Grand Canyon, November 2011

Another “where was Zoe?” post. This time, a tale of surprise, disappointment, and triumph… ;)

When I’d arrived in Phoenix, Arizona the week before, it had been so hot I’d immediately gone and bought a pair of flip flops to wear instead of shoes. And here I was, seven days later and only a few hundred miles away, trying not to slip on the ice at the edge of the Grand Canyon and regretting not having  pair of serious winter boots. Yeah: it turns out that the south rim of the Grand Canyon, being around 7000 feet (2000m) above sea level, does actually get cold. As in, snow and ice and everything:

Not what I'd planned.

None of the photos on the official website looked like this.

To make matters worse, the rim of the canyon was at approximately cloud-level, so visibility was only a few metres. Huddling in an enclosed lookout for warmth, I read a sign that showed me all the things I could have seen on the opposite rim of the canyon, and felt a twinge of envy when I overheard the couple nearby talking about the rim-to-rim hiking trip they’d made the year before. Hiking was out of the question that day, since all the trails into the canyon had turned into a gloriously slippery mix of mud and ice.

Since I’d already paid for my non-refundable room in a nearby hotel that night (yeah, shouldn’t have booked that without checking a weather forecast first), I decided to stick around and drink expensive bad hot chocolate at the cafeteria and hope that the clouds lifted. Which they did, sort of:

Something that's not grey or white!

Something that’s not grey or white! 5 minutes later, the cloud was covering this again.

In the end, I called it an early day and headed back to Tusayan to warm up with a serving of kitsch-mexican from the restaurant across the road from my hotel, and to drown my touristic disappointments in a slightly flourescent margarita.

I’m tempted to leave the story here, as a cautionary tale about checking weather forecasts before making travel plans, but the next morning, I woke up with the sun streaming through the gap in the curtains. Of course the day I had to get back to Phoenix to catch my flight was going to be glorious. I rushed through breakfast so I could get back to the Canyon as fast as possible. I only got an hour there, but it was totally worth it:


There really is a canyon there.


1 thought on “Grand Canyon, November 2011

  1. Pingback: Photos and memories and a roadtrip in Arizona. | Where's Zoe now?

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