A New Nadir

Desert View, Grand Canyon
Camera: Panasonic DC-G9 | Date: 01-10-2023 16:53 | Resolution: 5184 x 3240 | ISO: 200 | Exp. bias: -33/100 EV | Exp. Time: 1/250s | Aperture: 6.3 | Focal Length: 35.0mm | Location: Desert View, Grand Canyon | State/Province: Vista Encantada, Coconino, Arizo | See map | Lens: LUMIX G VARIO 12-35/F2.8II

We got on the road early to drive down to the Grand Canyon. The first segment went very well, with a quick drive to Jacob’s Lake, a pleasant coffee and cookie stop, and some wonderful scenery in great broken light as we followed the 89A underneath the Vermilion Cliffs.

Vermillion Cliffs from Cliff Dwellers Lodge (Show Details)

That route ended at the Navajo Bridges. While these are still majestic with great views from the old bridge into the Colorado, they’ve changed the layout of the parking and viewing areas somewhat since our last visit in 2007 and I found it impossible to recreate my favourite shot with both bridges in the frame.

Vermillion Cliffs from Cliff Dwellers Lodge (Show Details)

Once over the bridge you are in the Navajo Nation, and there’s essentially nowhere for a stop until you reach Cameron, an hour down the road and only a mile before the turn off into the park. We were sufficiently desperate that we went into the Cameron "Trading Post" and opted for the "fine dining" option although we only really wanted a sandwich. Let’s put it this way: Michel Roux has nothing to worry about. Put another way, Frances described her toasted cheese sandwich as possibly the worst meal in recent record. My "chicken club" (burger) was marginally better, but came swamped by about 2000 calories of disgusting carbs. The main course was followed by a latte so strong Frances claimed she could taste it in her ears!

Lunch "dealt with" we drove into the park via the Eastern entrance which both saves about 100 miles driving and provides direct access to a number of viewpoints. At this point we encountered a new challenge – the temperature was dropping like a stone, and our "hot desert" outfits were woefully inadequate. I don’t think you can get pneumonia via the knees, but it’s just as well. That said the scenery was absolutely stunning, as ever, but between the temperature and tricky cloudy light we worked quickly and moved on promptly from each viewpoint.

Lipan Point, Grand Canyon (Show Details)

Once we’d booked into the Yavapai Lodge and settled into our room we went in search of sustenance. The Yavapai Tavern is a bit basic and produced a remarkably rubbery Elk burger, although for a change Frances’ chilli was OK. They do have one of the best beer menus I have seen in a long time, but that doesn’t fully compensate for an inedible meal.

Things can only get better. Tomorrow we’re on sarnies for breakfast and lunch, but we have dinner booked at the El Tovar restaurant. Fingers crossed!

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