Two remarkable bridges over the Colorado River, because of course, to get from one side of the canyon to the other involves crossing the river. One is for pedestrians only (on the left), the other for traffic.
Way down below, a fairly large raft taking about 25 tourists from Lake Powell downstream towards the canyon.
Over the bridge, the Vermilion cliffs, which looked rather more that colour in real life than they do in my photograph.
The wide open road, through flat countryside with little in sight but the car in front.
The burned remains of a conifer wood, just outside the National Park.
The wonderful sight of the canyon again, this time from the North Rim.
Changing light patterns as we sat with a cold Hefeweizen as the sun began to set.
Oh go on then just one more photograph.
And another, as the sun sinks in the sky and the shadows deepen.
Whilst those around us refuel on pizza and some kind of potnoodle, we decide it’s time to move along to the restaurant, where dinner will taste so much better sitting at a table and eaten with a knife and fork!
The end of another great day here in Arizona, with more stories to tell and hundreds of photographs on our SD cards, even if the best ones are in our heads, as ever.