So Much for That

Desert View Watchtower
Camera: Panasonic DC-G9 | Date: 02-10-2023 12:56 | Resolution: 5247 x 2623 | ISO: 200 | Exp. bias: -233/100 EV | Exp. Time: 1/320s | Aperture: 7.1 | Focal Length: 12.0mm | Location: Desert View Watchtower | State/Province: Vista Encantada, Coconino, Arizo | See map | Lens: LUMIX G VARIO 12-35/F2.8II

The Jag-war is now officially an ‘Ag-war, the J having either detached itself from the boot-lid somewhere in the desert Southwest, or having been detached by someone else suffering from the aforementioned. ‘Opefully ‘Ertz understand.

I got up early and joined the crowd watching sunrise at Mather Point. The light was intermittent due to the heavy but broken cloud cover, but when it broke through we got nice splashes of colour on the rocks. It was bloody cold – even with my heaviest available hat and coat I was suffering a bit by the time the sun was fully up.

Mather Point Sunrise (Show Details)

Mather Point (Show Details)

After breakfast we set off back down the East Entrance Road to the Desert View area. This time the light was good and I managed to get up the Watchtower, a great brick folly on the wall of the Canyon with wonderful views outside and great recreations of native art inside.

Desert View Watchtower (Show Details)

At the next stop back towards the Lodge we were treated to a wonderful display, a rainbow forming underneath us, inside the Canyon.

Rainbow below Zuni Point (Show Details)

In the afternoon I took a sightseeing flight over the Canyon. We were a bit dubious of the safety record of the helicopter operator, so I opted for a fixed-wing flight. As a way of getting a fresh perspective it was fine, but as a photographic platform it was pretty useless, and I was battling a combination of odd angles and a dirty and scratched window. Next time I will be brave and stick to the helicopter.

Flight over Grand Canyon (Show Details)

After frankly disgusting food at Grand Canyon’s other outlets we had great hopes for our dinner booking at El Tovar, but we were sadly to be disappointed. Things didn’t start well – we arrived a few minutes early to be told our table was not yet ready, fair enough, and to come back nearer the exact time. We sat down about 5m from the person managing admissions. The next thing we knew I received a text, at international rates, saying the table was ready, only to be told again at the desk that it wasn’t.

We were eventually admitted, and shown to a cramped corner table with a view of the car park and a strong cold draught. The latter was so bad we eventually had to move ourselves. Our server turned up and was very helpful, but was unable to offer any alternative to sprouts as the vegetable accompaniment to roast duck! We tried to get on the Wi-Fi, but failed and the water boy appeared to take some delight in confirming that access was only available to residents, not restaurant customers.

The food was mixed: the soup, Elk Bolognese and the duck itself were good. The sprouts were like bullets and the rice pilaf was dry and inedible. Overall it was nowhere near the standard which should have been delivered for the very high prices being charged.

Back at the lodge we attempted to plan better catering for the next day, but literally every catering outlet in Grand Canyon Village and the gateway town of Tusayan gets, at best, very mixed reviews and many are downright appalling. The statistical distribution of TripAdvisor reviews is a whole topic for another blog, but we essentially gave up and decided to stick to sandwiches until we’re back in Utah.


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