USA ’17 – Day 15 – Grand Canyon

Another stop at a national park today but for once we weren’t driving but arriving by train.

Last night we stayed in a town called Williams which happens to also be the starting point for the Grand Canyon Railway. Originally built to transport goods to and from the south rim of the canyon it now fulfills the same but for tourists.

We arrived at the station in time to see a fun wild west show before boarding the train. The amount of leg room available in our carriage was impressive when you are used to GWR as was the pastries provided.

The view out of the window was pretty flat and uninteresting but fortunately there was plenty going on in the carriage to fill the two hour journey including a singer/guitarist and our host Starlie (I sometimes think that there is merit in the old French rule limiting the names you could select for your child).

When you arrive at the station you wouldn’t know you were at the Grand Canyon. You then walk up a set of steps and suddenly you are on the edge of the canyon. And wow what a sight it is!

Like Yosemite nothing prepares you for the sheer scale of the canyon. It is very deep and very wide. No, not that very deep and very wide but even bigger than that! And again the pictures really don’t do it justice and even on a wide angle you cannot capture the whole thing in a single shot.

We had just over three hours at the canyon before the return train so we took one of the free shuttle busses to a point a few miles along the rim and walked back from there. We took pictures every few yards so have captured the place from every single angle.

One thing that was surprising was that given the perceived view of litigation culture here that there was no guard rail between the path and a one mile drop to the bottom of the canyon. Helen stood well away from the edge… The walk back was slow as we made regular stops to admire the view and take more pictures.

It really is amazing just how much damage a little water can do. The Colorado river that created the canyon did so over a relatively short five million years (unless you are a creationist in which case it was done last month). I was left wondering where all the material that it removed ended up. The Colorado feeds out into the Pacific somewhere so it must be piled up there I guess.

I was thrilled that the engine on the return trip was steam. It was great looking out the window as the engine made a turn ahead of us and I could see the smoke filling the air. We were lucky as they only run the stream trains on the first Saturday of the month which happily coincided with our trip. All in all a fantastic day.