Monday 25th June 2001, Grand Canyon North Rim AZ

We had already visited Denny’s Wigwam several times on the pretext of identifying souvenirs for the folk back home. However, so large a store presented us with a bewildering choice of potential gifts – so a restorative ice cream (from the attached parlour) was usually required before we could make any decision.

Today we made our final selections: a native American flute for Ree, a toy (self-assembly) fort for David, John Wayne loo paper (“rough, tough, and doesn’t take crap off anyone”) for Mike, Guatemalan ‘worry people’ for John’s mum, a miniature six-shooter keyring for Dee, and a sheriff’s badge (“Make My Day”) for Sarah. (The significance of these gifts will be lost on most readers, but are recorded here for our own interest.)

Having individually wrapped the presents, and packaged them up in a box with instructions to John’s mum concerning their distribution, we posted them home, before setting off (for the third time) to the Grand Canyon.

True to form, the weather closed in, but this time we carried on regardless. By the time we arrived, thunder was forecast, and we were convinced that we would get very wet if we should be foolish enough to try to make the 80-mile trip back to Kanab that night.

Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge has a number of very cosy-looking log cabins. But needless to say, there were none available. We appealed to the sympathetic receptionist, who said that, if the worst came to the worst, we could sleep in the sun room (over looking the Canyon).

The view from the platform beneath the Lodge defies description. Nothing could have prepared us for the sheer scale of the Grand Canyon. No photograph can ever do it justice. Even the very best aerial views fail to capture its true magnificence. At its North Rim, the South Rim is eleven miles distant, and the Canyon is over one mile deep. Our amateur shots (in less than perfect weather) are included only for record.

Having dined handsomely on pizza and root beer in the café, and a beer in the Saloon, John vanished to ‘pay a visit’. After a considerable interval, he reappeared triumphantly waving a room key. They had had a cancellation!