Isn’t Life Grand

I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon before and since I’ve been in Flagstaff for the summer, which is only 75 miles away from the south rim, I definitely had to make the trip before I went home. Since my time in Flagstaff is coming to an end I’ve been trying to make sure I see all the places that I wanted to before I leave. About a week ago on Saturday I had gone to Walnut Canyon in the morning, it’s just outside of Flagstaff and has a bunch of Native ruins that you can see in the canyon. It was really cool because the were literally on the edge of the cliffs, those people must have been amazing climbers.

Walnut Canyon, can you spot the ruins?

Walnut Canyon, can you spot the ruins?

Afterwards I made my way out to the Grand Canyon. It was a gorgeous day out so it was perfect to be outside all day. I got to the park around 3 in the afternoon and fortunately managed to find a parking spot right away. Since I was getting there pretty late in the day I didn’t want to walk down any of the trails so I had decided to just walk along the Rim trail. I started from the visitors center and when I walked out to the lookout that first view was absolutely stunning. It’s really incredible how huge the canyon is, it seems to go forever in every direction. The colors were beautiful on the canyon walls and with the sun and clouds there were great shadows playing across the canyon.IMAG2200 IMAG2204

There were a ton of people at the first lookout and along that section of the trail right near the visitors center but after I got a little ways past that there were fewer people, which is really nice. At least in my opinion it’s more enjoyable when there aren’t a million people around. I ended up walking between 8-9 miles along the Rim trail before stopping at The Abyss to watch the sunset. There were only 2 other people there so it was really nice and I thought it was a great view. It was totally relaxing.

The Abyss

The Abyss

Sunset pictures are hard on phone cameras, someday I'll graduate to a real camera

Sunset pictures are hard on phone cameras, someday I’ll graduate to a real camera

Except after the sun was down and it got much colder and the shuttle that was supposed to come every 30 minutes didn’t show up for an hour. So if you’re ever in the Grand Canyon around sunset, be prepared for the Red line shuttle to not show up! It’s best to be at a stop that runs East and Westbound because then you have twice as many opportunities to hop on a shuttle. I eventually made it back to my car though and I was totally worn out. Since it’s “dark sky” at the Grand Canyon it’s a great place to see the stars. It was totally clear out and gorgeous. I made it home but was already planning another trip back.

The next Wednesday I was off of work so I headed back to the Grand Canyon. It’s $25 per car for entrance and it’s good for one week, which seems super cheap to me so that was great. This time I left around 5:30am and was at the Grandview trailhead by 7am. My CI at FMC had told me that Grandview is one of her favorite trails because it has great views and way less people than Bright Angel or Kaibab. I only planned to go about a mile down the trail, so nothing too tough. There were a couple people at the lookout, but there was no one on the trail till I was coming back and a few people were at the top. I didn’t really think the views would be that much different just a mile into the canyon than they were at the top but it really was so amazing to actually go into the canyon even just a little ways. Grandview trail was an old mining trail and it isn’t a maintained trail like some of the others so it’s a little more rough. I thought it was great though, it feels like an actual hike, not a well made trail in a park. The trail was great with the stone and wood steps down the trail. The views were gorgeous all around. I was so happy I was able to go in the canyon just a little bit and enjoy another part of the vast expanse of the canyon. I really am hoping to be able to take a full trip into the canyon someday and actually go all the way down to the river and camp, it would be absolutely amazing.

The trail

The trail

Early AM selfie

Early AM selfie

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After my short hike on the Grandview trail I finished the last few miles on the Rim trail so I could complete the whole thing. I drove from the Graindview trail back to the visitors center (parking was so easy that early on a Wednesday morning). I walked about 2 miles to the East end of the Rim trail down to South Kaibab and walked just a little ways down that trail. I think that’s one of the shortest routes down to the river, but much steeper than Bright Angel. I got to see a couple of park rangers coming back up with some of the pack mules. I think a mule trip down the canyon would be so fun! Then I just took the Orange line shuttle the to the last stop on that side to Yaki point before heading back to catch the Blue line and then Red line back out to The Abyss where I had ended the other day. From there I walked the rest of the trail to Hermit’s Rest before taking the shuttle back to my car to head home. I was so happy to have a second day to explore a little more and it was totally worth the trip.

Mules coming up South Kaibab

Mules coming up South Kaibab

Mid afternoon selfie? I took so many pictures at so many places in the canyon I can't remember the specific places

Mid afternoon selfie? I took so many pictures at so many places in the canyon I can’t remember the specific places

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Spot the Colorado River

Spot the Colorado River

Hermit's Rest, my last stop on the RIm trail. My 2nd phone battery died right after this

Hermit’s Rest, my last stop on the RIm trail. My 2nd phone battery died right after this

  • Also if you go to the Grand Canyon PICK UP YOUR TRASH! I didn’t see a lot while I was there, but any trash at all on the trails is ridiculous.
  • There are all sorts of people there so you can try and pick up on peoples conversations if you know a foreign language, or you can just giggle at some of the outfits people wear, I saw so many girls in heels, dresses, and skirts! It’s a pretty good cultural education and definitely very interesting.
  • Be nice and don’t crowd the trail! I had so many people just about walk straight into me even though I was trying to walk to the very edge to give them space, don’t expect people to always give you space to get around them

When I was planning to go to the Grand Canyon I just kept thinking about The Guilt Trip when they go to the Grand Canyon. “ I always wanted to see the Grand Canyon. How long are we supposed to look at it?” “10 minutes? It would be disrespectful to look at it any less than that.”

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