Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day 17: Still in Grand Canyon, Arizona

Miles Traveled: 75 (by bus)
April 29, 2008

These California Condors are ugly, but they are the belle of the ball! Everyone was trying to photograph these birds, but I got the shot! BWA-hahahaha! More on that later.

I booked two bus tours—a four-hour “Desert View” tour and a sunset tour.

Grace and I woke up early, had a fantastic fruit, granola and yoghurt breakfast, and then headed over to the bus area. The bus was completely full for the tour and the tour guide was really informative.

Grace was stunned with the magnificence of the Grand Canyon. She said, “Y’know?—I’ve seen many pictures and postcards and have seen a lot of movie footage of the Grand Canyon—and they’re all very impressive. But nothing prepares you…or compares to…actually SEEING it and *experiencing* it ‘for real’.”

Brian had been there last year with Kyle, so he seemed to be more relaxed, while it took Grace a wee bit to venture too close to the edge or to the railing without getting dizzy. Brian was practically hanging over the edge trying to get the perfect shot of this most Grand Canyon.

Oh…now more about the Condors. After we got back from the Desert View tour, we were back at the El Tovar Lodge—which is right up to the rim. There are several walkways to view the Canyon. At one point, far below, Brian saw several flying around and tried—along with several other visitors—to get a shot of these birds. One of them landed on a ledge below—and soon a second one landed next to it. One of the purposes of this trip was to take our professional photo equipment to document the trip pictorially. Brian was very successful in capturing these birds. From the perspective of where Brian and the others were perched, the birds seemed no larger than ravens. But with a wing-span of about 15 feet, this should give you an idea of how far down the Canyon these birds actually were.

The sunset tour was very beautiful and amazingly serene. Temperatures cool fast, so it was rather brisk. We nearly missed the bus because Brian was still clicking away capturing the sunset and the amazing colors in the sky.

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