Continuing from where I left on Day 1: Grand Canyon | Hermits Rest | Pizza at Yavapai Lodge and More
The most entertaining, exciting and exhausting day of our trip has begun.
We started for Grand Canyon south rim at around 5:30 A.M. It was still dark. But you could see dawn break far in the sky indicating the sun would be rising soon.
By the time we reached the rim’s parking area, the sun had begun its ascent. Mather Point was closest to us, located a few minutes away from the visitor center.
We started for the point but had to stop before it. The point was crowded with people, so we chose a spot and stayed there until full sunrise.
Slowly and steadily the canyons shrouded in the darkness came to life on meeting the rays of the rising sun.
This view was both stunning and awe-inspiring. The sereneness and tranquility experienced watching the sunrise were unequivocally most beautiful part of that day. It was quite even with the crowd there. There was silence, everyone was just relaxing and drinking in the calmness of the surrounding and of the rising sun.
After capturing the sunrise, we started our sojourn along the ridge towards Mather Point and Yavapai Point.
We sat here for few minutes and charted out our next course of action. Soon after, we returned to a visitor center. Here, the blue shuttle towards Bright Angel Restaurant awaited us.
Tip: There is a museum at Yavapai Point with great views of canyons, a bookstore, and some exhibits. It is worth a stop if you have some time.
We grabbed some coffee and sandwiches for breakfast at Bright Angel Restaurant. Also, loaded our backpacks with few sandwiches, chocolates and water as fuel for the upcoming hike. Yeah, Water. Mandatory companion for this hike, or any hike for that matter.
Next step was armoring ourselves with the map of trail available at the lodge’s shop. And then, we were all set to climb down our first mountain.
The Bright Angel Trailhead (starting point) is just behind the lodge.
This trail goes all the way down to Colorado River, but it takes 8 to 12 hours to reach there. So people usually go down in the evenings, camp in the night and come back up next morning.
It’s not recommended to go all the way down and come back up the same day.
Tip: Try to incorporate at least one trail or a part of it in your itinerary whenever you visit Grand Canyon. Trust me you won’t regret it.
Our destination was Mile-and-a-half Resthouse on this trail. It was supposed to take 1.5 hours to reach that point itself and almost 3 hours to come back.
We thought it wouldn’t be that difficult, and were soon proven wrong. It was very hot that day, and the hike was too steep. Nonetheless, we kept moving targeting the destination in mind.
It was worth doing this trail. We got to see the canyon walls from up close. When you looked back up, you can actually visualize the enormity of these canyons.
I was slowing us down. Hiking was new to me and the steep parts were very difficult to cover. I kept on stopping after few minutes to rest and sip water. As a result, I ran out of water very soon.
My husband kept on motivating me, saying, “The milestone is just around the corner, only five minutes away. We will have water there. Keep moving. I know you can do it.” His cheerful demeanor and confidence encouraged me to keep on progressing.
Finally, after an hour and 45 minutes, we reached the 1.5 milestones. Here we took some photographs, filled our bottles, had sandwiches and rested for around half an hour.
The return journey was tougher. It took us more than three hours to complete it. By the time we reached back, we both were starving.
We managed to obtain a table quickly at Bright Angel Restaurant, which was brimming with patrons at that time. Our server was quite chatty. Our preference was a vegetarian meal without any sort of meat. He was quick to point out our options.
We ended up ordering Guacamole Monterrey served with Tortilla Chips, Bright Angel Veggie Quesadillas, and Ice Tea. The tortillas arrived first followed by quesadillas.
Guacamole dip was luscious and savory. I had quesadillas for the very first time and instantly fell in love with them. The taste of veggies and cheese together was a double delight for my grumbling stomach.
Satiated and full of new found energy we conquered the remaining vista points around Bright Angel Lodge including the El Tovar Hotel.
While returning we treated ourselves with ice-cream from Bright Angel Fountain. It is a small cafe which always has a big line in front of it during the summer days. You get big enough scoops in your ice-cream.
The oreo cookie and chocolate chip ice-cream was not only scrumptious but also provided temporary relief from the scorching weather.
Then we took the shuttle to Visitor Center to our car. It was past 3:00 P.M. We had little time left and a choice between Yaki Point and Desert View Drive. We chose Desert View Drive.
This 25 miles drive is a scenic route culminating in The Lighthouse. You get to see tall trees, wildlife (if you are lucky) and a lot of beautiful vista points along the canyon ridge.
The Lighthouse has the most breathtaking views of the canyons and beyond. Also, the river is closest here. And you can see it clearly.
Tip: The Lighthouse Cafe has the most delicious Navajo Tacos. We were short on time and stuffed, so didn’t try them. However, It’s worth a try.
We rested here and took some photographs. Then came back towards visitor center. We then visited the Village, the Grand Canyon Railway Station, and Shrine of Ages.
Then searched our way back to the Grand Canyon Rim Trail. Here we sat on the benches and again watched the sun go down peacefully. We decided to have dinner early and retire to our hotel to rest.
This time we chose Arizona Room for our dinner. Our dinner was Navajo Tepary Bean Dip – Blue Corn Tortilla Chips & Garnished with Pine Nuts and Agave Citrus Marinated Chicken.
That’s it, we went back to the hotel to charge our batteries for the upcoming day….