We were up
at 04.45 for the sunrise at 05.19. Not the most spectacular but good fun as
a group of chilly MOAers gathered in the Bright Angel Coffee House
(magically transformed from the bar of the night before by covering the
optics with a banner) for excellent coffee and pastries at 05.30.
After that we drove to Yavapai Observation station where the increasing
light was truly wonderful and we walked to Mather Point and back. We then
persuaded Ken & Judy Wightman to join us at The Bright Angel Restaurant for
a proper breakfast.
On leaving our room the chambermaid working down the corridor asked if we
knew who had left a pair of trousers and shorts under the mattress. On
checking out we discovered they were Manu’s, so they were added to our
(A number of took helicopter flights, forty minutes of spell binding views
At the Little Colorado River overlook (where I bought some pretty and very
inexpensive Navajo necklaces for our daughters) we were pleased to be able
to return to Ian his camera, which we saw balanced (and forgotten) on one of
the suitcase on Gilbert’s car! So smug were we in fact, we forgot to remove
the keys from our own car. We only discovered this when looking back at the
parked cars (as one does from time to time-Ed) we couldn’t see ours. I had
already feared the worst in the time that it took to discover that it had
been neatly obscured by a late arrival.
As we drove along we noticed the beautiful roadside flowers mainly orange
and yellow which were very different from the snow present during our last
visit to the region
After reaching Cameron we turned left towards Page. This stretch of road had
remained very clearly in my memory. The scenery was bleak and pale –
resembling either a moonscape or a scene of seemingly industrial detritus –
yet this was all natural. Such houses as they were appeared to be of the
simplest sort, including some traditional hogans and the poverty of their
inhabitants was all too evident.
Pylons stalked this forbidding landscape. After a while the scenery became
more attractive with the return of the red rocks. We passed Echo Cliffs and
as the road climbed beyond Bitter Springs there were purple flowering cacti
(surely lilac! -Ed). We arrived on a plateau at 6000 ft where we found trees
and grass again with cattle grazing, many shades of green and glorious
flowers – from the warm hues to blues and purples.
Having checked into our Marriott Hotel (where with much hilarity we reunited
Manu with his trousers) we went into town to book a raft float down the
Colorado River the next afternoon.
While we were there Jeremy Harrison rendered the female staff of the Tourist
Office & Museum speechless with mirth during the process of booking his air
trip over Lake Powell to Monument Valley. One recommended the Mandarin
Oriental restaurant to us and both she and her husband were there when
various groups of MOAers arrived that evening. (She is in fact President of
the Museum, he an accomplished photographer with one of his works, a
striking very large landscape illuminated by lightning, gracing the airport
hall and seen by some the next day - Ed),.
Earlier we had celebrated the birthday boys Phillip and Rene in the hotel
bar with a noggin, cake and nibbles but still some room for the delights of