We initially hiked along the South Rim, taking in the geologic wonder of it all. Also, pointing out cute dogs. Also, narrowly avoiding brushes with the aggressive, plague-carrying squirrels. Also, hoping that we weren't going to see a certain set of death-defying teenagers fall off a cliff.
Our first view.
Group photo courtesy of our new friend, Claudia the jewelry designer.
Me with messy hat-head.
Christine and Tim, valiant explorers.
We are expert tourists.
After a while, we hopped back into the car and drove 22 miles to the Desert View Watchtower on the extreme eastern end of the South Rim. (And yes, I did climb to the top of the watchtower, as I always climb to the tops of tall buildings when I'm touristing.) Our plan was to participate in what was described as a "Sunset Walk," but that wasn't quite accurate. First, Desert View is apparently the worst place to watch the sunset in the whole canyon--though I thought it was still extraordinarily beautiful. Second, it was not a walk at all, but rather a talk.
For 45 minutes, Ranger Rick (yes, that is his real name) told us the harrowing story of the efforts to save the California Condor. And when I say harrowing, I mean it. The four of us were entranced. Rick is a great storyteller, and by the end I was pretty much ready to donate half my savings to condor conservation efforts. We didn't see any condors--there are only about 70 in the park right now--but we did see lots of turkey vultures and ravens. Or as Tim would say, hawks. Because all birds are hawks.
I can't even with the Desert View landscape. I. Can't. Even.
I guess this is what hills look like if you cut them in half?
Same view, different colors.
On our way out of the park, we grabbed dinner at the Yipee-Ei-O! Steakhouse, a tourist trap in Tusayan. Decent food, though. Then it was just a long drive through the black night, lit only by millions of stars and the street lamps of the occasional town. Tim and I talked and talked and talked, and we made it safely back to Vegas at 2 a.m. this morning.
We are pretty good adventurers, if I do say so myself.