Tourists at Hermit
~Friday, April 1, 2022~
Happy April Fools ya’ll. Trying not to be duped, we’re staying extra alert!
Having only done the Hermit’s Rest shuttle once, we decided to follow the group for a revisit. It’s been years since we’ve been, so a refresher was in order. I think the kids were more excited about the bus ride than they were about seeing the lookout points.
Yesterday, when we passed the entrance station to the park, we were told the next time, to use the much faster Lane #1 meant for annual National Park Pass holders. ‘Ya think we’d remember to heed the recommendation today. Nope. In fact, we ended up in the slowest lane out of 5 to make our way through. It appears the guy holding up the line didn’t have his wallet with him in the front seat, and some other minor hiccups, which delayed us about 7 or 8 minutes. Ugh!!! Rookie maneuver! The Alonzi’s and the Bacher’s had passed us up at that point. Thanks to a few texts, we managed to reconnect at the shuttle station. Hermit Road can only be accessed by the free Hermit Road shuttle bus, bicycle or on foot, though it appears they make exceptions for physically challenged visitors.
For 7 miles, we stopped at nearly every lookout point with the exception of two (The Abyss and Pima Point). Of course the challenge was managing our 13-person group to board the bus all at the same time. On a few occasions, we chose to walk, not shuttle between a few of the points; easy to do with the nicely paved paths between. The scenic overlooks are exceptional.
One in particular that Jeff and I remembered fondly from another trip, was Powell Point. Named after Major John Wesley Powell’s exploratory trips down the Colorado River, this memorial site has some of the best views of the canyon (in our opinion). We shared our secret perch just below where most people observe, intriguing our entire gang to have a look. Everyone gave a thumbs up to return to this sunset spot later in the day. It was so great seeing the canyon from all these vantage points since we’d only taken the shuttle to Powell Memorial before. At one point, we saw what appeared to be a rescue helicopter lifting someone in a rescue basket on the Bright Angel Trail. But after further observation, we all agreed it wasn’t a basket being lifted but a wooden beam or something along those lines being air-lifted to another location. Oh well, it certainly made for a good story.
Finally arriving at Hermit’s Rest, we managed to score with the gift shop/snack bar being opened (they just extended their hours today till 6. We arrived at 5:30). Designed by Grand Canyon’s leading lady architect, Mary Colter, Hermits Rest was constructed in 1914 to look like an old miner’s cabin, complete with a giant fireplace
and front porch. The Hermit Trail winds steeply down into the canyon from this point. It seemed Jeff and I set the tone for a little sweet afternoon snack of ice-cream with everyone falling suit. It was here at the gift shop,
that I found my perfect earrings as well (reminded me of canyon sunsets).
With the gift shop closing and our shuttle options dwindling to get to our “sunset point” on time, we all made it on the bus to get back to Powell Point
for the perfect sunset view. And it did not disappoint. Canyon shots, group shots, couple’s shots, kid’s shots, I think we got them all.
Since it was our last night with the Bacher’s and the Alonzi’s at the Grand Canyon, we all quickly whipped up our individual family dinners before enjoying a wonderful campfire courtesy of the scraps of firewood the boys found in the forest mixed in with our donation of firewood we’ve been carrying since Lost Dutchman Campground. What is it about campfires that brings such a wonderful sense of togetherness where we can story tell, truth tell and spread the warmth? What a great way to get to know eachother even more. Jeff and Mike closed the place down with Mike doing a little night sky photography. Very cool!