Grand Canyon Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
I hate flying, but I love travelling, so it's a necessary evil. Not only does the sensation of flying make me afraid and uncomfortable, there seems to be something decidedly unnatural about flying in an airplane. Road trips can be a pain in the butt, too, but it feels more...natural (for lack of a better word) to be on a road trip. You see the landscape rolling by beside you, you feel more like you're a part of the Earth, as opposed to being suspended in limbo in an aerodynamic aluminum tube 35,000 feet above the ground. I got an Ipod in the spring, so it passes the time more quickly. But I used to wonder in the past while flying if I would plummet to my death at any moment. Now, I wonder what song I'll be listening to if I plummet to my death.
I'd wanted to see the Grand Canyon my entire life, but for various reasons, I'd never gotten around to going. My brother went when I was studying abroad and I could never find anyone else who wanted to go. So, I finally said screw it and went on my own. I used my friends Mike & Megan's place in Albuquerque as a starting point, rented a car and drove the 6 hours to the Grand Canyon. Arriving midday on a Saturday, I hiked until dark, for miles along the rim trail and about a mile down into the canyon itself. On Sunday, I took a more leisurely shuttle ride and relaxed and enjoyed some of the lookout points without really exerting myself.
The Grand Canyon was everything I hoped it would be. Words fail to describe it. Hell, pictures even fail to describe it. No matter how panoramic your camera can get, it still won't convey the width and depth of the thing. And I never realized until I hiked there how easy it is to die there. I knew intellectually that the altitude (8,000 ft. above sea level) and the dryness would affect me, but I didn't truly understand how much it would until I experienced it. As a below sea level dweller, I got thirsty and tired really fast. I can't even imagine how people hike in the summer when the altitude/dryness factors are the same and it's 100+ degrees outside (it was in the 30s and 40s when I went).
Being from a humid city like New Orleans, the dryness greatly affected me, too. My skin dried out like it never has before in my life and my lips chapped like they never have before. Even when I got back to Albuquerque (which is 5-6000 ft. above sea level), it didn't let up. Lotion, chaptstick, lotion, repeat several times a day.
In Albuqerque, the biggest highlight (aside from seeing my friends) was the Sandia Mountains (between 10,500 an 11,000 ft. above sea level). Mike & I took the world's longest airborne tram to the top of the mountain than hiked for a couple of miles on trails until we reached the peak, which was breathtaking.
Then I got to brave the Thanksgiving airport traffic for the trip home! Thankfully, there were only minimal delays (considering the zoo that was Albuquerque and Dallas airports, it could have been a lot worse).