There are several tour companies that do the Grand Canyon Tour like Grayline, Papillon, allvegas tours and more. But I picked the Showtime Tours. The Grand Canyon is a very colorful, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado River in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is largely contained within the Grand Canyon National Park — one of the first national parks in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of conservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery. The canyon, created by the Colorado River over about 6 million years, is 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6.4 to 24 kilometers), and attains a depth of more than a mile (1.6 km).
The tour starts when Showtime tour bus pick you up the hotel and drops you off to their main depot for the different tours. Grand Canyon tour takes you to the South Rim in Tusayan, Arizona and takes a 5 hour road trip into Hoover Dam, Mojave Desert and Stops at Williams and Kingman Arizona and the tour will take 14 hours. A South Rim Tour Cost $160 including lunch.
There is NO wifi at the campgrounds. Things are a little rustic up here. Free wifi is also available inside the courtyard at the Parks HQ. There is an internet kiosk inside the Camper Services building by Mather Campground & Trailer Village. Not wifi, but you can do email along with your laundry.
Cell phone coverage is not so good. Only Alltel & Verizon sort of work. AT&T in a few places. All the rest, well....
There is tons of information on the Grand Canyon but it is still impossible to describe. One of the phrases I like is one I read that says the Paiute Tribe calls it Kaibab or 'Mountain Lying Down." It is indeed on that scale, being over 275 miles long, about a mile deep and about 10 miles across. I used to wonder how wide the Colorado River must have been to cut such a wide chasm. However, one of the rangers explained that it was the river cutting down then wind, rain and ice causing the sides to collapse and this cycle repeating itself that created the canyon.
DON'T LEAVE ANYTHING, DON'T TAKE ANYTHING.
While not pristine, Grand Canyon Village is remarkably free of litter. Most visitors seem to realize the importance of not leaving trash which is not only an eyesore but in some cases may pose a danger to wildlife. I hope no one is tempted to take even a small stone with them. This is prohibited in an effort to keep the resources in tact. The Fossil Ranger joked with us that at the exit we would be searched for any fossils or other material and hung if guilty. With almost 5 million visitors a year, preserving it is not a joking matter. One of the printed guides has a great quote from President Theodore Roosevelt who worked hard for protection of land as national parks:
'The ages have been at work on it (the Grand Canyon) and man can only mar it. What you can do is keep it for your children, your children's children, and for all who come after you...'
Fondest memory: One of the best things we did was the helicopter tour over and into the canyon. The views are breathtaking and you get a good look at the size, variety and scope of the canyon. The Colorado River just looks like a little stream from above.
Bobcats are shy and rarely blimpsed around the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, although they are common. Sometimes hikers catch a glimpse of them as they navigate the trails. We didn't see any on our treks.
Here's a little information about them: these cats are a medium size animal, growing to a length of 2-2 1/2 feet, weighing from 12-30 pounds and can be found in colors of orange to gray with black markings. It's 5 inch tail distinguishes it from other types of cats.
Bobcat prey tend to be cottontail rabbits, jack rabbits, pack rats, snakes and lizards. Sometimes young mammals of the larger animals. These cats mature in two years.
The Grand Canyon Squire Hotel in Tusayan, offered an interesting alternative to lunch at the hotel--box lunches. Your hotel might offer this, too!
As we were leaving the dining room after breakfast one morning, a notice was posted saying that box lunches could be ordered for take out through the hotel. It sounded like a great idea, since we had no idea how far we'd be traveling our first day or if we'd be near any of the park restaurants.
The box lunches were $7.95 each and contained our choice of turkey or ham sandwich, chips, celery and carrot strips with ranch dip, a granola bar, an apple with beverage. We carried them in the car with us on our drive along Desert View and settled down at some quiet picnic tables to eat.
As we climbed higher and higher into the mountains, they were dotted with these green giants which can reach 180 feet.
Ponderosa Pines can withstand elevations of 6,000-8,000 feet at the Colorado Plateau, where the Grand Canyon is located. Most of these are Rocky Mountain Ponderosa Pines.
At 6500 feet elevation, they can be found on the Kaibab Plateau and the top of the Mogollon Rim, often growing in stands covering tens of thousands of acres. Near Flagstaff and along the White Mountains is the largest ponderosa pine forest on the continent.
Thousands of years ago, only a mixed assortment of conifers grew only at the highest elevations. The change was caused by major climate changes at the end of the last major glacier period.
As we drove Rt.64, which stretched alongside the canyon, we caught two different groups of elk grazing beneath a canopy of trees.
It was late morning in one case and mid to late afternoon in the other. Apparently familiar with cars and people hanging cameras out of windows in order to take photos, these animals didn't even flinch as we paused on the side of the road.
Males grow to between 750-950 pounds. Elk eat all types of vegetation and drink water from lakes near their habitat. They DO NOT like storms and will travel out of the area to avoid them.
There are 60-70 condors living at the Grand Canyon. We were fortunate to see one lone condor drifiting on the air currents off a lookout along Hermit Road.
If you click on the opening photo, you'll see a black bird in the middle of the picture. This is the Condor. I was so flustered when my husband pointed it out, that I barely got the picture snapped. As you can see, it was taken at a distance.
Our sighting was most likely of a male, because it had large white triangular white patches in the underside of his wings. Condors have the largest wingspan (9.1 feet) of any other N. American bird. They can weigh between 15 1/2 to 31 pounds.
They enjoy dining on carcuses of large, dead mammals.
At the visitor center a few hundred meters from Mather Point, there are two buildings with restrooms. The one closest to the book / souvernir shop and shuttle bus / tourist bus stop, was crowded, even at this time of the year. Looks like nobody had noticed the other one, at the end of the exhibit building. It was empty, no waiting in line for all the group travellers to finish :-)
Like everywhere else in the US there were these half walls and half doors, though. Very little privacy, makes me feel VERY uneasy :-( Good for me I was the only one in there!
Both restrooms were very clean and well stocked with paper and soap.
I went in early October 2006 and had a great time. The weather was perfect, warm and sunny but with a cool breeze, which is great when heading up or doing a more strenuous hike or walk. Also traffic was down and frankly, if that was low volume traffic (people and cars) I'd hate to have been there in the high season.
Fondest memory: Scenery of course.
Need I say more; it's even on the signs :
Arizona : The Grand Canyon State
I know there is much more to Arizona than just the Grand Canyon, but this about all I have seen of this State. I travelled from Las Vegas directly to the Grand Canyon. On the way over here, I took a short detour on a small part of route66. You can see more about that on my Flagstaff page. After the Grand Canyon I made a quick stop in Page. I didn't like that place at all, but I have to admit I didn't give it a chance either. I arrived in the late afternoon, and was out of there the next morning already. I was too much in a hurry to see the next amazing stop, Monument Valley (see my Monument Valley page).
Favorite thing: try and stay longer than I did! Originally I had planned to stay for a couple of nights, but there was some difficulty with my booking and I ended up just staying one. What I didn't realise was that we arrived late in the day, with about an hour to go before dark and left first thing in the morning. So, no time to go walking, which was a pity...
Favorite thing: stop for a film at IMAX and a high priced cheeseburger at McDonald's. If it's already getting dark, hope you'll get a room in one of the expensive lodges or else you've got sill a long way to go until you find another.
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