Thursday, April 02, 2015

Arizona Road Trip (7): Chinle to Tusayan

I left Chinle after having an awful(!) breakfast at a local Burger King for Town of Tusayan in the south side of Grand Canyon National Park. Apparently the south side or as they call it south rim is the place everyone goes to but that's absolutely stupid, I know that now. The fact is south rim is open early while north rim does not get opened until mid-May. Besides there are less services in there so people cannot get drunk, show off or do any other normally-considered stupid thing that they do! So they tend to spend their time in south. And now that I know it, I will have a plan for north rim for sure. When? I don't know. 
Anyways the road from Chinle to Tusayan goes from Navajo Reserve of course. On the way I had a short stop at Tuba City which is assumed to be a town with majority Native people as its inhabitants. I stopped at McDonald's to get water or coffee, I don't remember and then you reach a three way which the right (north) side leads to north rim and city of Page and the left (south) side leads to Flagstaff and with a branch to Grand Canyon National Park. The road is beautiful and uncrowded and there are lots of photo opportunities. 
You also get the chance to check the small community of  Cameron and it's trading post which is incredible. For me again that was not a place to do shopping but I enjoyed checking the hand-crafted items in the shop. 
Highway 64 is the road you have to take to get yourself to east entrance which takes about an hour, I guess from Cameron but before that you also can stop to see Little Colorado River Gorge which worth stopping but similar to all other corners of the reserve, Native people have their stands selling their hand-crafted gifts. 
Little Colorado Gorge shortly after you turn to Highway No. 64 en route to Grand Canyon National Park. This is a nice place with Native people have their hand-crafted gift stands nearby. It was insisted through a sign that there was no admission! People would have paid, Had there been any admission, I guess but they were paying though the items they were buying from the Natives!
Upon arrival at the east gate of the park, I noticed a line and I guess it took about 20 min. or maybe half an hour to pay admission and pass. It was unfortunate for me that I had to pay $25 for 2 days I had planned to stay at the park because the pass was good for seven day but I didn't have any other choice. There are a few view points between this gate and main information center and the village that you can stop, take photos or ask questions. 
In Watch Tower view point (I guess the name is) which is supposed to a historical place I had a chance to talk to an old gentleman and ask him about the hike down to Colorado River as it is repeatedly said in there that it is not recommended. First he said they say it for public safety and he added that he would have done it in an hour or two, had he been younger(!) I know people use some consciousness they get old and he really was old, maybe past 70 and I told him that it was indicated that the hike would take some 8 to 9 hours. He either didn't know what he was talking about or was not in good mind but eventually said that he would do it in 7 or so hours! This gave me some encouragement, although I was not very convinced. After a few stops I wanted to make sure that I know where I would be going the next morning so I checked the visitor center and few signs and maps and found where exactly Bright Angel Trail-head was and headed to Tusayan to check in to my hotel. To get to Tusayan you head south and it's some 20 minutes or so and I had a reservation at Red Feather Motel. The room was not bad and I head out to get something to eat. There was a huge line at McDonald's at the other side of the street just across from the hotel. So I fucking forgot about it! Then I checked a Wendy's and the prices were so unreasonable that I just got out. Then I checked the only supermarket in the town and bought a few items and got back to the hotel. 
Another picture of Arizona highway. This one is either before I reach Tuba City or after! 
The hotel was full and people were coming one after another. I was lucky that I had reservation so I went in and checked the internet. Working properly. No problem. I got ready for sleep as tomorrow was supposed to be a big day!
(Photo, top: This picture is taken after I left Chinle and hit High 160 to West. The road barely has any vehicle in it and both sides are decorated by strangely-shaped rock, beautiful!)

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