We awoke early this morning since our friends had to be on their way by early afternoon back to Southern Arizona and a flight to South Carolina. We were all worn out from yesterday’s hiking so we decided to take the morning to explore the parks easternmost 23 mile road called Desert View Drive by car.
This road does not require a shuttle and can be driven in your personal vehicle which is always a plus for us. Our stops at viewpoints along this route included Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point and Navajo Point.
Each had beautiful views of the canyon. We also stopped at the Tusayan Museum and Ruin for a quick tour. It was fascinating to see the Indian pueblo ruins from over 800 years ago and the way these people might have lived. Lastly, we
made our way to the Desert View Visitor Center. The definite highlight of this area is a structure called the Desert View Watchtower. Although designed by Mary Colter (who designed several of the parks famous buildings) and built in 1932, the tower was designed to look like a stone cylindrical Indian tower from centuries ago. The kids all enjoyed climbing its winding staircase to fantastic canyon views out of its many windows. We made our way back to the campground and after about an hour of frenetic packing said our goodbyes. We were sad to see our good friends go and very much enjoyed the great times we had and memories made over the previous few days. We decided to rest a while and get caught up on work for the early afternoon and then headed out to our first visit of the park’s main visitor center. For such a large national park, the visitor center was somewhat lacking. Closing at 5pm (?) and with a broken movie projector our stop at the visitor center was a brief one. We made the short trip to the Yavapai Point and Geology Museum and were wowed by some of the best canyon rim views that we had encountered in the previous three days! The 180 degree panorama out of it’s glass window were breathtaking. The Geology Museum was very well done and quite interesting. We decided to skip sunset tonight and go back to the camper for dinner and a movie. A great day here in Arizona.