|Sunset at Grand Canyon|
So why was the ranger's hiking advice bad? Basically, if someone asks them for hiking advice they assume that person has never hiked before, has just arrived at this altitude from sea level and that it is the middle of August. They have 5 million visitors a year and they have to rescue 250 of them, so they would like to reduce that statistic by encouraging everyone to 'look, don't touch'. They dissuaded us from going to Indian Gardens which would have been a good day hike for us, where we could have mooched around in the shade and taken our time. Instead they encouraged us into a poxy stroll along part of South Kaibab trail where you hardly even get into the canyon at all. In the end, my conclusion is, if you have to ask a ranger for hiking advice you shouldn't be hiking in the canyon! The National Parks are a bit ridiculous in what they choose to call day hikes at the best of times. I've noticed that if anything goes uphill at all, and if it's longer than 2 miles, they call it strenuous. I would call what I did strenuous, but not exhausting (see below).
|We were down there somewhere!|
|The Colorado River from the Watchtower|
We spent the afternoon doing laundry, having showers (at great expense) and cooking a nice dinner, so at least we made good use of our time after our 'half-day hike'. Mike even made a nice campfire out of bits of old firewood he collected from all the empty fire pits. This was good, because it is freezing cold here at night. Despite the vegetation looking Mediterranean, we are at 2000m above sea level in October!! It is not getting down to freezing point, but it is well below 10C.
We left Grand Canyon park slowly on Sunday, stopping to take lots of pictures. The most enjoyable thing was the surprise discovery of the watchtower at the end of the desert view drive. This is really an architectural folly, built just to amuse visitors to the canyon, but it is beautiful. It was designed with reference to south-western Indian watchtowers and is painted all over inside with Indian inspired murals.