It’s Not Just A Hole In The Ground

After spending Friday night in Flagstaff we got up Saturday morning and headed here:


It’s funny how you never visit the amazing places in your own backyard. This wasn’t our first family visit to the Grand Canyon, but it has been a few years. This is what our family looked like the last time we visited.


That was in July of 2000. How things have changed…

For this visit we drove from Flagstaff through Cameron on the Navajo Nation to enter the park on the east end of the canyon. The first glimpse of the canyon was from this stop.


There were signs leading to the Desert View Watchtower, which I had never heard of. And on the edge of the canyon sits this amazing building that was designed by the famous Mary Colter.


This tower is amazing. You enter through the ubiquitous gift shop, that once was a room for guests to actually rest and relax in but now it sells “Indian Artifacts…Made in China”. And in the back of the room is a set of stairs. As you climb the staircase you find yourself in the main floor of the tower with a view of the ceiling way above you.


The interior details are pretty amazing.


On the second floor there is artwork covering the walls.


Including these copies of hieroglyphs, or maybe they are petroglyphs. They are some kind of glyphs.


When you reach the top floor the views out of the windows are breathtaking. They say on a clear day you can see for 100 miles from here, and we were there on a very clear day!


There is also this ladder that leads up the the top of the tower that is closed.


I loved the view down to the main floor.


And a view of the staircase leading from the second level.


We hung out in the top floor for a little while…


because it wasn’t just the view that was breathtaking. The stairs were pretty treacherous. We had LaLa that was demanding that we carry her down the stairs…yeah right…and Ham that didn’t want us to touch him--AT ALL--to help him down the stairs.


Once we made it back to the main floor there was a courtyard with more views of the canyon.


And the perfect spot for the first family photo…taken by a nice guy from Japan.


And more stairs…fortunately these didn’t lead anywhere.


I am so glad we stopped and spent time in one of Ms Colter’s masterpieces.


From there we headed to the where the lodges are located. I have always dreamed of staying at the El Tovar and a visit to the Grand Canyon wouldn’t be complete without visiting the lobby there.


The kidlets acted like we had actually hiked the canyon and needed a rest.


And the rest of them…


well don’t they look excited.

But once you walk about 20 yards from the lobby of the El Tovar…



I thought this little scenic locator was pretty neat.


You decided what view you want to look at and line up your sight line with the guide


and Voila…there is the Zoroaster Temple.


And also the perfect view for a picture of the kiddos.


We had a nice guy who had just relocated from New Jersey to Arizona offer to take a picture of our family for us…


and this is why you don’t accept offers like that from someone that isn’t carrying a camera of their own.

Big Daddy took a cute picture of the Girlies…


Nice smile Roo.

The other reason I like visiting the lodges is because it isn’t far from where the trails lead down to the floor of the canyon and Phantom Ranch.


I think the view of the switchbacks are pretty cool.


And if you look close enough you can see people who are actually silly enough to hike down there.


Looks fun doesn’t it?!?


And after our visit to the zoo the day before we were happy to find wildlife at the canyon. Even with ALL the signs saying don’t feed or approach the wildlife Big J still wanted to try to catch him. Grrrrr…pre-teen boys!


After a few hours at the canyon we didn’t know if we were coming


or going.


But finally we decided it was time to go. And what trip would be complete without a stop at one of the roadside shopping stands?


When I was a child we drove from Washington to visit family in Arizona every year. And we always stopped at one of these stands and I would get a new turquoise bracelet. I decided that after all the trips we make up to Idaho and I never stop it was time for the girlies to get bracelets. Of course they don’t have the ones like I used to get, but theirs are pretty cute.


Our original plans were to head back home after visiting the canyon, but we decided that we were enjoying our time away and stayed one more night in Flagstaff.

As we were headed back to the hotel I snapped this little self-portrait.


I had to laugh when we got home and I downloaded it to the computer and could really see Einstein’s face in the background…things are never boring with a little chaos around!


  1. That's where Taylor is at right now. And I'm still thinking about driving up there.

  2. The pictures are amazing!
    I have never been to that part of the Grand Canyon.

  3. Niece you have never been to the South Rim...no wonder you have been banished to Idaho. :)

  4. That building is amazing!!
    I have never been to the Grand Canyon. I'm ashamed to admit that. Something I need to rectify soon.