I awoke early and glanced up at the windows of the bus, strangely every thing was completely white. It took me a moment to realise that I was looking at snow. I levered myself up on my elbows and stared out the window, the trees, road and everything around us were covered in a blanket of snow which continued to fall as we drove into the Grand Canyon National park.
We parked outside the permit office to wait for it to open so Russ and Mat who had decided to camp in the canyon could get a permit. I walked over to a nearby lodge to get a cup od coffee while we waited. By the time I came back. They were getting the permit and we drove over to the campground to find our camp site. Several of us headed out to the visitors center. We then went to catch the shuttle to view the canyon from the rim. We decided to ride out to Hermits rest, see the view and then walk back along the rim trail.
We arrived out at hermits rest amidst a complete white out! So much for the view. The weather was pretty chilly so we headed into the little gift shop for some hot drinks to warm up. Luck was on our side as by the time we finished our drinks there was a patch of clear sky opening up. Soon we were able to see almost completely across the canyon. The clouds and snow only making it appear even more beautiful and majestic. We began hiking along the rim trail and continued enjoying the view for quite a while before another snow storm came blowing in causing us to run for the shelter of the shuttle bus. We spent the remainder of the day enjoying the luxury of hot showers and laundry facilities at the campground before have another wonderful dinner alongside the bus. After dinner Phillip and I set out at a brisk pace and just managed to reach the rim in time to watch the sunset.
That night we all opted to sleep in the bus since the snow everywhere was a pretty good sign we were in for a cold night. Will, Beth and Holly prepped themselves to get up extra early as they had decided to hike all the way to the bottom of the canyon and back the next day. They departed sometime around 4am at which time I rolled over in my nice warm sleeping bag and went back to sleep. After a nice breakfast we decided to also tackle the Angel bright trail going down into the canyon. We wouldn’t be trying to go beyond Indian Garden though.
The trail was icy so the going was slow but we enjoyed fantastic views and it wasn’t long till we stopped by the ranger station for lunch. On the way back up we were passed by Matt and Russell who had camped at the bottom, followed shortly after by Will, Beth and Holly who had hiked to the bottom and back again. After another wonderful dinner -who knew you could fix lasagna over a camp stove with a couple of cast iron skillets? Several of us hiked back to the rim to watch the sunset again then stopped by the ranger talk on endangered species in the grand canyon. Here we learned that the most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon is – The squirrel, carrying rabies and possibly plague you sure don’t want to get bit by one of these.
We returned to find that the drivers had planned to drive us to warmer climes that night but the bus had other ideas, due to the cold the diesel engines didn’t want to start-up, so we spent another night at the grand canyon till the generator could be started up in the morning and with its help the bus was started. We were on our way out of the grand canyon. Hated to leave but we were definitely looking forward to warmer weather.