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Rails to the Rim on the Grand Canyon Railway by Carl Morrison,


Rails to the Rim

On Grand Canyon Railway

Photos and text by

Text in italics from Grand Canyon Railway.

South Rim Tour

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After leaving the Depot, we passed the original transportation in the park - Mules.  These were resting after their walk down Bright Angel Trail.

Our transportation (right) was more 21st Century.
First Stop:  Yaki Point.
Program reminders are posted at various spots along the South Rim.

Far below, you can see the switchbacks of a trail.
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It is true, you cannot see the river from Yaki Point.

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Juniper, the seeds are a strong laxative.
Pinon Pine, the seeds are the only thing that can be taken from the park.

Yours truly.  You are welcome to wear your funny cowboy clothes in this neck of the woods.

I am always amazed at the durability of the trees that survive in this dry, rocky environment (right).  They do make good artist models.
Our second stop, Yavapai Observation Station.
Four people die, on average, a year in the Park.  Two from accidents and two from suicide.  Wonder what category these folks are in?

On May 24, 2007, the National Park Service re-dedicated the historic Yavapai Observation Station — originally called the Yavapai Point Trailside Museum — on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. New geology exhibits, consistent with the vision of the building’s designers to “make the out-of-doors intelligible,” were also unveiled.

The Yavapai exhibits explain the deposition of the rock layers, the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, and the carving of the Grand Canyon. Displays include beautifully crafted artwork, three-dimensional models, powerful photographs, and interpretive panels which allow park visitors to see and understand the complicated geologic story of the area.
This point is advertised as a spot where you can see the Mule Bridge over the Colorado River, and Phantom Ranch next to the river.  Do you see them?
Phantom Ranch along the river.
The mule bridge, 100 feet above the river and 140 feet long.

Last stop:  Hot Buffet Lunch at Maswik Lodge

After Lunch, the bus driver said to come back onboard to "receive some information."  The wives didn't see any need of their going so we took a chance that our rooms might be ready even though it was about 2 pm and rooms would be ready at 4.  I suggest that if you are in the same predicament, that you check at the desk to see if your room is ready.  We skipped the desk clerk with the "Trainee" tab below her name tag and asked Janice Bing if both our rooms were ready, and they were.  The wives walked to the building that had our two rooms, Spruce (above), and we men went back on the bus.

<>The only reason for going back on the bus seemed to be to deliver the people leaving on the afternoon train back to Williams back to the Depot.  After that, we just went back to where we had Lunch!  We did get two pieces of information, we tipped the driver then walked to our rooms as well.  The luggage from the Williams hotel was in our room.d

When it was about time for the train to leave for Williams,  I walked out behind our building and took some pictures of the train leaving the National Park.

I prefer the Dome Cars, IF I have a seat in the Dome, otherwise it just means there are more steps to navigate for Limited Mobility passengers if seated in the lower level.  From the Outside, Dome cars are definitely more photogenic.

The consist heading back to Williams from the Grand Canyon.

Grand View

First Class, Santa Fe.
The Parlour Class, Chief.

An excellent way to get around Grand Canyon Village is the free Village Route Shuttle.  There are 15 stops on this route, and one is at the Maswik Lodge.  However, the route is run counter clockwise and to get from the Maswik Lodge to the Bright Angel Lodge, one has to ride through 13 stops.  We wanted to go to the Village for dinner at the Bright Angel Lodge, so we decided to walk the two block distance.

We had been told by Steve, the bus driver, that sunset was at 5:50 and we should be at the Rim at 5:30 to view it.   We started for the Rim at 4:30 from our room and took the first picture at 4:53 and the last one at 5:48.  You probably will not take the time to set up a tripod and take pictures like I do, but you can plan accordingly. 

The sunset is not viewable unless you go out Hermit's Rest Road (which was closed for roadwork), but  the horizontal light that lights the sides of the north rim and monuments in the Canyon is spectacular.

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Bright Angel Trailhead is west of Bright Angel Lodge.  This is where mule rides start each morning, and where some hikers start their canyon hikes.

Some folks try just a bit of the Right Angel Trail.
Rocks line Bright Angel Trail at the top.
Still flag above the Kolb Studio.
Lookout Studio

Sunset Canyon View from Lookout Studio.
El Tovar from Lookout Studio
"Red Jacket" at El Tovar Hotel. 
From the Lookout Studio's patio on the Canyon side, a Desert Bighorn Ram rested below on the cliff.

Another Desert Bighorn Sheep was nearby.
Finally, the Ram moved out on the cliff and many visitors got flash pictures of him.

After sunset, we walked into the Bright Angel Restaurant and I enjoyed  an excellent trout dinner.  After dinner the wives spent some time in the adjoining gift shop as I walked out to the rim to count the stars in the pitch black sky.  We then took the Shuttle two stops back to our Maswik Lodge accommodations.

[ Other reports by Carl Morrison | ]