Monday, June 06, 2016

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is a bucket list must for most people. And for good reason, it is one of the natural wonders of the world. Most people don't ever get to see this beautiful wonder. I've been lucky enough to see it not once, but twice!

At 11:45am, we arrived at the Grand Canyon. the Grand Canyon Railway will drop you off at the South Rim of the Canyon. The South Rim is known as the more touristy area, because most of the sights are in the South Rim. If you have the opportunity, I'd suggest visiting the Northern Rim, apparently, it is less crowded and the views are even more spectacular than the South Rim. 

The South Rim did not disappoint though. We had the option to take a tour with the GCR, or use the 3 hours to explore on our own. Instead of paying for a tour, we decided to explore on our own. If you're interested, the tour consisted of spending 90 mins on a bus, and then you get an hour of free time. Since we weren't taking a tour, AmberRose, our wonderful guide from the Grand Canyon Railway suggested that we hike up to the Visitor Center and then take one of the free shuttle buses down.
It was the perfect day to visit the Canyon. The sun was shinning, but there were clouds, to keep you cool. In my opinion, it actually made the pictures look fake!

We ended up spending more time at the GC Village, in awe of the canyon.  Most of the touristy things are at the Village center, Hopi House, Lookout studio, El Touvar Hotel. Since we were starving (Drew knows that I will be extremely cranky if my blood sugar drops), we wanted to grab some food, there isn't many places to grab and go, but if you're looking for a place to eat, the Village is the place you'll find the place. (If I thought about it more, I would've packed a lunch, to not only save some money, but also to save some time waiting in lines.  (*Side Note: When visiting make sure to bring a reusable water bottle, there are free water stations throughout the park, the water is ice cold and perfect on a hot day!)

We ended up changing our plans, instead of hiking to the Main Visitor Center, we took the shuttle bus (the shuttles are free throughout the canyon) to the Grand Market (to pick up some souvenirs) then took the bus to the Main Visitor Center, and hiking back to the Village.  In my opinion, this is the way to do it. There is no shuttle lane that will let you see the canyon from the comfort of a bus. 

 You won't get these views on a bus!

But the best part about hiking from the Main Visitor Center, you are literally hiking down the whole way. From the Village Center you are hiking upwards. My dislike of hiking up hill, is just as high as my dislike for stairs. (Thankfully there weren't any stairs)

The hike from the Main Visitor Center to the Village is only about 2 miles. Although, it took us about an hour to hike back down, but one of us *cough Drew cough* were busy stopping to take pictures, climb rocks, take detours, you know the usual. I'm sure people could actually do the hike in about 35 mins, but then you wouldn't be able to stop and enjoy the views. Towards the end we were running out of time and had to pick up the pace. Even though I was flustered and starting to get irate, we made it back in time! It would've been a very expensive ride back to Williams if we didn't make it!

But what's a visit to the Grand Canyon if you're not stopping  for pictures? At one point, we even ventured off the pathway, closer to the edge. Unless you have really good shoes, I wouldn't suggest this. We had an incident where Drew lost his water bottle, not because he was doing anything dangerous, he picked up his bag to move it and his water bottle just fell out of his bag. 

He was pretty bummed about it, but I told him we'd get him a new water bottle. That's just the price you pay for venturing off into the wild. Keep that in mind when travelling, the views are worth it but you might lose something.

I wish we could've stayed a few more days at the Grand Canyon. There's so much to see and do. If you've got the time here's a list of things to do in the area.
+ White Water Rafting in the CO River
+ Mule Rides
+ Hiking
+ Ranger Shows (for the kids)
+ Rent bikes and ride along the South Rim
+ North Rim (Only open May 15-October 15)
+ Havasupai Waterfalls on the Havasupai Tribe Grounds (Drew really wanted to see this, but they book up 13 months in advance!)

I'm glad I got to visit the Grand Canyon again. Taking the train to see the Grand Canyon was the perfect way to visit. It allowed us to rest and relax after 3 hours of being on the go. I hope to visit it again one day. Maybe this next time I'll be able to stay for longer than a day, and be able to ride a Mule into the heart of the Canyon!