Saturday, October 19, 2019

One of the Wonders of the World

My trip to the Grand Canyon began in Phoenix, Arizona where I flew in to stay with my Moroccan sister, Rababe. We rented a car in Tempe and headed out on our Arizona road trip. It would first take us to Sedona (more later), but eventually we made it to the Grand Canyon.

We waited in a short line of cars to pay our $35 entry fee, which would be good for 7 days. Our first stop was the super busy (at least the parking lot) visitors center so we could get our bearings within the park. I'd done some research and solicited some advice from friends, but without being there it's hard to make a concrete plan. We first headed to Mather Point, 5 minutes from the  visitors center and the most popular outlook of the canyon. Once we headed to the edge, I grabbed Rababe's hand in joy. This was it! The Grand Canyon.

Grand it is. I was completely mesmerized by the view. The colors and the patterns are simply majestic. It's unreal to think about how this was formed. It's impossible to comprehend, so it's best to just admire and awe in the grandiose view of this incredible natural wonder.
We then traveled to the market and the village. There was some shopping and sightseeing there. It seemed necessary to get the full experience, plus we had lots of time. We knew we had a second day here so we headed out of the park about 5:00. We were staying in Williams for a couple of nights. (More later)

When we discussed how we wanted to spend our second day we decided we wanted to catch a sunset at the Canyon, so we headed there later in the day. We parked at the village and took one of the 4 free shuttle bus tours on the red loop, to the east of the park. We got off a few stops in and wanted to walk a couple miles on the Rim Trail. Once we found a nice spot we camped out there and awaited the sunset. It was early at 6:07pm. We had a peaceful time.

We got on the shuttle back at a good time to beat the rush of the many other people needing rides back after watching the sunset too. This is a pretty popular activity at the park.

Now that I've been there I feel full of advice so here it is!

1) I recommend staying overnight in Williams, AZ. This town is called "Gateway to the Grand Canyon". It was one hour drive to the park on a simple, straight road. There is lodging in the park as well as in the village of Tusayan (5 minutes from park entrance), but Williams is likely the least expensive option and it offers a fun and interesting side experience. It's located on historic Route 66 and the town plays up this distinction well.

2) If you are not up for any kind of major hiking (descending into the canyon) or you are not prepared with proper food, water, and gear-walk the Rim Trail. It's a long trail that literally outlines the upper rim of the canyon. You can walk for hours with the canyon directly to the side of you, seeing various different views of the Canyon along the way. It is paved in spots and is dirt in spots. It's perfectly marked and easy to enjoy.

3) If you just choose to hit hot spots walk down the Rim Trail a bit at those hot spots. That way you can get away from the majority of people and experience the Canyon without a railing. Just don't fall in!