After our busy day yesterday, today was earmarked as a quiet day, where we could have a lie in, spend some time exploring the “historic village” and drive out to the Desert View Watchtower 30 miles east of Grand Canyon Village.It was around 10am by the time we emerged from the tent into the sunshine. After getting ready and having breakfast we headed towards the “historic village”, which all the bus drivers had talked about.

The Kolb Studio, perched precariously on the cliff, the only place they were given permission to build

We were somewhat disappointed to find that there was one visitor centre/gift shop which talked about the history of Grand Canyon village, and one shop housed in historic Hopi House. The visitor centre was interesting, but small, and we were done pretty quickly and although there is apparently lots of history associated with Hopi House, the whole place is occupied by a large gift shop, so there wasn’t much to see there either. Our final stop in the historic village was the Kolb Photography Studio, opened by the Kolb Brothers in 1904. Disappointingly, the main exhibition area was closed for renovations, something we only found out when we got there. There was a tiny room where some photographs and an old movie projector were displayed, but that was it. Having done everything that the historic village had to offer, we headed back to the campsite to chill out for a few hours before heading over to Desert View for the sunset. At about 5ish, we sorted out the car and headed out towards Desert View. We had planned to stay for sunset, but discovered small print in the visitor guide that said that it closed at 6pm. This changed our plans to stop at the overlooks along the way to take pictures and then to arrive at Desert View for sunset, with the 45 mph speed limit, we would make it just in time to take a few pictures before the watchtower closed for the night.

Somewhat hazy sunset from Lipan Point.

Getting out of the car, we were hit by a powerful gust of wind, and quickly headed towards the shelter of the watchtower, which didn’t actually close until 6.30pm. Unfortunately, the day had become somewhat hazy so the apparently stunning view from the watchtower was not as impressive as it could have been, although there was a pretty good view of the Colorado River. The sun was also in exactly the wrong place for good pictures of the canyon, so all in all it was a bit of a disappointing trip. The watchtower itself was impressive though, built by architect Mary Coulter, responsible for a number of buildings in Grand Canyonvillage as well, it did offer 360 degree views of the canyon, despite the haze. Done with our exploring, we headed back towards Grand Canyon village, in search of a good overlook point for the sunset. We decided on Lipan Point, as did a number of others, and settled down to play Trivial Pursuit on the iPhone until it was time to get out and take pictures. After a few minutes outside we decided it was too cold, especially since all the photos were coming out really badly due to the haze and returned to the car. In the end we opened the sun roof and watched the sunset standing on our seats, looking out of the sunroof to take pictures… at least our legs were warm. After the sun had disappeared completely, we headed back to the campsite and with little else to do in the dark and the cold, we went to bed early.