Grand Canyon and Desert View Watchtower, Arizona

A seven hour drive from Palm Springs via Lake Havasu takes me from a dry arid landscape to snow covered gritted roads. I arrive at Grand Canyon village in time for sunset. As I leave the car I notice the cold hit my face. I’m not sure how cold it is as there is no mobile phone signal here but within ten minutes my hands hurt from the pain. If I’m cold I’m not sure how cold a dancer is, who is being filmed in front of me. She’s wearing a pair of short shorts and a minimalist top. Once they finish filming she disappears, hopefully I think in my head for a hot chocolate to warm her up.
The dancer had been on a plinth which overlooked the Grand Canyon and the thought of her being there made me feel queazy. The snow is high which makes the railings at the edge of the Canyon lower. Thoughts of slipping have to be put to the back of my mind as I look over the edge. The colours are amazing. Shades of red, brown and pink cover the rocky faces. I find it frustrating that I can’t capture the true colours with the camera that I see with my eyes. The scale of the Canyon is hard to describe: vast, deep, never-ending and astounding. 
I leave the Canyon after fifteen minutes. It sun is setting and it is far too cold to be here any longer. Temperatures dip to minus 23 degrees Celsius during the night and I return the next day in more appropriate clothing. 

The coldness has halted any plans to hike into the Canyon. It’s too icy and the paths precarious. Instead I drive towards Desert View Watchtower which is a twenty two mile drive from the entrance of the Canyon. I stop along the way at various viewing points with the first being Duck Rock (in the photograph below). There are lots of tourists here, many Chinese and this despite it being freezing. I feel ill at the thought of people standing high up on rocks and lack the ability to understand why you would encourage a child to stand there and pose for a photo with a drop in the Canyon next to them. Never the less I focus on the view and notice that where I thought the Canyon ended the day before in fact it continues as far as the eye can see. I’m aware of how small and insignificant I am in this space. I can’t judge the scale of the Canyon but I know it’s big.

After a few more stops I arrive at Desert View Watchtower. It has a beckoning appeal and at this point I know that despite my fears I will climb the tower. The tower was build in 1932, 70 foot high and balances in the edge of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Inside there are three staircases that hug the side of the building. Each floor provides a view of the floors below with a circle in the centre. The concrete staircases are difficult to climb due to my vertigo which is escalated when I reach the top and look out of the windows. The Canyon is awesome with layers of coloured rock in various clusters, with some curved, others sliced but all knitted together. The depth and width of which can not be comprehended in my mind. The tower and the Canyon are a spectacle to behold and are worthy of a place on anyone’s bucket list.

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