Friday, September 19
Grand Canyon Trip: Day Two
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
This morning we were up early to pack and check out before breakfast. After some bacon, eggs, and biscuits it was just about time for the "Wild West Show" before boarding the train. The show consisted of three or four performers dressed like cowboys and armed with cap guns who put on a little fifteen minute comedy skit about a poker game gone awry. It was very tourist kitch, but the crowd (mostly senior citizens) got a few belly laughs out of it. Once the entertainment was concluded, it was time to board the train.
We had sprung for first-class, so we were in one of the luxury cars near the end of the train. The seating was comfy and spacious and there was fruit, pastries, coffee, and soda. Our seats were also right in front of the bar, which opened shortly after we departed the train depot. Needless to say, we were set for a pretty comfortable two hour and fifteen minute ride to the canyon. Until I was on the train, I wasn't sure what its route actually was--the description of the route said the train skirted the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. But once we were aboard, it was clear the route started out sixty-five miles from the canyon and headed for the south rim. I caught only the briefest glimpse of the canyon through the trees as we pulled into the Grand Canyon depot. The scenery throughout the ride was still beautiful, though.
The Grand Canyon depot, open since 1901, is the oldest log-constructed depot still in use. As soon as we arrived we boarded one of the many shuttle buses that help people get around the park for a tour of the south rim. My first look at the canyon was from Yavapai Point. Like anyone else I'd heard admiring descriptions of the Grand Canyon, but as soon as I saw it I knew no words or pictures could hope to communicate the reality of seeing it. The feeling of awe, wonder, and ultimate insignificance in that first moment seeing the canyon will always be my favorite moment of the trip. What was before me seemed so vast, I had to remind myself I was only looking at one vista of a geologic feature that extends 277 miles.
By the time we had finished our time along the south rim the day was nearly over. We had a restful late afternoon at the Maswik Lodge (where we're staying) and later dinner at the El Tovar restaurant. Tomorrow we'll have most of our day to explore the park before we catch our train back to Williams.
Posted by Amber at 10:18 PM