Ok, so I couldn’t think of a last word to replace tour with starting with B!
Normally I wake early on my birthday and today was no exception! I had lots of lovely cards from friends and family and my Ipad from Hugh, along with a very sweet card.
We then returned to Bright Angle Restaurant for breakfast. I decided to treat myself and have the blueberry pancakes – I was asked if I wanted a half or full stack. Not knowing how big either were, and as it was my birthday, I went for the full stack! I could hardly move after eating them!
It was a good job that we then had about an hour and a half before our bike tour! We ambled down to the bus stop and took the free shuttle bus up to the visitor centre area where Bright Angel Bikes are based and as we arrived early we had time to see the very interesting film on the Grand Canyon in the cinema there. It gave us loads of useful background info on the Grand Canyon before we set off.
Having been fitted with our helmets and bikes, we got into the mini bus with the other people in our group and were driven out to XX point. Once there we had a short talk on the geology there from Leah, our guide, before mounting our bikes and cycling off to the next view point.
The cycling was wonderful – the sun was out, there was a breeze and most of it was either downhill or flat, so it was a joy to be on a bike. Leah, was a fountain of information and we stopped at all the best places to take photos!
After about an hour cycling we hit the one uphill stretch! Boy, did it hurt! We are really NOT fit! However, we both managed to do it and we were all given a slightly longer rest stop than usual before the final push to Hermits Rest.
Arriving at Hermits Rest we were given 15 minutes to look around and take a rest – and have an ice lolly too! We then had our photo taken under the bell – apparently good luck – before getting back into the mini bus and being taken back to the visitor centre.
The shuttle bus system was really good at the Grand Canyon. The Rough Guide was a bit disparaging about it, but we found it really good and it saved having to drive and find somewhere to park. So, we jumped back on one and this time took it to Market Plaza where we bought ourselves some lunch and sat in the sunshine to enjoy it. You can see the map for the shuttle bus here if you are interested.
We were then back on the bus and out to Yaki Point for the view. It was spectacular here and there weren’t many people either which was nice!
Having spent 15 minutes here we then caught the next bus and took it to Mather Point. It was much more crowded here, but the views were still as spectacular! From here we walked along the rim, just over 0.7 miles to Yavapai Point where we spent some time in the museum before catching the bus back to Hermits Rest Route Transfer Point. This was actually quite close to our hotel, but we had not had a chance to visit Kolb Studio. This was an amazing house, built into the Canyon by two completely made brothers (the Kolb brothers)! The little museum downstairs was absolutely fascinating and we spent quite a time reading all the information and looking at the photos.
From here we walked up to the Lookout Studio where we went onto the lookout platform to take a couple more photos!
From there it was a gentle stroll back to the hotel where we refreshed ourselves before returning to the Restaurant for my birthday meal.
As we were walking along the rim, Hugh started gibbering and pointing! I eventually realised that what he was trying to say was that there was a condor perched on the ledge! No one else had noticed it as this point, so we were able to walk up quite close to the best viewing point to watch it. Unfortunately there were some bushes in the way, but we managed to get this photo.
It was amazing to see one at all as they are endangered, let alone to see it as close as we got. By the time we moved on there were quite a few people looking at it!
So, arriving at the restaurant I had a lovely birthday meal and a glass of beer! I don’t drink very much alcohol at all – a very occasional glass of wine at a party, or a glass of beer. So, having this with my meal was very daring for me!
I was extremely full after that, but as it was my birthday I was determined to have a dessert and so I did! Apple crumble with cream and icecream- yummy!
We then had a mooch around the gift shop and I bought a bag which you can slip photos into the side of, which I have since put Grand Canyon photos into and use for work. We also bought Ben a cast off mule shoe to go over the door of his first shed (Hugh has a horseshoe over his shed!) and a recipe book for Penny. This gave us time for our meal to go down before ambling back to our hotel. On the way back we spotted a racoon bin diving! As soon as it saw us it ran away though! Hugh hung around in the shadows for another 10 minutes to see if it would come back so he could get a photo, but no luck!
So it was into bed to get a good night’s sleep ready for our next adventure. Back in the car and driving to Lake Havasu.