Monday, September 2, 2013

Along the Edge

Wednesday was the last day of our stay at the Grand Canyon. Gosh, how sad. There are always more things to do than we accomplish, but I felt like we'd done pretty well. The only thing missing was a cool wildlife sighting. To be honest, the kids' favorite wildlife sighting was a pair of bald eagles. And they were very neat, perched in a tree...just an hour from home. Dangit. We saw a deer on the road as we came back fro our long downhill/uphill hike on Tuesday. But we've all seen lots of deer. It was pretty and all. We saw a kangaroo rat or two in the desert and a lot of pretty cool moths. But aside from a Kaibab squirrel in the campground, the Grand Canyon hadn't been a big animal-sighting experience.
photo courtesy of Wikipedia

So, we had pretty modest hopes when we set out on the Widforss Trail on Wednesday morning. I'd left this trail for the last day because it was a hike along the rim and relatively easy. After Tuesday's hike, maybe we all needed that. I would have loved to hike to the end of this trail. I'm sure there are some neat sunsets from there...but a 10-mile hike was out of the kids' range that day, for sure. Instead, we kept it to the 5-mile round trip on the nature trail.
This hike had lots of meadow-y areas full of wildflowers. And a lovely view of the Transept Canyon, that changed very little as we walked.
Turns out that Smunch was the wildlife spotter on this trip. Not only was he the one who spotted the bald eagles, but he saw this guy too:
I would have missed him. And that would have been a bummer. He was a very willing photo subject, this Mountain Short-horned Lizard. Cool.
After an hour or so, we passed the last marker on the nature trail and sat down at a rocky outcropping for a snack before heading back. I also tried to take a little timer photo of the three of us. Guess I should have tried to take it a little closer up!
And, naturally, in line with the grace I'd exhibited so far, I banged a knee on a rock as I tried to zip over to join the kids. It caused a great big bruise that was a nice addition to my still-painful impaled shin.

After a nice long rest at the outcropping, we headed back up the trail.
I had big plans for the cream and showers! There's nothing quite like the first shower after (or even during) a camping trip. I might not have bothered with the showers, but we had dinner reservations at the Grand Canyon Lodge and I thought they might appreiciate it if we didn't stink. That was probably good thinking since we also left a tad late for our reservations and then found the entire parking lot packed. We had to park down the road and walk the half mile the Lodge as fast as we could. They'd already written us off, but we had no problem getting a nice table. We cleaned up pretty well, I think.
It was fun to treat ourselves to a dinner with a great view, even if the food was nothing spectacular.
I even treated the kids to dessert, which I oh-so-generously mooched off them. Dinner took a little longer than I'd thought, so the sun started setting while we were still waiting for dessert. I had the kids take the cameras outside and take some more pretty pictures...pretty pictures that are nearly indistinguishable from many of the other pretty pictures we took from the lodge.

As soon as we paid the bill, we wandered back out to Bright Angel Point for the rest of the sunset. Mam took off to go climb rocks and I missed much of the sunset while trying to find her, but eventually, we all reconnected...
you know, after they figured out how to get down!

It would have been nice to stay at the lodge longer, but not anticipating trouble parking, we had no flashlight (actually, I think we did, but I didn't think it worked!) to use to get back to the mommymobile, way up the road. We walked back as fast as we could and it was still very near dark when we arrived.

And then we set about packing up, so we could leave first thing in the morning...

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