Well the day haven’t started well with breakfast, and I started to get a bit worried when no bus had arrived at 8:30, another couple turned up with their teenage daughter, we got chatting and they were doing a similar tour and their pickup time was 8:35 . Another 10 minutes had gone and I rang the number on my piece of paper. The man on the other end was very nice and said he would ring me back in a few minutes. The other couple also rang the number on their piece of paper and then we discovered we were both talking to the same man, no real surprise there. I had booked a North and South Rim tour, or so I thought. They weren’t sure what they had booked. So a bus arrived about 10 to 9 but he was only looking for three people, that was me out then. By this point I was thinking that I could have had another half an hour in bed. I rang the man again and he said I was booked on a different bus and should arrive any time now. The driver from the first bus came over to me and said he did have a spare seat on his bus if I wanted it, he was quite kind towards me actually which was nice, but I told him I was ok and my bus was on its way.
So two buses turn up and the driver of one approached me and asked me if I was Elisabet, yes I said, you are with me then, said he. The other bus emptied it’s passengers out and they joined my bus. The buses were small with room for 15 passengers. And we had about 6 spare seats. Our guide was a Hopi Indian and immediately started telling us all about their folklore and how it interacted with the area we were driving through. Our first stop was to be at the Sunset Crater National Park, but on route we stopped at Bonito Park for a quick photo opportunity.
Driving through the park it is full of black lava rock from the time of the eruption, it reminded me of course of the drive from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik in Iceland. We were able to get out and walk along a little area, among the rocks and there are plants growing out of all sorts of places.
We were then taken to a point were we could see the top of the crater which was called sunset because at sunset it shines bright red. We had to view it from the bus, which was a bit of an anti climax but it is what it is I suppose.
Our next stop was the Wupatki National Monument, where there are the remains of pueblos built by native Americans, there were basically three areas, the housing itself, a small arena where young adults were brought to be given their adult name and their purpose in life is given to them and then another smaller arena which would have been used for special ceremonies. Our guide said the purpose of this second arena was said to be for playing some sort of game with a basket attached to the wall, some kind of basket ball I think which ended in some sort of human sacrifice, the winner losing their life which seems a bit unfair! However he maintained that the walls were not high enough for it to have had that purpose, and that the were entrances to the North and South, and that East and West were looking out at pointers for special celebrations,occasions like the solstice and sunset. So the Hopi’s believe this was a place were special ceremonies would take place. All the buildings and rock were bright red, in contrast to the landscape of volcanic rock. Much like the Utah scenery. There were some stones in the building which were said to be for grinding the corn to make bread. The diet of these people was mainly corn but they had many varieties, referrred to by colour, blue corn being one of them. I bet you thought that was an interesting fact, I did look it up to make sure it was true.
After this we were driven towards the Grand Canyon with a stop for lunch at the Cameron Trading Post. I have to say I was a little worried about lunch, I was dreading the prospect of another burger. When I saw the lunch menu on the board in the doorway it looked like that was exactly what I was going to get, but when the menu arrived my eyes alighted in Navajo Beef Stew with Fry Bread. I have to say it was delicious, and although the fry bread was probably very bad for me I ate two thirds of that too, it was lovely. Real food for the first time in days. Lunch gave us a bit of time as a group to get to know each other, and It wasn’t long before I was being quizzed on Brexit, it seems to be a bit of a theme. I almost got myself into hot water countering about the shock of Trump getting the Presidency, I need to learn to keep my mouth shut, clearly. There was needless to say a huge shop you had to get through to get to the restaurant and we were twice given time to do some shopping. I was very good given my packing constraints and only bought some postcards and dried apricots, ritz crackers, cheese and gum! Just in case I didn’t get to eat again that day, and guess what I was right so my purchases came in very handy. By the way when I saw the postcards I realised how remiss I had been having promised to send lots of postcards, so I am now aiming to send one from each country, so if you receive one from me, you now know I am adjusting your expectations. I haven’t got time for postcards as well as all this writing.
Finally we were off to the Grand Canyon. I mentioned earlier that I had booked a tour which was supposed to be the North and South rim, it had become clear by now that wasn’t going to happen as it was early afternoon, but I decided just to make the best of it. It was another 40 minute drive to get to to Grand Canyon Park, once in the Park quite a long way to go, but there were some great sights as we kept climbing to get there. Finally we arrived and clambered out of the bus, a short walk and there is was. A huge chasm, rock of many shades, indescribable really. I will just have to let the photographs do the talking, I was so glad I had decided to add this into my itinerary pretty much at the last minute. There are birds of prey circling the canyon at the edges and then flying straight down, a wondrous sight indeed. They have managed to save the Condor here, it was almost extinct. After an hour or so of freedom we were taken to a few different viewing points and then to the village, and given an hour and a half there. The village has accommodation and restaurants and of course shops. I did buy myself a t-shirt, I know I shouldn’t have but you only live once. There are more amazing views here and some walks down into the canyon itself. When I got back to the bus, we had 3 new people we had to deliver back to Flagstaff, that upset the apple art a bit, taking other people’s seats, very amusing. A good hour and a half home, and as I suspected I was too shattered to go out anywhere, so straight to bed with ritz crackers for me.
I know there are a lot of photographs, but it gives you an idea of the whole size, and the beauty. I was desperately trying to take a selfie with the Canyon in the background, I failed miserably so I thought I would share with you the out takes.