First stop: Williams, AZ. Essentially a 1-street town Williams' main claim to fame seems to be that it is on Route 66. Two blocks of Route 66 memorabilia, kitsch, and photo opportunities and that's about it. Oh yeah, the Grand Canyon train departs from there as well. It's worth a stop but unless one is a Route 66 fanatic needing all the tin signs, tee shirts, etc. you can be in and out in an hour.
Arriving at the park gate we paid our $12 per person entrance fee. The handwritten sign on the park gatehouse said "Heavy rain predicted, limited visibility, NO REFUNDS". We went in anyway and headed up to the visitor centre. While there were lots of people around it wasn't crowded, one of the benefits of visiting when school was back in session. After getting the lay of the land it was off to see the canyon itself.
Countless writers have used every imaginable adjective to describe Grand Canyon, and none could possibly do it justice. It truly is an incredible sight. As we walked the South Rim we could see a storm coming in from the East and watching it fill the canyon with clouds and rain while throwing a few lightning bolts for good measure was quite a sight. We hastened to the cafeteria before it hit and sat in dry comfort with a cold pint while the storm brewed outside. An hour or so later it had pretty much stopped and we continued our trek along the rim.
The storm clouds actually made the viewing much more interesting as the sun peeking through and the shadows on the cliffs gave the scene a sense of perspective; normal depth perception fails you when looking at something this vast. Simply spectacular.
As another storm came racing down the canyon we headed for the parking lot. And didn't make it in time. We put our rain gear on over already wet clothes and rode the 10 miles back to Tusayan in another heavy downpour. Oh well, most of the day was dry and we saw the canyon. Mission accomplished.
As a side note, one thing we did remark on was how little English we heard being spoken - French, German, Japanese, and other European languages were all well represented. Recession? What recession?
Tomorrow we're off to Page.