Canyons 2015: it’s SNOWING!!!

As we didn’t have to be up for breakfast we reset our alarms for 7.30am instead of 7…such luxury! Once awake, I couldn’t wait too long before getting up and looking out of the window to check on the weather. It’s SNOWING!!! In other words, the forecast was right! 

I made coffee and we opened the curtains to look at the snow while we thought about getting up.

There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. We have lots of clothes with us and we put most of them on. We were eventually ready and set off at about 9.30am. Andrew decided he didn’t need sunglasses. We walked 100 yards. Andrew decided he needed his sunglasses…to keep the snow out of his eyes! We walked back and then started again. Rather than wait for a shuttle bus we walked the Greenway trail the mile or so to the main village and headed for the rim by the El Tovar hotel. 

We had thought of hiking the rim and then getting a shuttle bus back, but we overheard guests saying that they had stopped running all shuttles due to the weather. Good job we heard about that before ending up 8 miles out with no shuttle back. We walked along the rim to the Bright Angel Lodge. There isn’t much canyon to see at the moment but I’m still a little bit excited….

The ice cream and soda shop was shut (masters of understatement!) so we popped into the lounge bar for a hot chocolate.

Suitably warmed up, after a brief look around the history room at the lodge which has artifacts from the early days of tourism, we set off along the rim trail. Occasionally you almost got a view…

 Our great tracking skills suggested that 4 other people had gone this way. But there weren’t any return tracks… So whilst we were not the only people who decided to do this it wasn’t exactly crowded out there. We even had Powell Point entirely to ourselves. The view across to North Rim wasn’t quite what it might be…

 We turned around and headed back towards the village. It got really busy at one point when three other people and us converged at the same point momentarily. 

Back in the village we finished our walk at Maswick Lodge and went to the cafe for hot pasta for lunch. And coffee. And another coffee. 

We pulled ourselves away from the warmth and comfort and, bravely, decided to take the longer route back. We returned to the rim at Bright Angel and were rewarded with a brief but glorious glimpse of the canyon! Woohoo!

Our route continued for a couple of miles along the rim, in wind and snow. We stopped briefly in the Yavapai geology museum to thaw out and look at the exhibits. We eventually got too warm (dressed as we were for outdoor, arctic conditions) so we continued on. Again, the canyon started to brighten up and we got some tantalising views of the inner canyon, with the sun somehow finding its way through. 

It was getting colder though so we left the rim at Mather Point and walked back towards Market Plaza via the visitor centre. It appears bike hire is now a year-round operation, but I wasn’t going to be tempted today!

The path wound its way back through the forest to the general store where, after 10.5 miles of hiking, we purchased (well earned) beer and chocolate chip cookies. Holiday nutrition at its best!

We got back just half an hour before dark. It is still snowing. The weather app says it is -3C and feels like -8C. We won’t be going far for dinner tonight, just to the Tavern in the main lodge building. Hopefully tomorrow the sun will shine again and the rim and the canyon will be dazzlingly beautiful…

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