Sunday, April 24, 2016

Grand Canyon National Park - Stop 3 in our Trek North to Alaska

We arrived at Trailer Village RV Park in Grand Canyon National Park right before noon on Thursday.  And what a welcome we received!  This “greeter” was grazing right near our campsite!
This is a very nice park with full hookups and spacious sites, including some pull-thrus like ours.  But apparently it is not easy to get reservations here—many folks we spoke with said they tried to book sites but were unsuccessful.  So if you ever want to stay at Trailer Village, make your reservations at least 6 months in advance like we did.  To top it off, this is the Centennial Anniversary for the National Park Service, giving free admission to National Parks all week long.  I don’t have to tell you the entire park is packed.
Even though we visited the Grand Canyon many years ago, I have no recollection of its cool “village” complex, complete with post office, general store, bank, historical lodges, train depot, and restaurants, with a free shuttle to transport visitors between all these places.   I was relieved to learn I was not losing my mind.  Our last visit was strictly to the North Rim—we never made it to this side!
After setting up, we jumped right into “tourist” mode, heading to the Visitor Center to plan our activities, take in the exhibits and enjoy the introductory film.
We even attended a ranger program called, “This Place Matters”, which I found fascinating.  I learned at the turn of the 20th century, the Santa Fe Railroad really developed the Canyon village place, not the U.S. Government.  And they did it with the help of Fred Harvey, a restaurateur/hotelier credited for starting the first restaurant chain in the U.S. (Harvey House), right along the railroad route.  His female workers, known as “Harvey Girls” were recruited as servers from throughout the nation.  These women, with their upstanding work ethics and moral values, brought prestige and respectability to the food service trade.
I admired the architecture of the village buildings, which blend in perfectly with the natural beauty of the Canyon.    Most of the interiors reflected the culture and heritage of the Native Americans and their ancestors who inhabited these lands for centuries.  My favorites were Hopi House and Desert Tower.

Hopi House


Desert Tower

Interestingly, a woman named Mary Colter designed both these buildings as well as several others.  What an accomplishment for a woman in the early 20th century, when it was very much “a man’s world”.  You go girl!
There were a few entrepreneurs who remained independent of the Santa Fe Railroad, most notably Kolb Studio, which took photographs of approximately 3.5 million visitors during its years of operation from 1902-1976, and Vercamp’s Store, which celebrated 100 years of business before it was purchased by the National Park Service in 2008 to become another Visitor Center.

Kolb Studio

We awoke by 3:45 a.m. on Friday to watch the sunrise from Trailview Overlook, then spent the day hiking about half of the nearly 13-mile Rim Trail.  Words don’t adequately express the magnitude of awe-inspiring beauty and wonder.

Sunrise from Trailview Overlook

What a spectacular, majestic panorama, from the vibrant multi-colored rock formations to the mighty aqua marine colored Colorado River!   


On Saturday, we did the 22-mile drive to the scenic points not covered by the Shuttle system.  Did you know that the Canyon was used/inhabited by people as much as 15,000 years ago!  Truly fascinating.  Later, we had a wonderful dinner at El Tovar Restaurant, with a table that looked out over the Canyon.  Our only complaint was that they did not offer bison on Saturday night’s menu—they had it on Friday, but ran out early in the evening!
On Sunday we got out our hiking sticks and headed down the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point, about a mile down into the Canyon.  I’m convinced its name is reflective of the comments people make when they see the breathtaking view from this point (similar to the sounds we all make when viewing fireworks!).  We then hiked the balance of the Rim Trail, giving us a total of 5.7 miles.  Whew, PoPo is pooped!

Rambling RV Rat at Ooh Aah Point


Ooh Aah Point

I know you won’t hear this from me often (or from anyone else for that matter), but I extend kudos to the U.S. government on tax dollars well spent maintaining Grand Canyon National Park.
Tomorrow we leave the grandeur of the Canyon and depart the great state of Arizona.  Our next stop will be Zion National Park in Utah, which will include a visit from my Aunt Laurie!  Talk to you soon!



  1. Missed you by a day, we left the day before you arrived, loved waking up and seeing the RV surrounded by elk in the morning.

  2. It's hard to comprehend the vastness and depth when standing on the rim or flying over this gem.
    Safe travels!