Every item of breakfast in the Bright Angel coffee bar heavily packaged. Listless girls operating the till needed telling several times that the plastic spoons over there really had run out. And we needed them. Another stereotype falls – ‘service’ is often non-existent. Not a “have a nice day” in sight this morning, still less a smile.
TV Weather lady on the wall warms us the weather is about to change: “So enjoy the unseasonably cool temperatures while they last”.
Our route east stays inside the park for 27 miles with numerous beautifully constructed viewing points along the rim. We work out that from here at 7,000 feet the Colorado river a vertical mile below us still has a vertical half-mile to fall before it reaches the sea. It all takes a lot of imagining.
In every stunning view the evidence shouts at us that if all these rock strata were really put there by God six thousand years ago it wasn’t just to look pretty.
This entirely-coherent and fully-understandable story of how they could have been laid down, moulded, and eroded by natural processes would all have had to be invented at the same time.
All in a day’s work if you are omnipotent, I suppose. But if anything was ever ‘blasphemous’ it is surely the idea that a good (same word) god set up this infinitely complicated train of evidence knowing it would trick innocent people into damnation simply for daring to trust their God-given powers of observation and deduction.
This notion is even more preposterous than Global Warming Denial. But it is the same syndrome and the two often coexist. Both are intolerable at this juncture when we so desperately need our rationality.
And so to another natural wonder, also steeped in fascinating explanation: Monument Valley. Owned and managed by the Navajo nation.
Those cars down there are on the circular track we followed.
The road on to Bluff continued through miles of amazing eroded strata in gorgeous, rich colours. But all utterly arid and inhospitable to life.
The new, luxurious hotel in Bluff has everything big again. Well watered Judas trees in healthy bloom. Where does Bluff get its water? There’s a river back there. That’s a good start.
Superb service from pretty, smiling waitress in the attached restaurant. No, we don’t serve alcohol. But the food is good.
It is. Best so far. And beautifully presented. Big circular tables. Heavy, ornate chairs.
And we’ve come forward an hour again – Utah observes Daylight Saving Time. It’d been like that all day and we hadn’t noticed.