National Geographic : 1913 Apr
A three days' camping trip a mile below the earth's top crust at Grand Canyon of Arizona. For you, if you say so. The first day, seated in an open coach, you skirt for nine miles the edge of a chasm that is the wonder of the world, riding smoothly and luxuriously over a boulevard that looks rather odd in such an untamed wilderness. Hermit Rim Road, they call it. In this nine miles you have more thrills than in any nine hundred ordinary miles back East. Just over the edge, a few feet away, there is a rock wall that drops sheer three thousand feet down. Your wondering eyes take in an underworld panorama of towers and pinnacles that stretch to the other rim a dozen miles in a frenzy of color. You are looking, for the first time per haps, at the Grand Canyon of Arizona. Then you zigzag down eight miles of new and safe trail-Hermit Trail-to make camp on the plateau near running water. You are housed over night in a pavilion, the floor of which has been millions of years in the making. Its walls are five thousand feet high, frescoed by the paint-brush of wind and sun and rain. Its ceiling is thick with Arizona stars - bigger, brighter, more numerous than in lower altitudes. You watch the moonbeams traversing crags a mile above, and in the dead of night. You sleep and dream, and dream a;d deep! On the second day you arise early, eat a hasty breakfast of bacon, eggs and coffee, and take the plateau trail to the east, just when your friends on the top of the world are thinking of getting up. By easy stages, with painstaking pack ani mals and seated on an equally patient mule, you make the day's ride, up hill and down, winding in and out, the Colorado River roar ing in the granite gorge to the left and the vast amphitheaters to the right shifting and changing form with the rising sun and your eastward journeying. You camp for the night by the sweet waters of Indian Garden Creek. They lull you to rest. The morning of the third day is the last leg of your pilgrimage, with previous won ders of sky and trail reversed, looking up instead of down, getting geology without teachers, fun without effort, along Bright Angel Trail, a mile upstairs. By noon you are again in the dining-room of El Tovar. Don't you think this three-days' journey down into the earth and back again is worth while? The Hermit Loop camping trip is only one of the many things you may do here. If your time is limited, and only a day can be spared at the Canyon, be sure and devote a part of it to a ride over the rim road, stop ping on the way back to get the sunset view. Sunsets happen everywhere and every day. But the Canyon brand, followed by the Ari zona turquoise afterglow, is in a class by itself. Many like to idle along the rim paths nearer the hotel. That's the privilege of all who want to let the scene " soak in," as it were. Another day profitably can be given to a ride over to Grand View through the pines of Tusayan Forest, or a mule-back experi ence on the twists and zigzags and curves of Bright Angel Trail. The point is, that every day presents something new and worth while. It is to be hoped that your vacation plans include the Grand Canyon. The side trip is easily made by a sixty miles' detour from the main transcontinental line of the Santa Fe at Williams, Arizona. And the extra cost, for railroad fare, is a trifle. If you hap pen to be riding on the California Limited, there's a through sleeper on that crack train for the Canyon, and another ready to step into when journey is resumed. One hesitates to recommend most hotels. One never hesitates to say a good word for El Tovar, that homelike and clublike inn at the railroad terminus on the canyon brink. If less expensive quarters are wanted, what's the matter with Bright Angel Camp, close at hand? Both are under manage ment of Fred Harvey. Travelers through the Southwest don't have to be told anything about Fred Harvey service. If interested even a little bit, won't you take the trouble to write to Mr. W. J. Black, passenger traffic manager of the Santa Fe, at 1082 Railway Exchange, Chicago, U.S.A., and askhimforacopyof anart book, "Titan of Chasms "? The cover is a four-color reproduction of a painting of the Canyon, done by W. R. Leigh, a noted New York artist. One of the articles inside is by Major Powell and another by Charles F. Lummis. Our guess is that this book will make you better acquainted with the grandest of chasms. Intimate acquaint ance only comes with actually seeing the place yourself. "Geographic readers may depend upon the character of our advertisers."