5.5 long hours after departing Vegas, we rolled up to the
gate of Grand Canyon National Park, paid our
$25 bucks, and started craning our necks to catch a glimpse of the canyon. We
pulled into the information center and got out of the car only to be blasted by
60 kph winds. Woah! And we were going to walk around the rim with this going
on? Yeah, of course. And off we went. And then… wow. Wow. Ah, wow. I started
snapping pics before I even got to a lookout. The sky was blue, the clouds were
fluffy, and the canyon stretched on in an endless array of colors, layers, and
bottomless trenches. The word ‘grand’ seems quite insufficient in the face of
the enormity of the awesomeness that is this work of nature.
After clambering around some cliff faces a bit off the rim
where all of the ‘smart tourists’ refused to go for fear of falling and the
ensuing painful death, we headed to one of the mainstays of the Grand Canyon
park lodges, the Bright Angel lodge, located at the foot of the Bright Angel
Trail, the most popular trail leading into the canyon (excuse the longest
I had looked at lodging in the town outside the park but
couldn’t find anything under $150. I’d never even thought about trying ‘in’ the
park as I thought it’d be too expensive. I gave it a shot, though, and found
ONE room available in the month of April and at the steal of a price of $79,
And it happened to be when we would be there. Score!
The lodge was a pretty cool place and the room was nice.
Looking out our window we could see a part of the Grand
Canyon. Doesn’t get much better than that! We decided to hike down
into the canyon a bit for more photo ops as the sun began to wane and the
colors of the sky and canyon took on more vivid hues of red and blue. We hiked
down for about 30 minutes, from time to time encountering the intrepid souls
who did a top to bottom hike in one day (despite the myriad of warning signs
preaching certain death to any that tried! (Seriously)).. One guy had done it in
ten hours and two ladies had done it in 12. They all looked like they were
about to keel over but their smiles of elation were evident even through the
physical suffering. A few looks at them sealed our decision to take it easy
that day and only go about a kilometer down. We planned to do a 10km roundtrip hike
the next morning and were thinking our route would give us a view of the mighty
With that plan set, we hiked
back out to watch the sunset from the rim. An incredible day and one we were
sure we could duplicate again the next day.
But that didn’t happen.
We awoke at the crack of dawn to freezing temperatures and a
blustery wind pushing 50 kph. We walked/shuffled/huddled about a kilometer
along the rim to get a view of the Eastern sky and sat for an hour or so as the
sky became awash with pink and orange and blue. Thinking we needed to dethaw
and sleep a bit more, we headed back to bed.
I got up at 8am ready for the hike and took a look outside.
There was a blizzard. Seriously.
I walked outside and ducked through the snowflakes to take a
look at the canyon, or rather, where it was supposed to be. All I saw was a
massive white fog/cloud. Where’d it go!?! We decided the hike was probably off
but we still hoped to catch a Native American dance at 1:00 so decided to just
piddle around until then. But then it started hailing. And then we called it a
We were a bit sad our GC trip was cut short, but still
elated about the wonderful time we had the day before.
In all seriousness, the Grand Canyon is surely the most impressive natural wonder
I’ve ever encountered. Aside from Petra
(which I don’t think will ever be eclipsed), this is one of the most amazing
sites I’ve seen on a list of truly mind-blowing sites. Ji and I both want to
return to do a proper bottom hike sometime in the near future. I’m already
looking forward to it!
So without further ado, we hopped back in the car for the
5.5 hour trip to Vegas. Through the blizzard. And the blizzard was going full
bore. The salt ice plow truck things were out on the roads in force so we had
no mishaps and eventually descended back into the arid plains of western
Arizona and out of crazy late April snow storms. It was… odd.
Back to Vegas by 5 pm and into our new hotel, the ImperialPalace. One and half more days until our
Vegas trip was all wrapped up. We’d have to make it count.