Hermits Road- The Grand Canyon, South Rim, Arizona

grandcanyon overlooks, south rim Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon the grand canyon, south rim, at sunrise Ms Fables at the grand canyon, south rim Empty at sunrise, grand canyon

“And the still and the quiet almost took my breath away, though I guess the altitude claimed that first” 

We made it up to Hermits Road and the first overlook just a little after actual sunrise, but just in time to miss the busload of people finishing up their Sunrise Tour, so my inability to roll out of bed on time actually paid off greatly. The Grand Canyon at the beginning of March is apparently a popular time- if the day before was any indication- but that Monday morning, most if not all of the overlooks were either empty of people or near enough that we could really take in the expansive vistas and just watch the changing light patterns over the formations.

( There was debate about stopping in at the Geology Museum near the visitors center but we decided against it, which probably ended up being a good thing because the next few days where just chock-full of geological marvels and I think it’s better that I didn’t get my fill of looking at “rocks” on the first stop. Indeed, I ended up buying a really overpriced geology book a couple of days later at a gift shop in Bryce Canyon that I think i’m probably gonna treasure forever, so, no regrets about missing that.  )

The Grand Canyon was left behind in our rearview mirror sometime around 9 in the morning, after we stopped for breakfast in one of the cafeteria style restaurants in the Village, and we left by the East Rim exit, stopping at one last overlook on our way out to formally say goodbye. We headed north towards Zion and I remember looking back and wondering if we would ever come back one day and even now I can’t honestly say if I will….i’d love to see the North Rim, but… I almost feel like coming back later would ruin this first and only experience.

~m

The Colors In The Rocks- The Grand Canyon,East Rim, Arizona

east rim, Grand Canyon view East Rim, afternoon light deep in the valley of stone, Grand Canyon East Rim the sky above the stone, east rim M watches the sunlight fade at the east rim, Grand Canyon

We left Texas at 5 in the morning on a slightly chilly Saturday.
Or well, me and the boyfriend left our house in North Texas at 5 in the morning and about 6 hours later we finally passed into The Land of Enchantment (also know more casually as New Mexico) because it takes what feels like an age and a day to just get out of Texas. Our goal was to make the 15+ hour drive in one day and arrive at the Grand Canyon by nightfall, ready to wake up bright and early and go trekking about.

We’d done more arduous drives before (aka that one time I convinced the boyfriend to do a roadtrip through 7 states in 3 days, something that to this day I don’t think he’s quite forgiven me for) and as long I had caffeine, I could drive for as long as needed. I was also pretty excited just to be away from work and the stress building there, plus i’d been sorely neglecting my podcasts listening habits and was eager to have hours of uninterrupted time to really delve into some new shows people had been raving about. There were 3 shows I especially wanted to listen to, Wolf 395, Limetown and The Black Tapes I had already gotten hooked on Limetown and convinced the bf to listen to the first two episodes with me again, after which he was reeled in too, and we listened to it well into our drive through New Mexico. Wolf 395 proved to be a major thumbs down for us after just the first episode, but then came the Black Tapes , which we started listening to as the sun began it’s downward decent in Arizona. It’s a very freaky and at time deeply disturbing show (though somehow still lightly humorous and engaging?) and perhaps it wasn’t the best pick for driving into the night but it kept us awake for that last leg of the drive and when the bright lights and suburban sprawl of Flagstaff came into sight, we knew we were almost there.

We arrived in the small not-actual-town of Tusayan, just outside of the South Rim entrance to the Grand Canyon just around 9:30 pm, about 16 hours after we’d left home and checked into our hotel to pass out for the night. I wish I could say we went with the  previous plan to wake up bright and early, but instead we slept in like kings and I ate Corn Nuts for breakfast while lazily planning out our next few days nestled in my beds quite comfy comforter. Finally, plans settled, maps purchased and ill-advised shoes laced up (more on that later), we headed out. The visitors center was packed, and we learned we had missed the cutoff dates for private cars in the park by only 2 days. If we had arrived later as we had originally been planning, only shuttle service would have been available on Hermit Road (the drive you take for almost all the scenic views on the South Rim) as road closure dates are March 1 through November 30. So, poor planning somehow worked in our favor and we got to drive around to our hearts content for the 2 days we were there. The North Rim however, which I had wanted to see and was planning on using most of the second day for, was closed, and is closed every year until May 15th. I would have liked to see a less developed part of the Grand Canyon, but more on that later.

The views were amazing all over Hermit Road on the south rim, but we headed to the east rim to check out the Watchtower and wait for the sun to start heading down so I could get better light. I’ve read the best place to watch the sunset over the Grand Canyon is over on almost any overlook on Hermits road, but I am a contrary kind of person and besides, I think I got a rather spectacular view of the way the light fades into the stones and rocky foundations on the canyon, even if I was on the East Rim. To tell you the truth, both me and the bf agree that while the drive is longer on the east rim, the views (and the crowds) are much better than on the south rim. And if your head is going in circles with all this talk of “rims” basically:

South Rim– Hermits Road, huge visitors center, Grand Canyon Village, loads of crowds and cars
East Rim– Watchtower and desert views, less crowds
North Rim– Underdeveloped compared to the above, closed half the year, a real pain in the butt to get to

After we watched most of the light fade, we headed back into town for pizza and an early night in,with solid plans this time to wake up early this time, so we could catch the sunrise on Hermits Road.

~m

The Watchtower- The Grand Canyon, East Rim, Arizona

from a distance, the Watchtower, east rim , Arizona grandcanyond

A more comprehensive post will follow on how exactly I got to the Grand Canyon from Texas, tips on where to stay and how to get here as well as how to get around, the best places to see and what you can probably skip but, for now…. I will just post these. 

the watchtower, grand canyon the watchtower, Grand Canyon East Rim

Eastrim, Grand Canyon at midday
looking towards the desert flats, East Rim Grand Canyon
The Watchtower at the EastRim
from the look outs, The Watchtower

This was the first magnificent (though not the first overall) view I got of the Grand Canyon and I sat on a bench near the edge for what felt like ages but was probably closer to 20 minutes, just gazing into the immensity. It felt like I could have sat there and looked for years and still have had some detail to observe, some shifting of the light that would illuminate a surface or ravine previously unseen. It was grand, in all the sense of the word. 

~m

On the Road- A Fury Of Color In the Southwest

Driving Through Arizona

No Art Journal Monday today folks.

I’m on the road and I wasn’t organized enough to get my shit together before I left to have one queued up ready to go. And if that isn’t the theme pretty much everytime I head out on the road, I’m not sure what is. Things like having an itinerary and even just knowing exactly where i’m headed are things I always leave till last minute but….I kinda get addicted to the feeling of throwing things at the wall and seeing something new and unexpected take shape.

The loose plan is currently (over several days obviously cause i’m not totally insane):
Texas —> Grand Canyon —> Zion National Park —> Bryce Canyon —> Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument–> Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park—> Four Corner Monument—> Santa Fe —> Texas

Rest Stop Poetry

the Grand Canyon, March weather

The drive out of Texas into New Mexico is one i’ve done before but this time the colors seemed to just burn even before I had left the flat lands of east Texas. At the first rest stop in New Mexico me and the boyfriend found words and lyrics (Car Radio- Twenty One Pilots) scribbled onto the red faux-adobe walls of the picnic seating area and as the sun set over Arizona as we neared Flagstaff, the sky just burst into cotton candy splendor that felt like the best kind of welcome.

Will be leaving the Grand Canyon sometime tomorrow to head towards Zion and i’m just extremely excited to explore all these new lands i’ve never been to before. I’ve been favored with clear skies, crisp winds and brilliant sunshine and i’m not gonna waste one second of it.

~m

P.s Yes all these photos were taken with my iPhone but I promise the rest are actually being shot with my camera in RAW and JPEG format so…idk, better photos to come.