Return to the Red Rocks. Day 14: Walking in a winter wonderland.

(Grand Canyon, Arizona)

7 December 2022

Snow had been forecast, so the first thing I did was look out of the window….SNOW!!!

After I calmed down, which was after I’d run for my phone, taken a photo and thrust it in front of Andrew’s only half open eyes, I made coffee and opened the curtain so that I could watch the falling snow from the warmth of my bed.

We layered up and went for breakfast. Andrew then showered while I went to watch the train go past. It’s loud from the room. It’s

extremely loud when you’re six feet away!

With that excitement over, we relaxed for a bit and then decided to walk the Greenway over to the market plaza, which was something we both wanted to do if it snowed. However, we went by the rim first, to look at the view. Andrew handily pointed out the canyon, for anyone in doubt.

We passed by the Bright Angel cabins and lodge, before heading towards the El Tovar hotel and the Hopi House. There was a bit of tv filming going on at the rim. I’m hoping they were doing a weather feature, because they weren’t getting much of a view of the canyon.

Then we walked down to join the Greenway trail, and followed its snowy path through the faintly vanilla scented ponderosa pine trees.

We heard, and then spotted, some type of woodpecker along the way. It might be a northern flicker, but I’m not yet certain…research welcome!

After dodging branches loaded with snow, we arrived at the general store and bought hot chocolates to drink, which we did whilst watching the world come and go.

On our way back we noticed that the path has been ploughed since our outbound walk, although it was already covered with fresh snow fall.

We went past the mule stables, and then spotted the deer grazing, before getting back to the rim to see if there was a view yet. There wasn’t.

So, we went back to the room for snacks and a cup of tea. Of course, as soon as I’d made tea, the sun came out!

Nevertheless, it was very cold out. The clearing sky meant the temperature was dropping, so we waited until it was time for sunset and then headed back to the rim. On the way there, we cut through the woods and met a couple of elk, also looking for dinner, coming the other way. We waited for them to get settled at a tree, which apparently had tasty branches.

Then we were at the rim and, hurrah! There was a great view. We ambled along, taking pictures and freezing our fingers in the process.

Then we went for our last-night-at-the-canyon meal at the Bright Angel. Although they’ve changed the restaurant and it now serves mainly burgers, it is still a more relaxed and better experience than the cafeteria. We had a lovely meal and then started the mini expedition back to our room. It wasn’t far, but the paths, which had been cleared but had stayed wet, were now frozen and slippy. We tried as far as possible to walk on the landscaped and snowy areas, as this gave much better traction. We looked at the Moon and Mars coming close to occultation. This full moon is rather appropriately called the Cold Moon.

It was definitely cold, and I didn’t fancy the icy walk back to the rim, and the potential for slipping over, but I did eventually drag myself out onto our balcony…as ever, they need proper editing at home, but you’ll get the idea! The moon was too bright to photograph with the camera lens I have with me, but it lit up the snow, and the clouds were speeding past the stars. And that brings our days in Grand Canyon to a close. Tomorrow, we drive to Las Vegas.

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