09 July, 2019

The Train and the Canyon

We arrived at our destination, the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, just before sundown.  It was... not quite what we'd expected, in that it was enormous and modern, though vestiges of the old hotel from its founding in 1901 still remained.  Jen and I were a bit disappointed that the historic architecture wasn't better preserved, but some of it was still present.

Dinner at the famous Fred Harvey restaurant was, like the hotel, an odd juxtaposition between the historic and the modern.  It's clear that the facilities have had to sacrifice a lot of the historic charm in order to handle the sheer volume of modern tourism.  The restaraunt was buffet-style, but the food was good and there was a guitarist playing live music who was also quite good.

After dinner, a brief nighttime stroll through Williams.  It is clear that tourism, both for the Canyon and for Route 66, is the lifeblood of the community; it is centered entirely around these things.

Tomorrow's weather forecast for the Canyon, taken at the ticket station.

The hotel lobby.  Some of the original pieces, like the Remington statuary, are still present.

We'd opted for the later train to the Canyon, figuring that we could use the lie-in.  We were instead up in time for the first train, seen here.

Immediately prior to our departure was a wild west show which was, as you might expect, very campy, but also sufficiently self aware as to pull it off.  I imagine that's not easy to do in the internet age with these jaded audiences.

Finally, we boarded our car, the Max Biegert.  Wonderfully appointed and staffed by a personal concierge, this was traveling in style.

This is pretty much the style of club chair I've wanted for my study. They are very comfy and these were no exception.

When we were researching vacations and the Grand Canyon Railroad journey came up, being able to stand on the rear platform and watch the surrounding countryside was a not-insignificant part of why we chose it.

Finally, our destination, the South rim of the Grand Canyon.

I remember very little about the first time I saw the Grand Canyon.  I think it was the North Rim, but I don't recall the experience.  The south rim was incredible, literally defying the senses in its magnitude.

I hadn't realized that ravens were indigenous to this region.  There were quite a few of them in the park.

We hiked the south rim from the station to the geology museum and back, about 4 miles.

Jen was NOT pleased with how close I was getting to the edge for my photos.


The Hopi House, built in 1904 by Mary Coulter in the Hopi style, and opened alongside the El Tovar Hotel.

All too soon (though we were quite tired after our hike) it was time to board our train and head home.  After our fantastic experience on the way up, we decided to upgrade our return tickets and take the parlor car back as well.  Worth it.

At one point we were "robbed" by that infamous gang of amazingly not-dead outlaws, the Cataract Creek gang.  They were pretty tired by the time they got to our car, and we mostly just sat and hobnobbed until the Marshall came and quietly arrested them.