Monday, May 03, 2010

Grand Canyon :: Desert View

On Friday (April 16th) Sue and Fred hiked another trail into the Canyon. They did a portion of the Hermit trail going 3 miles and 1400 feet down to Dripping Springs! Of course, it was 3 miles and 1400 feet back up! One of the lesser used trails, they saw only a dozen people while on the trail.

My legs were feeling okay, but I begged off that hike as the thought of having to ascend another 1400 feet left me weary just thinking about it! Instead, I walked nearly six miles along the South Rim Trail, which is paved in some spots and more or less level. Though not excessive, there were a few more people on the South Rim Trail than what Sue and Fred encountered. I did take some pictures, but they pale in comparison to what has already been posted.

Saturday was to be our last full day at the Canyon and we decided to be “tourists” driving east on Arizona Highway 64 from the Grand Canyon Village to Desert View, about 25-30 miles.

Aside from the Canyon itself, the main draw at Desert View is the Watch Tower, which is currently undergoing some renovations. I hadn't read anything about the Watch Tower so I didn't know what to expect – simply a building with several floors and stairs taking you up to viewing windows was about it. However, I was blown away by the architecture, the d├ęcor, the symbolism . As Sue said, “It spoke to me.”

Designed by architect Mary Jane Colter for the Fred Harvey Company, the Watch Tower is not a replica of any specific building but was intended to symbolize the many prehistoric Native American structures. The steel beams supporting the structure are hidden within the walls which are individually placed stones on the exterior and smooth adobe on the inside.

The interior artwork, under the supervision of Ms. Colter, was done by Fred Kabotie, a Hopi painter who was also a guide and musician at the Grand Canyon at the time (1930s). The artwork was designed to communicate the physical and spiritual origins of Hopi Life.

The Watch Tower at Desert View.

A portion of a large mural on the first floor, along with a chair and stool.

A portion of the ceiling and the 3rd level as seen from the 2nd level.

Just a few of the “hieroglyphs” decorating the interior walls (photo by Fred).

The exterior of the first floor stairway.

The stairways were wide enough for one person at a time.

Desert View is at the east end of the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River, wider and not as deep, is clearly visible from the Rim. I didn't notice it at the time, but I rather like how the stone pillar to the left somewhat mimics the shape of the Watch Tower.

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