Grand Canyon Road Trip

“Do nothing to mar its grandeur, for the ages have been at work upon it and man cannot improve it. Keep it for your children, your children’s children and all who come after you.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

My husband, Adam, and I woke up to a chilly morning in Flagstaff. The Grand Canyon was our destination and we both were eager with anticipation to get on the road headed north, but first we needed breakfast. And coffee.

We enjoyed La Quinta’s continental breakfast then packed up and hit the road. After a few wrong turns, from lack of solid navigation skills on my part, we found the start of our route on 180 N. We were only 80 miles from one of the few named natural Wonders of the World.

The drive was less than exciting, as the landscape left much to yearn for. Scarce trees and scrub brush were all the eye could see. I searched hard, hoping for a glimpse of the canyon, but it remained elusive.

The Grand Canyon National Park is very easy to navigate. We pulled through the tolls to pay our $25 entry fee (the pass is good for a week) and parked in a well equipped parking lot. At this point I had yet to see a sneak preview of the canyon. I thought “it must not be too grand if I can’t even find it!”. I was wrong. We headed down a walking trail that sounded promising and came face to face with the huge, magnificent Grand Canyon.

I stood in awe. My first words were

“holy…canyon…”

I had seen photos, I had heard stories of its beauty, but until I stood at its edge, I never understood the true grandeur of The Grand Canyon. We hiked along the rim and took time for both gazing and contemplation. The true reason for the canyon’s existence is somewhat of a mystery, and I find that intriguing. Every twist and turn along the path revealed a new perspective. It seemed to go on forever. If I didn’t know better, I would think that beyond the canyon’s rim lays the edge of the world.

Aside from just phenomenal views, Grand Canyon National Park offers visitors a welcoming experience. Lodging, restaurants, shops, and tourist information were all readily available and accessible. Shuttles loop around the park taking visitors to all amenities and to hiking trails not accessible by car. We utilized the park’s shuttles to take us to the west side of the south rim and to lunch at the Maswik Lodge Cafeteria. Many of the park’s restaurants, including the cafeteria, offer great gluten free options.

We spent the night with friends of ours from Scottsdale at Mather Campground. I was apprehensive about tent camping in October (the forecast was 30 degrees overnight) yet I have no regrets as the experience was priceless. The facilities were immaculate and the campsites were beautiful. We camped quite comfortably thanks to our friends who turned out to be professional campers. They packed and planned for all things camping and even pitched our tent for us. All we had to bring was wood for the fire and a bottle of whisky, both of which kept us warm through the cold night.

Grand Canyon National Park had been on our “must see” list for years and was well worth the wait. The views were unbelievable and I felt energized by the pure grandeur of the canyon. The true greatness of the Grand Canyon cannot be described with words or comprehended from a photo. I feel lucky to have access to the beauty of the Grand Canyon, and all of our National Parks. I hope to revisit the canyon again.

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