Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grand Canyon, Second Day

This morning we were going to hike first, in the cool of the day, and then chill out after. We walked to the South Rim, watching the mule-riding group about to descend the Bright Angel Trail. We soon discovered that nothing was open, yet, and we would have to limit our explorations of facilities to external views for awhile.

We ended up walking from Maswik Lodge to the South Rim, along the Rim Trail to Bright Angel Trailhead, Kolb Studio, Lookout Studio, Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar Lodge, Hopi House, Verkamp's Visitor Center, and The Trail of Time, ending at Yavapai Geology Museum. At this time of day, we were pleased to encounter very few tourists.

Kolb Studio. This 1904 building was added to on several occasions and ended up with 5 stories; but, it was never anchored to the canyon wall until the park service took it over, around 1990. And, it practically sits on one of the fault lines in the park. We were told that there was a quake here, quite recently.

South Rim

Lookout Studio. This was built by Fred Harvey and Santa Fe Railroad to compete with and drive the Kolbs out of business. It did not work.

Lookout Studio

On the way back along the Rim Trail, we went through the places that hadn't opened yet on the way up, stopping at Bright Angel Lodge for a cappuccino--it was so hot we had to wait to drink it. Chuck then had a double-scoop ice cream chaser of Butterfinger and Espresso Chip.

Suicidal Squirrel. I am sure this is not the same guy from yesterday. Apparently, times are tough at the Canyon this year.

Deer in the Front Yard

Lookout Looking


El Tovar Lodge

Hopi House

We arrived at the Bright Angel Lodge restaurant as it opened for lunch at 11:15am. Claire had the Spicy Santa Fe Lettuce Wrap and Southwestern Corn Chowder soup. Her eyes were bigger than her stomach; so, we got our first squirrel bag, so she could take it back to our room refrigerator and finish the wrap at her leisure.

Claire's Spicy Wrap Lunch

Chuck enjoyed the Southwestern Beef Stew in Bread Bowl. The picture-taking was delayed due to excessive hunger; so you miss the image of stew overflowing the bread onto the plate.

Chuck's Beef Stew in Bread Bowl

We especially enjoyed the current Grand Canyon art exhibit at the Kolb Museum.

We walked back to the room to deposit Claire's lettuce wrap and to download pictures, while waiting for the afternoon lecture on the human history of the Canyon.

Wild Ones from Brazil. I am not sure if this was the same bunch we encountered earlier on the trip; Claire says they are different. They were hanging outside the Vercamp Visitor Center where we were to begin our pm walking tour. We were impressed by the diversity of the group--there were males and females, young and old, bikers and squares in the group. It was comical to see these rough riders spraying on gobs of sunscreen. Where's the pride of "manliness?"

The Ranger, A.J., was wonderful. He was not used to being at the rim, he spends most of his time at the bottom of the Canyon, at Phantom Ranch. So, the planned 20 minute lecture-walk lasted an hour and a quarter--but no one complained. He covered the human history from 10,000 years ago to the present day, emphasizing the importance of water throughout that time: With the exception of the time period at the end of the Ice Age, this has been a (semi-arid) desert area, surrounded by deserts on three+ sides.

At the end of the talk, which ended at Kolb studio, we walked a short distance down Bright Angel Trail to the window in the Rock. At that point, we decided to call it a day and retreated back to our room.

Kolb Brothers. They did photo portraits of visitors; they did landscapes; they photographed themselves, as in this photo; and they did the first commercial action movie--themselves running the Colorado rapids in a boat. One brother lived in this studio until his death at 95 in 1976.

Bright Angel Trail Window

We became fascinated with Mary Colter and decided to put in a bit about her:
Mary Colter began her adult life as a school teacher in the 1890's. She became an architect, designer and decorator for the Fred Harvey company in 1902. Her designs were unique for their time because she used the cultural heritage of the region rather than imitate European styles. She was also influenced by Frederick Law Olmstead--she thought that structures in places of natural beauty should not detract from their surroundings, but should, rather, fit in, using vernacular architecture.

Mary Colter

She had a relationship with the Harvey organization that lasted about 46 years, designing hotels, restaurants and union station facilities. This was quite unusual for a woman in those days. She designed many of the buildings at the Grand Canyon, including Hermit's Rest (1914), Lookout Studio (1914), Phantom Ranch (1922), the Watchtower (1932) and Bright Angel Lodge (1916, 1935). Her buildings have their roots in the American past and in the Indian and Spanish heritage of the land she loved.

The color of the Great Canon itself is red, a light Indian Red, and the material sandstone and red marble and is in terraces all the way down. ~ Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon Landscape Painter, American Hudson River School