THE NIGHT HALT : GRAND CANYON
We were on our Road trip across US – west coast, the second leg of which started from Las Vegas that morning. Our destination for the night was Jacob Lake Inn – one of the prettiest motels I had ever seen. It truly was a sight in itself. It had its own restaurant, curio shop and even an adjoining gas station.
The motel has 39 rooms and room rates fluctuate between 52 to 90 USD. Wished we could have stayed there for a few more days. In the splendid ambience of the restaurant, decorated with Hopi and Navajo Indian curios and knickknacks, our evening dinner turned out to be a joyous event. We chitchatted through the evening with us being the last customers to leave. Our young ,handsome and polite attendant had to hover around us for a long time to make us realize that!!
The next morning after a quick shower and then a heavy breakfast of bread, sausages, bacon and danishes,we packed our stuff back into the car. The weather felt a wee bit chilly early in the morning but it made us feel refreshed and energized .The drive to the Grand Canyon – North Rim became scenic in minutes. The horizon grew wider, the space engulfing as we approached the North rim of the grand canyon.
All of this expanse ,in fact, is just a natural continuation of the same geological formations which created the Grand Canyon. Leaving from Las Vegas en route to Grand Canyon you pass many National parks like Zion National Park, Vermillion Cliffs, Bryce Canyon ,Escalante Staircase ,Kaibab National Park ,Antelope Canyon etc.-all magnificent in their own way and also sisters to Grand Canyon, but nothing beats the resplendence of this great Canyon. It is considered one of the greatest landmarks on earth.
What doesn’t it consist of ? Evergreen forests, colorful deserts, ravenous canyons, mesas and plateaus, , the Colorado River, streams and waterfalls that never dry up ,all combining together to form the great Grand Canyon.
It is a study of geological history , a study of a variety of eco-systems, a study of diverse plant and animal life as well as marine life…yes marine life…. a study of archeology and even of human endurance .
THE FOUR FACES of GRAND CANYON:
There are four major rims with their own viewpoints, from which you can view the Canyon- the North ,South ,East and West Rims. Those who have ample time in their hands can visit all these points .All four have their own unique features.
The West Rim is famous for its Skywalk –a glass bridge jutting out on the canyon’s edge ; Eagle Point ,a native American village ; Guano Point where you get a 360 degree view of the Canyon; Havasu Canyon with its three world-famous blue-green waterfalls; various helicopter rides and a combination helicopter boat trip which combines a flight through the canyon and lands on the canyon floor followed by a pontoon boat on the Colorado River-all interesting but touristy. Not our cup of tea!
The East Rim isn’t exactly a rim but more of a scenic drive which leads to the eastern entrance of the South Rim. It is famous for the Horseshoe Bend where you can have your photo taken from the Rim with the Colorado River in the background and most people visiting neighboring Page can see all it has to offer. In fact we had gone to Page the very next day ,had a chance to visit the Upper Antelope Canyon but missed out on the Lower Antelope Canyon and the Horse Shoe Bend due to time constrictions.
The vast majority of tourists visit the South Rim of the Canyon.But we were keen on visiting both the North and South Rims though at that time we hardly understood the difference between the two. To me Grand Canyon was Grand Canyon be it north, south, east or west! Only after experiencing both could we understand the distinction.
Before meeting Dad and Rhonda at Vegas we had driven all the way from San Fransisco to Yosemite and then again from Los Angeles to Las Vegas so we were pretty comfortable with driving. Along the way there was no dearth of amenities-petrol pumps(gas stations),food joints etc. but this stretch was utterly desolate with nothing available within miles and it was a Navajo Indian Reserve so you had to be extra careful about following rules.The native indigenous people are proud of their land treating it with great respect and thus expect the same from tourists.