November 21 – 22, 2014: We started our visit to Grand Canyon National Park at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center on the south rim. Our first view of the canyon was from the Mather Point viewpoint (the most accessible and therefore most touristy). The immense size of the canyon made it more difficult for me to connect with the landscape and appreciate its beauty. At 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep, the canyon is indeed grand!
We then hopped on the orange route shuttle bus to the South Kaibab Trailhead for a hike. We only went about 1.7 miles roundtrip to the Ooh-Aah viewpoint but it gave us a great perspective of what hiking down (and back up) the canyon might be like. The views were spectacular and we even saw a pack of mules headed back out the canyon.
After returning to the visitor center, we proceeded to drive the entire Desert View stretch stopping at various viewpoints along the way. We were able to experience sunset from one of these viewpoints before visiting the watchtower and taking in our final views of the Grand Canyon at the Desert View viewpoint. On our walk back to Camper Dan, we saw a large elk fairly close – what massive antlers!
I’m certainly grateful to have had the Grand Canyon experience however I did enjoy Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park more than Grand Canyon National Park. Perhaps I would feel differently if we had taken the time to hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon because I would then have felt as connected with the landscape as I did at Joshua Tree and Death Valley. I really appreciate when I’m able to feel more immersed in the environment.
We didn’t spend the time at Grand Canyon and instead headed to Page, Arizona (near Lake Powell) for the night so that we can visit Antelope Canyon tomorrow morning.