Grand Canyon on a cloudy day
Arizona’s monsoon season can add an unpredictable element to tours, but usually ends up making them all the more gorgeous and memorable. That was the case with our visit to the Grand Canyon south rim last week. Since two thirds of the 9-person group had yet to personally experience the Canyon’s grandeur, our first stop at the rim didn’t yet afford them that experience. Instead, a “socked-in” Canyon greeted us with the eerie sight of cliffs fading away into dense fog. You felt that you could be standing at the edge of the world. We walked the rim trail around Mather Point, enjoying the enigmatic, shifting scenery, and then dashed back to the van when it began to rain.
Hoping for pleasant outlooks, we drove Desert View Drive eastward. There we were rewarded with a clearing canyon, sparkling and fresh from the moisture. The view from Desert View was shifting and terrific, with alternating cloud cover and shafting, vibrant sunlight. We all enjoyed the luminous panorama. The Painted Desert fed off to the east and the Colorado River meandered down from the north and then bent westward into the main Canyon. Then we saw Mary Colter’s ingeniously designed, inspired Watchtower.
Cameron Trading Post
Next came a delectable lunch and shopping stop at the 100-year-old Cameron Trading Post. The Post is a purveyor of delightful Native fare, hand-crafted jewelry, rugs, baskets, paintings, and a bewilderingly large inventory of souvenirs to satisfy even the most ravenous hunger for mementos.
After that, things started moving faster with more frequent stops for incredible views. Next we saw the Little Colorado River Gorge overlook followed by Lipan, Moran, GrandView, and Yaki points and headed back along Desert View Drive towards the Grand Canyon Village. We wound up at Bright Angel Lodge in perfect time to finish our day with an ice cream from the Fountain to enjoy on the rim in the late afternoon light. For a day that started out with cold, rain, fog, and little to see – it couldn’t have ended more perfectly!
Contributed by Grace Vaughan