Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grand Canyon Adventure Part 9: Wrapping it Up

In case you missed it:  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7  Part 8


At the end of our last full day at the South Rim, we had a dinner reservation at the restaurant in the El Tovar Hotel.  This is the premiere lodging facility on the South Rim and the one with the only gourmet restaurant in Grand Canyon Village. Little Helen had purposefully made the reservation here to celebrate Mr. Helen's birthday.

Our reservation was quite late so about an hour beforehand we went over to walk around El Tovar to look in their gift shops and have a pre-dinner cocktail in the bar. Though the hotel itself has been updated over the years, the lobbies and common areas are full of rustic charm...  these were all around the lobby area lol!

The restaurant itself is lovely and the food, while not presented in a very fancy manner, was absolutely delicious.  The other thing we found interesting is that though this is a nicer restaurant, lots of folks were still clomping around in hiking clothes and shoes.  While we didn't dress up, we did wear regular clothes for a change.

Decoration on our table, available for sale at the Hopi House

I had a filet with gorgonzola sauce and both Mr. & Little Helen chose the duck

Mr. Helen's dessert, which we all shared:  a chocolate taco filled with chocolate mousse - yummy!

By the time we finished dinner it was nearly midnight and we were all ready to go to bed and get a good night's sleep because we had to leave in the morning.

The next day dawned bright and sunny and hot.  It had not been very hot the entire time we were there but employees were saying this day's weather was more normal.   A few last views as we walked to breakfast.

We had a 3 1/2 hour drive back to Phoenix to the hotel where we would stay before flying out but we didn't need to be there early so we decided to do the eastern portion of the South Rim, Desert View Drive.  It's a 26 mile road that ends at Desert View and you are allowed to take your own car and pull into any of the stops.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to do that, but we did drive all the way to the end to see The Watchtower, another of Mary Coulter's amazing designs.  This is the highest point in the South Rim and once again the views were amazing!

It's really a fascinating building, with interior walls that feature murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie.

We were very glad that we made the time to take this drive.  When we were finished, we went back to that fabulous deli in Grand Canyon Village to buy sandwiches and drinks for the road. Several hours later we arrived in Phoenix, feeling a bit of culture shock at being surrounded by so much pavement and city.

Since May, we've discussed it and have all said we'd like to go back and we've already started talking about what we'd do.  We'd definitely go back to Supai but I made the condition that we have to helicopter out.  I just think it would be a cool experience. We'd also like to actually stop at all the overlooks on the Desert View Drive.  And, call us crazy, but we'd even like to hike to Phantom Ranch and experience staying there.  Additionally, I want a cowboy to help me with my horse on the way back up!

I hope anyone who has taken the time to read has enjoyed this as much as I have writing and reliving it.  As much as I worried about all the hiking prior to leaving, this absolutely was the trip of a lifetime, chock full of memories.  There really are not enough words to describe it or to thank Little Helen for this wonderful gift. Besides, this is where I got my groove back, so the Grand Canyon will always hold a special place in my heart.


  1. What an amazing adventure. It must have been so strange to come back to the city. I feel that way when we leave my moms in the mountains and suddenly, 2 hours later, we're in 16 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic.

    I'm so happy Helen has her groove back!!!

  2. I definitely enjoyed reading it as much as you did writing it. What a wonderful trip Helen. Thank you so much for sharing it. I really, really enjoyed it. What a trip of a lifetime this has been.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing!

    It is such culture shock when you go from the real outdoors to a city, isn't it. It's kind of like going to Disney World and the sensory overload of everything.

  4. I, as a Texas girl and a southerner, have never been to Grand Canyon, and this makes me want to go more than ever! I really enjoyed your posts.

  5. I dream of going to Grand Canyon. I used to watch pictures as a kid, and thought that it was the most beautiful place. Your post didn't really change that much. :p Looks AMAZING!

  6. You guys packed a lot into this trip...and yet, there's still so much left to see! Jeff and I will have to get out there one of these days; you've made the Grand Canyon sound very appealing. :)

  7. I don't know how I missed this last post from your trip! Love, love the fact that you want to go back. That is definitely where you got your groove back lady so I know it holds a special place for you. Hugs!