Third and last Grand Canyon letter from my mom:
We had a nice final excursion today to an unmarked destination point D and P [friends who'd been there before] found in a guidebook.
On the way we stopped at a regular look-out point where there were more ledges -- however, fortunately with a sloped shelf that would break one's fall after a hundred feet or so, as you see.
Anyway, back to D's unmarked destination. We only found it by following the guidebook instructions, which were to first find a particular Park sign and then to measure with odometer 1.25 miles past it. We then pulled into a totally unmarked little flat dirt area -- beyond which was a locked gate with a sign saying "Use of site by permit only," which would certainly have kept me away, but the guidebook said, "Your hike starts at the locked gate." So we proceeded along a dirt road (well, a dirt swath wide enough for cars).
We walked on this road for a mile through woods so clean and quiet it reminded me of the Woods Between the Worlds. [That's another Narnia reference.]
￼At the end we came to a small clearing right up against the canyon rim -- with picnic tables, grills, etc. The guidebook says that after May 15, there might be weddings going one here, since the site is available for such things for a fee. No weddings today, but I have one question for people who have weddings in this spot: How does one keep children from going off the ledges?
￼THIS one, for example. I will say that beneath this ledge -- out of sight -- was like a STEP -- another horizontal rock sticking maybe 12" out beyond the ledge you see at my feet. However, beyond THAT was a several thousand-foot sheer drop-off. This type of drop-off was all along the whole picnic site -- no signs, no rails, no nothing. I'm picturing children racing madly about.
Say kids, why don't you go climb that tree there -- the one hanging out over the bottomless abyss?
Or how about a nice game of tag? That rock over there could be Home Free.
Well, anyway, I did spend a fair amount of time thinking how inappropriate the site was for a big family wedding. I showed Dad where I felt the 8-foot chain-link fence should be installed before any child allowed on the site.
The one disappointment we had is that there was a cool platform-like point of rock sticking out (no doubt where the bride and groom stand for the significant moment) that I wanted to explore, but unfortunately, some RANGERS were out there having some kind of class. We waited probably a half hour longer than we would otherwise have stayed, hoping they'd go so we could go explore, but they never budged.
Last thing we did was to walk out and watch the sunset from the trail. The wind had picked up, and we huddled back against the rock side of the trail. People were coming up the trail just under the wire before darkness -- it was nice -- not crowded at all.
￼The sun was setting from behind a big cliff, not over the canyon itself, but it was still pretty -- cold and eerie in a nice way.
Nice day. We're off first thing tomorrow.