If you are thinking of visiting Grand Canyon National Park this year it may be too late.
Kat and I camped at our favorite boondocking site on FR 302 just south of Tusayan the first week of April. We built a campfire, poured the wine, and prepared dinner. The next morning we savored coffee and biscotti then set out for the Visitors Center. That was Monday, April 2. Texas spring break had ended two weeks earlier, and New Mexico’s was over the following week. The peak tourism season is still eight weeks away, but there might be 50% more visitors here than in our first trip to The Canyon, May 2014. Cars were parked alongside the road on both sides at least a quarter of a mile from the VC – on Monday on all the roads — and the scenic route shuttles were overcrowded.
In time we learned that some states observe Spring Break when spring actually comes to those states. Virginia is such a state, and it seems that Europe and Asia also mark the occasion with a week off from school. The Germans and Belgians were already sunburned, but the for the most part Asians took serious precautions against that same sunburn (huge hats, a few surgical masks, and in one case a veil) but let their kids dance on precipices. It will be more crowded this summer, so how about visiting in September or early October? It’s never too late to visit Grand Canyon; just pack a few tins of patience if you come here in season.
Kat’s 2018 pictures are much better than 2014’s, but the day she took the most photos was partly cloudy until the lens cap came off, then it was always cloudy. Overcast colors aren’t as bright; the Impressionists, especially Claude Monet in his Cathedral at Rouen series, demonstrated that. But we enjoyed our last trip to the Canyon’s South Rim, and I don’t mean to discourage your first trip. The Grand Canyon is a marvel, and one you must see. But other than the crowds, neither of us noticed any changes from 2014.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWHJx0kFQCo (Monet’s Cathedral Series, Youtube)
Speaking of Impressionists, an American member of that painting school made the arduous journey to explore the Canyon with Col. John Wesley Powell in 1869. Powell was a one-armed veteran of the Civil War (lost it at Shiloh) who led expeditions into the Grand Canyon via the Colorado River and later, on horseback, into Yellowstone. He had the foresight to bring both a painter because, like many of our readers, he found pictures more powerfully descriptive than words. The American Impressionist on Powell’s expeditions was Thomas Moran, and he painted some wonderful canyon scenes. I scoured the internet for a few of his paintings of the Grand Canyon. And here they are.
And on our last day there we drove to the east end of the park. Once again we viewed The Watchtower and we each enjoyed the best $5 ice cream cone of our lives. We chose Espresso Chocolate Chip in a waffle cone. While tasty, what made it our superlative $5 cone is its price: I can’t remember paying over $2 for a one scoop cone, ever. Can you?