The Grand Circle Tour – Day Ten (cont’d) – Nightcap With An Uninvited Guest

After an early dinner at the Maswik Lodge, we headed back to our rooms.  Stefan had started a nightly ritual of having a nightcap of Jameson Irish Whiskey while reflecting back upon on our day.  Since Ann was tired and Dawne had no interest in the whiskey, they headed to their rooms for the night.  The guys headed to my room for the nightcap.  I left the door open as I went to grab some ice on the first floor.  And that’s when it all went downhill…

Upon my return, I discovered that an uninvited guest had decided to join us.  A small brown bat had flown in through the open door and was now flying all around the room in panic mode.  He eventually settled high on the vaulted ceiling, hanging upside down near a heavy, wooden crossbeam.

 

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Our uninvited guest

 

Jan found the situation quite humorous and sat in a chair chuckling nonstop, to the point that tears were rolling down his face.  The fact that the bat was in my room, and not his, appeared to be the major source of his amusement.  Jan, being the king of 20-20 hindsight, correctly pointed out that it probably wasn’t such a great idea to leave the door open.  I thanked him for his insight.

The three of us sat there clueless as to how to get the bat out of the room.  As we sipped our whiskey, talk of rabies and vampires did not help the situation.  I decided to call the front desk and ask for suggestions.  They agreed to send a porter.

As far as I can tell, the job of porter is a catch-all, entry-level position that involves any tasks that others are not assigned. The poor porter now found that bat removal had been added to his job description.  He showed up armed for battle with a four-and-a-half foot broom.  The short broom was obviously no match for the 16-foot high ceiling.  He quickly called for reinforcements.  A second man showed up with a giant dust mop attached to a long extension pole.  I began to suspect that these two had not completed their bat-removal training.

To their credit, the two porters were very concerned for the bat’s safety.  After all, the poor little bat had not harmed anyone.  Eventually, we decided to turn out the lights, hoping the bat would fly toward the light shining in through the open door.  After several attempts to coax the bat to fly with the encouragement of the dust mop, we were successful in getting him out the door and back into the night sky.

Crisis averted, we thanked the porters profusely and continued with our nightcap.  (Note to self:  It is always a good idea to close the door behind you.)

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The Grand Circle Tour – Day Nine – The Grand Canyon

After a nice buffet breakfast at the Best Western in Page, AZ, we headed out toward the Grand Canyon.  We stopped at a roadside stand to check out some Native American crafts (pottery, jewelry, tomahawks, etc.) along the way.

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We reached the Grand Canyon via the Desert View Entrance Station, which is at the eastern end of the south rim.  We stopped at the Desert View Watchtower and were treated to our first glimpse of the massive canyon.

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Before us was panorama that was on a scale like nothing we had experienced on our trip to date.  A sign titled “Edge of Vastness” indicated that the canyon was one mile deep, 18 miles wide and 277 river miles long.  It was hard to comprehend the enormity of the landscape in front of us.

 

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The Crew with the Colorado River and the massive canyon in the distance.

 

 

 

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Close-up of a section of rapids.

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Look closely and you can see a bridge that spans the river.

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After checking out the views from several other vantage points along the way, we headed to the Maswik Lodge to check in.  The Lodge is actually a collection of two-story buildings with guest rooms that are grouped around a central building.  The main building houses the reception area, a gift shop, and a cafeteria-style restaurant. We were assigned to the Mesquite Building.  The rooms were a bit rustic and basic, but were clean and well-equipped.  The location was excellent, with access to the South Rim Trail only a short walk away.

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The Mesquite Building within the Maswik Lodge complex.

 

We settled into our rooms and then headed along the path to check out more amazing views of the canyon.  We passed several shops, galleries, and lodges as we walked along the South Rim Trail.  Of all the national parks we had visited, the Grand Canyon was definitely more well-equipped, with facilities and amenities to accommodate visitors at every turn.

 

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A park ranger explained that this heart-shaped rock, known as Matrimony Rock, was probably placed in the wall around 1934.  Legend has it that a young man, working for the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), placed it in the wall to honor his beloved, who was probably a young lady working a concession job at the park.  The rock is between Kachina Lodge and El Tovar Hotel.

 

Below are some photos of some of the wildlife along the south rim.

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Friendly raven looking for a handout.
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A buzzard soaring overhead.

 

 

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Mule deer were grazing all along the South Rim Trail.  They appeared to be extremely tame, but we were warned to keep our distance.

 

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We ended up in front the El Tovar Hotel, which is the premier lodging facility within the park.  Built in 1905, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has hosted U.S. presidents and other dignitaries over the years.  We decided to have an early dinner at the restaurant and the staff did not seem to mind that I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts.  This was definitely the best meal of our trip.  Jan opted for the sea bass entrée, while the rest of us decided to mix it up with various salads and appetizers.  The seared sea scallops were perfectly cooked and delicious.  At the end of the meal, we were all tempted by their wonderful selection of desserts.

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The front entrance to the El Tovar Hotel
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Rear view of the El Tovar Hotel

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The El Tovar Hotel occupies some prime real estate on the south rim and affords visitors amazing views.

Feeling content after a wonderful meal, we headed back to our rooms and called it a night.