Monday, September 28, 2015

The Grand Canyon :: aka Wow

This is incredibly indicative of my nature, but I worried about our Grand Canyon plans for weeks before leaving. We would only have a few hours there, and I didn't want to blow our opportunity to really experience the natural world wonder. I was concerned that we would have unrealistically high expectations and be disappointed after viewing it from the parking lot or a crowded overlook. Thank goodness we're only about a 4 hour drive away, so we should be able to visit again.

After our Arizona road trip and a stop in Las Vegas, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon. Everyone says it, but it really is one of those places you need to see with your own eyes. I also tend to say this about a number of places, but pictures and videos really don't do it justice. I hope my pictures do this beautiful place at least a little justice or maybe even make you want to visit for yourself!

The night before our Grand Canyon visit, we spent the night at a hotel in Tusayan, Arizona. It's just a couple miles south of the southern entrance gate. It killed me being so close to the Grand Canyon and having to wait until morning to actually leave the hotel and see it. Patience may not be one of my strengths, especially when it comes to travel. What can I say? I want to do it all and with a limited amount of time.

Driving into the Grand Canyon from the south, we were pleasantly surprised at the number of trees and how lush the plant life seemed. I guess I have no idea what we were expecting. You tend to imagine Arizona as simply a desert filled with cacti, dirt, and various other shades of brown. However, you'll find the landscape varies tremendously, especially in the northern mountains of the state. The 48th state has been surprising us since we moved here.

We drove into Grand Canyon National Park, purchased our National Park annual pass and proceeded a parking lot near the main visitor center. All along we're wondering when are we going to see this incredible canyon. We made a stop at the visitor center and gift shop before proceeding down the trail to one of the many overlooks.

We wound our way through the trees and followed signs to the canyon. I couldn't help but wonder how much further until we could see it. (Patience is a virtue.) Then all of a sudden the trees ended and, bam!, there it was. There we were standing in front of the Grand Canyon itself. I can honestly say it took my breath away. Even our 16 month old could sense the wonder of it, because he repeatedly hollered "wow" with amazement. All my worrying about where to park, hike, overlook didn't matter anymore. We were there standing in front of one of the grandest sights in all the world. It was incredible.

Utilizing all of your senses is a must when visiting the Grand Canyon. The sound of the blowing wind next to the giant chasm is indescribable. The sound masks all the noises of daily distraction. No horns honking, planes flying, or phones ringing. When the wind blows and you're standing next to the Grand Canyon, all you hear is the thoughts in your head. That can be a good or bad thing, but I think it helps you really take in the sights.

I wish we would have had more time at the Grand Canyon. That tends to be a theme when we travel. There never seems to be enough time. Such is life though. We enjoyed the little time we did have. Even the littlest adventurer among us seemed to enjoy shaking fences while shouting his amazement into the canyon.

It blows me away that we heard multiple different languages and accents while walking the canyon trails. People from all over the world stop to get a look at this wonder, and all too often we take these types of places for granted. They are right underneath our noses, and we often don't make the time to see the beauty of our own country.

Every now and then we caught a glimpse of the Colorado River down below. It's sometimes too easy to forget that a river, plenty of passing time, and the forces of mother nature shaped this place. The Grand Canyon doesn't give credit to any human for shaping, creating, building, or forging it. Man has designed and built some pretty spectacular things, but natural wonders like the Grand Canyon exist outside of man. Quite simply, it's a place to be enjoyed and experienced.

We walked a rather small portion of trail along the canyon rim, and it's shocking to think that plenty of people make the hike down into the canyon each year. I'm sure that experience is something completely different and one for the record books. Maybe some day we'll tackle the trails leading down into the canyon, but for now we have visions from atop the canyon seared into our memories. Our little guy probably won't remember our visit, but we have pictures to prove he was there.

Thanks for reading!

If you've never visited the Grand Canyon in person,
I hope you'll get to see it some day.


  1. First, I love that you're blogging again! Second, the Grand Canyon is truly amazing. I've only been once, but I can't wait to take Emerson there one day.

    1. Thanks Tiara! It's funny getting back into blogging again. I've been gone so long. :-) I'm sure Emerson will love the Grand Canyon. She seems like quite the outdoors girl. Thanks for checking in and reading!

  2. Oh my goodness! Yay!! So exciting! It's my turn to live vicariously!! I can NOT wait to get to the Grand Canyon, but I have a feeling it will be a while. The pictures look stunning, but you are so right, in person is just such a different experience. Until then I will just come and look at these pictures and wish myself there. I am so glad you guys were able to explore and take it all in for a little bit. Happy Monday!

    1. It was quite the experience! For now, I hope you enjoy pictures of it. You'll get to to see the Grand Canyon eventually... do put it on your list. :-) I hope you had a fun time seeing the mermaids this past weekend!