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Sunday 29 Sep 2013
Grand Canyon, USA

Lost and Found

After a very cold night in the tent, Verity and I woke up at 4.30am to go and watch the sun rise from Yavapai Point.  We found our way down to a small viewing deck overlooking the Canyon as the colours were beginning to show on the horizon.  It was almost half an hour before anyone else arrived, but by the time the sun finally peeked over the rim of the Canyon, it was hard to move without tripping over someone’s tripod.  The golden light hit the tips of the rocky buttresses within the Canyon like flames on top of birthday candles, sending long dark shadows stretching out behind them.  We stayed until the sun was well up and the whole Canyon floor was visible, before making our way back to the canteen to thaw out over another hot breakfast.  It had been bitterly cold on the viewing deck and it took me the best part of an hour to properly warm through again.

I bought some stamps and sent my first batch of postcards, including a sneaky one for Verity, which would hopefully get home before she did.  We broke camp, piled everything back in the car and set out along Desert View Drive, the eastern road out of the Grand Canyon National Park.  The road wraps along the rim of the Canyon for about 25 miles as far as the Devil’s Watch Tower.  We stopped at several viewpoints on the way, but when we reached the Watch Tower, we were distracted by the gift shop before getting to the view.  I found yet another magnet for the collection.  When I tried to pay, however, I had that sickening sinking feeling while rummaging through and then emptying my bag looking for my purse.  It wasn’t there.  I went back and checked the car thoroughly with no success.  Verity did the same but to no avail.  My purse was definitely not there.  The irony is that the last time Verity was here, her ex left his wallet in Page and they made it all the way to the North Rim before they realised, so had to drive over two hours back to fetch it.  Here we were, leaving the Grand Canyon to drive to Page and I, too, had managed to lose my purse.  We rang the Lost and Found number, but the office was closed on Sundays. On our way out of the park, I asked the lady in the booth if anyone had handed in a purse.  They hadn’t but she rang the campsite office for me.  Amazingly, it was there! The campsite host had checked our site after we left and found it sitting in the middle of our turning.  It must have fallen out as we repacked the boot and got knocked under the back of the car.  We didn’t see it at the time and drove off without it.  Thank goodness there are still some honest people in the world – when we got back to collect it, all my cards and cash were still inside.  Phew!

So, 90 minutes and a 50-mile round trip later, we waved goodbye to the lady in the booth and carried on towards Page.  The newly-paved Navajo road proved to be a fabulous drive, winding up through the weird and wonderful rock formations in this part of the Arizona desert.  We saw our first Monument-Valley style rock monolith and another tall rock needle, which looked like a giant sundial against the cliff face behind it.  The setting sun was blinding as it dropped towards the horizon, so we were glad when it finally dropped below the horizon, leaving a golden glow in its wake.  Not long afterwards, we were crossing a wide open plain, when the sky suddenly lit up in a riot of bright magenta, orange, gold and crimson streaks through the clouds on both sides of us.  We screeched to a halt in a perfectly located lay-by and leapt out of the car with tripods at the ready.  I’ve seen some really beautiful sunsets on my travels this year, but not one of them compared to this.  The colours changed as we watched, morphing from one brilliant colour to the next as the sky turned a deeper blue behind the clouds.  Then, just as suddenly as it started, it was gone.  The whole thing lasted barely 10 minutes.

Mileage: 1069

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