Saturday, 6 August 2005. Grand
We left for the Grand Canyon about 9 am taking Route US180 north. A very nice
ride up to the canyon, reaching an elevation of 8046 ft., mostly through
the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests and the smell of aromatic
Ponderosa pine. To the right (east) was the
12,600 ft Humphreys Peak (the highest point in Arizona), part of
San Francisco Mountain. Then on to the high Colorado Plateau of
There was considerable backup of traffic at this south
entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. The entrance fee was $10.
I suspect that normally there is less traffic at the east entrance which
was our exit route.
Canyon magnificent —. exceeding my
expectations. Mike warned me that pictures would not tell the story,
and he was right. As with most visitors who enter the park from the south
entrance, we parked at Mather Point. We then hiked along the rim
trail for about 3 miles to Grand
After resting for a bit on the porch of the historic
El Tovar Hotel, Mike said he knew a short cut back to the bikes.
I don't know why I believed him — we could
have just retraced our tracks — but a death
we finally found ourselves back at Mather Point! Mike claimed he always knew where we were and that
I exaggerate. And to give Mike credit, when I looked at a Park map
later the route he seems to have taken back was certainly no longer, and
probably shorter than the rim trail.
We returned east on State Route 64 along the southern canyon rim to Cameron, and then
south on US 89 back to Flagstaff. Very different terrain than the
morning's ride. Passed through a corner of Navajo
Along the east side of US 89 was a canyon in an otherwise flat plain --
probably the little Colorado River. Mike was in the lead, and he's
not much for photo-op stopping. He complained that I dropped too far
back. But it was enjoying the scene.
A little shower after we got back to our hotel. I fell asleep, and we
didn't get out to dinner until after 8 p.m. Surprisingly, there weren't
all that many places open, at least in the old downtown area. But we
found a fairly decent meal at the old