Friday, 6 February 2015

The Grand Canyon – Along the West Rim

On our second trip to the Grand Canyon we decided to take the shuttle bus and hike part of the West Rim Drive.
After parking at the visitor centre, we took the blue shuttle to the transfer station and then the red shuttle took us out along Hermits Rest Road.  
At one time it was possible to drive along the West Rim to Hermits Rest.   I think it may still be possible, at least for a couple of months in the depths of winter, but, these days unless you’ve got a permit, everyone takes the shuttle or walks.   
Hermit Road was originally built for horses and buggies between 1911 and 1913 at a cost of $250,000.  

We got off the bus at Monument Creek Vista and hiked the rest of the way, it’s not far.   The trail is part of a Greenway trail, so apart from a couple of sections it’s a paved, hiking/biking trail.   As we walked along the trail, we came across a couple of elk enjoying a gentle snooze under a shady tree.   They seemed to be quite happy, sleepily watching as the tourists oohed and ahhed as we took their photograph.   We weren’t quite sure who was watching who.

It goes without saying that the views were fabulous, in places the old trail is still clearly marked, although it’s much closer to the edge so it’s not somewhere you’d take kids or ride a bike.

Looking towards the Colorado River 

The Colorado River

Looking across to the North Rim.
Hermits Rest was designed and built by Mary Coulter, according to legend it referred to prospector Louis Boucher, but he was a popular canyon guide who operated his own tourist cabins, so who knows.

People used to feed the animals at Hermits Rest, this time no-one did.   Mind you, the huge signs warning of the possibility of catching bubonic plague in practically every language under the sun probably helped!

The huge well used, fireplace inside Hermits Rest.

As we walked along we could see smoke rising from the North Rim.   The smoke started out white,
and then turned black.   We were once told that if the smoke was white, the fire was under control, if it was black it wasn’t.   We never did find out what was happening.
We had yet another fabulous day at the Grand Canyon.
Have fun, we are!

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