We slept in a bit this morning if 8am is sleeping in, which I guess for us really is. We had to be checked out by 11am which meant we could take our time and we did. We showered and dressed and cleaned up our things leaving the luggage in our room for the bellman……boy do we sound fancy! We hiked back over to the food court for breakfast, oatmeal for me and you guessed it…..a breakfast burrito for Adam! There are other places to eat but this is good and so darned convenient!
Adam decided that my water bottle hadn’t quite been enough for us both yesterday so he found a gift shop and got him one. When he filled it at the water station he just put the papers inside into his pocket. Later while waiting for a shuttle he took the paper out and read it, it said for your safety wash thoroughly with soap and hot water before using. So I took this picture in case he died….. and for some weird reason it gave us the giggles.
We had until 3pm to be back on the train for the return trip so Adam had planned the day and the shuttle rides down to the minute! We did a couple shuttle transfers to get to where we wanted to be which was the red route out to Hermits Rest, but the rides were so great it all felt like part of the vacation instead of just transportation. Just riding down the road there is lots to see and the shuttle drivers are great sources of information and fun. On the shuttle over we got out a few times to see things. Pima point is beautiful and has the rare reputation of you being able to hear the river run far below.You really can hear the river if it’s quiet around you, very cool! And oh yeah, I like traveling with this guy, he’s fun, well I like doing anything with this guy…..
While we stood listening to the river we watched a bunch of ravens soaring below us, yes below us. It was kind of weird watching birds fly from above them, it’s not supposed to be like that in real life. It was quite a beautiful sight! Although I had to remind Adam that when some of those ravens were in a tree above us at the wildwest show he was not happy to see them, he was quite sure they were going to bomb us.
The last stop on this shuttle was at Hermits Rest. It’s a cool rock structure whose first life was spent sheltering visitors on the rim and providing refreshment and mule rides to them. Now it’s new life is as a snack shop and gift shop. This is the entrance to the short walk to the building. Adam was wondering what happened to cause a big hole in the side of the bell. This is the building itself. It’s built right into the side of the cliff and all of the structure is original. It looks tiny from this angle but once you get inside it opens up a fair bit into the cliff. When you first walk in this fireplace is the first thing you see. It’s huge! Those are real people having a rest in front of it. Off to the left is the gift shop, to the right in the register and snack shop. I looked around to see what might be different that anything we had seen in the other places and I found this! I was drawn to her because I immediately thought she looked like a grandmother singing to or telling stories to her grandchildren. Then I looked at the tag on her and learned that she is made in the Navajo tradition of grandmothers whose job it is to teach the grandchildren the songs, traditions and stories of their heritage and she is titled The Storyteller! Because it made a connection to Nana’s Story Time for me I was so excited to have her! It just tickles me so much! Story Time makes me feel like a story teller to tons of kids so this little 3 inch story teller came home with me!
May I just take a moment to talk pit toilets? The park service at the Grand Canyon does an amazing job keeping them clean, relatively clean smelling, well stocked and accessible. I have been in public restrooms with all the fancy running water that was faaaaarrrrrr worse than those pit toilets! I do believe even Kimberly would survive it!
Then we caught the shuttle and about 45 minutes and a transfer or two later we were back at the train depot. We were a little early for the train but not quite enough time to run a couple blocks away for lunch, so we opted to have a snack later on the train and just relax at the depot for a bit.
These were my views from my bench, not a bad place to sit for a bit! This was the inside of the depot but since we already had our tickets we only went inside to visit the potty. The depot is the oldest continuous use log building of record in the United States. It really is quite cool.
While I was sitting there I though about other things I learned on this trip.
1. Not nearly enough Americans visit the Grand Canyon! Some of the languages I heard that I could identify were, Chinese, Japanese, German, Norwegian, Swedish, French, Spanish, maybe Portuguese, At least a couple middle eastern dialects, some English and Australian accents, and a few other I just had no clue about. I don’t think we Americans really appreciate the beauty we are surrounded by.
2. There is not enough peace in my life. Since I can’t stop working and life is big and real I really need to find a way or a place to regularly just have peace and quiet. I renews the soul.
3. You are never too old or too infirm to enjoy the world. It may take a little more time, a little more help, a few more arrangements, but you can go if you want to. Lots of older people and people who had a rough time getting around were getting around any way!
We boarded the train and there was Kathy with a K to get us settled, play a few games, answer questions and just be happy. Oh I forgot on the train trip yesterday we had a guitar player come to entertain us. He sang country songs and told jokes. He was young and cute and quite talented. What a great way for him to earn a living!
Cowboy jokes – Did you hear that Willie Nelson died last night?? He was playing on the road again!
What do you call a musician without a girlfriend?? Homeless!
He was fun.
On the train ride home we had an older woman who played the accordion and sang old songs. Two little old ladies from Texas really enjoyed that and kept giving her money to stay and sing more!
Our train began to slow down and the conductor announced that the gang had escaped from jail and if the train stopped we would be boarded. Well we looked out the window at Kathy with a K’s urging to see the robbers galloping after the train. While the train came to a stop she informed us we were on the only train that stops to let robbers board! Then she helped us practice our scared screams and terrified faces. These robbers looked very much like the dead cowboys from the day before…….funny how that happens.
During the ride before we left the National forest we saw a couple herds of Elk, nice big ones, the kind that would make Aaron cry. Wish you were here, and were allowed to shoot in a national forest…..
We got off the train back where we started, In Williams at the Grand Canyon Lodge. We were directed to our luggage, picked it up and headed to the parking lot. It had been raining a while and it was dark. It continued to rain til we were about back to Kingman. So the one regret we have is that we didn’t have one more day to stay over, maybe explore this cute little town of Williams and travel in the daylight.
We had a quick stop for gas and dinner in Kingman, speaking of places whose facilities are not quite as good as park pit toilets, and then we headed the rest of the way home, this time through Vegas. That’s an easier drive in the dark than the back road. We arrived home about 10:30, unpacked and hit the hay.
It was a good trip, we had a great time, we completely relaxed without a serious schedule for the first time in years. Adam wants to start planning another train trip for next year. Maybe we’ll get all crazy and take 4 days!