Grand Canyon Grandeur

Driving from Las Vegas to Albuquerque is probably not the fastest way to get between the two places, or even to get from Las Vegas to the Lightning Fields (which was our main reason for this part of the trip).

What going on a road trip did allow us to do was visit some fantastic places that weren’t necessarily art related.

Our first stop, once we were on the road, was the Grand Canyon, which you could consider an artwork of erosion.  

We were fortunate to be staying in the National Park at the El Tovar Hotel as it allowed us to see the Grand Canyon last thing at night and first thing in the morning (although you had to be careful not to walk into the wild Elk family that were hanging about outside the hotel).

Tree silhouetted against the Grand Canyon
Smoke over the North Rim of the Grand Canyon as the sun set

The El Tovar was opened in 1905 and was designed as a cross between a Swiss Chalet and a Norwegian Villa. I’m sure that wouldn’t be the design inspiration if such as hotel was built now but it creates a unique building. While the El Tovar Hotel is “widely considered the crown jewel of Historic National Park Lodges” it is charmingly unsophisticated, especially when compared to the hotel we had been in just a night before.

I had been to the Grand Canyon many years ago on a fleeting visit in winter, so being able to watch the sun go down over the canyon was quite magical. The golden and red colours were enhanced by smoke low on the North Rim of the Canyon. I overheard a person asking a fellow visitor what caused the smoke and the response was that the smoke was from a power plant located on the other side of the Grand Canyon. The person must have sounded very authoritative as the person that asked the question just accepted it as correct. I hope someone explained that he was having his leg pulled when they were out of earshot. It turns out that the smoke was from a “prescribed fire” to help manage the forests.

The next morning we got up early to watch the sun come up, and the shadows shrink. It was a beautiful clear day with almost no one around. We then headed back to the hotel for a fantastic tasty breakfast at the El Tovar Dining Room.

A note of warning! We completely underestimated the size of the meals and decided we should get the El Tovar Signature Cinnamon Roll’s to share in addition to one of the Chef’s Specialties. Oops. We ended up taking the Cinnamon Rolls with us and had half each which was more than enough for lunch! You would think we would have learned our lesson about food sizes after that but no.

Bright blue sky over the Grand Canyon with the Colorado River visible below