‘Awe-inspiring’ is the word that comes to my mind when I think of the Grand Canyon and it is called so for a good reason. Vision of canyons carved by the mighty Colorado river stretch a vast 200 odd kilometres and its sure to leave you mesmerised.
This summer, I went on a big american road trip from Las Vegas, Nevada to San Francisco, California with my boyfriend and we returned with memories of a lifetime. This post is the first of a series of travel posts about our road trip that I’d like to share with you. It all started with an ‘American Heart Association’ conference in Vegas which we both attended (Yes, for real! Someone came up with the idea of organising a conference in Vegas). Five days in Vegas for the conference were extremely tiring with a busy schedule and the hustle of the most populous city in the world left me extremely exhausted.
My boyfriend fancied driving a Jeep with a four-wheel drive which we picked up from the airport and off we went towards South rim of the Grand Canyon. Before I went on this trip, I did extensive research on which part of GC to go to- The North rim and the South rim are maintained by the National Park Service while the West rim is un by the native Hualapai people. If you are short in time and have just a few hours to peek at what GC looks like, head to the West rim. It is the closest from Vegas if you are heading from that direction. I’ve heard of the ‘Skywalk attraction’ which is very popular with tourists. But, if you are looking for a real park experience and have a few days to spare, head to the north or the south rim. The south rim is more crowded than the north during summer and is also a few degrees warmer due to a difference in elevation. The driving distances between the two (about 4 hours from S-N) make it difficult to visit both if you only have a few days at hand. Mind that accommodation inside the park is booked way in advance during the summer, which is why we had to stay at the nearby town of ‘Flagstaff’.
Once in GC, we received a map and a seasonal newspaper with loads of information about activities at the park.
We walked to the visitors centre to orient ourselves and had a little chat with one of the park rangers who asked, ‘Have you seen it yet?’. We nodded our heads and he told us to walk towards the rim from the visitors centre.
My jaw dropped in astonishment at the first sight of the Grand Canyon. Behind us was a fairly flat land where the national park service made roads and constructed buildings to run the Grand Canyon National Park and in front of us was a marvel of nature- gorges and canyons, high and low, staring at us and spread as far as my eyes could see.
We took a shuttle bus to various view points and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. To connect with the nature around us and to escape a big part of the crowd, we decided to hike the ‘Bright Angel Trail’ the next day. As we headed down the trail, the bright, sunny skies were overtaken by dark clouds with heavy rain. To save ourselves from being hit by thunder, we had to take shelter for over two hours which meant we couldn’t make it to the ‘Indian Gardens’ part of the hike. As we made our way to the 3-mile rest house and back, we encountered just a handful of hikers. We were all by ourselves, surrounded by the grandest of canyons, a few birds and wild deers at times.
What’s better than than watch the sun go down the canyons. We went to the ‘Desert view’ point for sunset which also has a watch tower.
You can get a glimpse of the ‘Colorado river’ in this picture taken after sunset.
Coming up next in the travel series is ‘Bryce Canyon’. Stay tuned!
Have you been to the ‘Grand canyon’? Which activities did you do? To share your experience or to know more information if you are planning a trip, leave a comment.