Backpacking in Grand Canyon (Day 1)

Prelude and background

After a quick trip to Trader Joe’s for provisions the day before, Steve and I left San Luis early Wednesday morning and drove  across the Carrizo Plains on Highway 58.  The emptiness of the landscape and the beauty of the road provided a preview of what was to come.  The eight hour trip to Las Vegas over the Tehachapis and through the Mohave desert passed quickly, lightened by easy conversation, favorite music downloaded from my itunes collection and anticipation of the hike.

We met Peter at the airport, avoiding contamination of contact with the city, and headed south on highway 93. At Hoover Dam we encountered a massive traffic jam and got out to join thousands of tourists rubbernecking at the old dam in the spectacular late afternoon desert sunlight.


Rather than pay the 25 dollar admission to the new 115 million dollar visitor center we admired the art  nouveau mosaics and sculptures ornamenting the 1930’s engineering miracle.


It’s now dwarfed by a magnificent four lane bridge under construction across the canyon hundreds of feet higher at a cost so far of 250 million dollars.  It will, we are told, alleviate traffic congestion on the road between Phoenix and Las Vegas, even though an alternate Interstate route already exists.


A good Thai dinner in Kingman Arizona kept us going till arrival at the Holiday Inn Express room I’d reserved a couple of miles outside the park in a dreary new industrial tourism development.

full photoset and slideshow

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