Our granddaughter, Noelle, finally attained the age at which she could accompany us on an inter-generational Elderhostel (Grand Canyon: A Family Adventure). After a brief visit with family in Albuquerque, we took the scenic route to California to fetch her.

Credits: photos marked [N] are by Noelle, others are by Marilyn or me.

Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona ranges from Kaibab limestone to permian red sandtones.

The Jerome Grand Hotel had a fine bar (the Asylum), but did not allow canine tenants. We drove on to the Hassayampa Inn in Prescott, where we dined at Prescott Brewing. On to CA!

After treating us to a fine breakfast, Valerie opened her pool for a family swim.

Our scenic route to Peach Springs took us by Big Bear Lake.

We christened this formation near Needles "Flip Off Peak".

The Elderhostel was hosted at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn and Restaurant on Old Route 66. This roadside attraction, (previously Dinosaur Caves), had a model T-Rex outside the restaurant.

The Caverns were dry, with small fragile gypsum formations [N], selenite crystals, and ...

tiny, delicate helictites. These caverns are not as spectacular as Carlsbad, Lehman Caves or Kartchner Caverns State Park.

Among the fun activities was tie-dying T-shirts. Hung on a line, they resembled Buddhist Prayer Flags.

The kids were pleased to find a cap with faux hair on the top. It filled in the Program Leader's (Mike's) bald spot, and came in a color that matched his pony tail, so we got one for him =>

Our field trip to the Colorado River took us across the Hualapai Reservation to Diamond Creek, through the lower strata of the Grand Canyon (Redwall Limestone to Vishnu Schist). The road is often impassable since it shares Peach Springs Canyon with a creek.

Mike found a Horned Lizard that he placed on his shirt while he told us about flora, fauna, and geology.[N]

The lizard climbed to the warmest spot available--up Mike's pony tail to the top of his "Faux Hawk", where it nestled in.

At a Colorado River beach (up from Diamond Creek), the warm weather encouraged water fights--a fine way to cool off! Here, Ron lands a shot on Mike.

The Grand Canyon Caverns Inn's swimming pool provided an easy way for kids to clean off after the muddy Colorado River water fights.

The Inn also had a playground where kids could burn off excess energy in their few moments of free time. [N]

The next day featured a trip to a real working ranch (Willows Ranch). Here, cowboy Mike tells kids how to approach a horse. All the kids got short rides around the corral.

Participants also learned to lasso stationary critters. Steve shows Noelle how to make a loop. Later, their skills were tested when they had to rope one-another for prizes.

It is hard to beat a day that ends with S'mores over a campfire!

A highlight of the Elderhostel was a river trip from Diamond Creek (mile 225) down to South Cove on Lake Mead (weather prevented a planned helicopter ride out at mile 261). These 25 HP J-rigs took us on a wet and wild ride--instead of avoiding holes in rapids, they just plowed through, to accompanying screams! The total ride ended up being about 71 miles.

A hike up Travertine Grotto (mile 229.5) lead to a delightful waterfall, where people could cool off, clean up and take a boatman's shower =>

The rope for a rope ladder to Travertine Falls was anchored through a hole in the Redwall Limestone! Algae in the warm water made the limestone very slippery, so rope assists were useful.

Five to seven bighorn sheep grazed above the river-their protective coloration makes them difficult to spot. Click the photo above for a magnified view.

Abrasive water has cut flutes in the granites. They sing when the wind whistles around the bend.

Even 3-foot tubes can't keep out splashes when the boat hits cruising speed going down-river. [N] We stayed wet and cool.

As a storm rolled in and the air-temperature dropped, our boatman provided a tarp, snacks, and sodas to keep us from getting too cool.

Evan seemed fascinated by mud. He jumped in it at any chance-perhaps to field-test his new river sandals?

One of our rafts developed engine problems (above), so our guide replaced it with a spare motor from our raft. Since the replacement had not been tested, the passengers on that raft walked around the bad rapid (4/6) below Pearce Ferry to give the (lighter) boat a better chance of motoring through (mile 280.8-below):

We passed tilted beds of Supai Group sandstones and limestones in Iceberg Canyon-a half-mile displacement on an oblique slip-fault. Note the high water mark.

A long bus trip on jarring dirt roads followed our delightful river trip down canyon. We arrived at the Hualapai Lodge for a late dinner at a Mexican buffet. The next morning, our leaders handed out certificates of achievement to all the kids; members of the Elderhostel group said their goodbyes and headed out. We went to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to spend the night, so we could see the top strata (Kaibab limestone down to Supai).

Rapids on the Colorado River were visible from Mohave Point.

Gramps and Noelle worked on coloring a stratigraphic column while waiting to dine at El Tovar.

A herd of large elk browsed the El Tovar lawn at sunrise.

Later, we stopped at Mather point on the way out of the Park =>

After returning Noelle to her parents, we returned home via La Posada in Winslow.