First of all, my apologies to the Grand Canyon. When I did a story a year ago on Favorite National Parks it didn’t even make my list! (See that story here )
Boy was I wrong! Honestly I’d only been to the Grand Canyon once before, some 20 years earlier and it was mostly a drive-by affair. (I don’t think I’m alone in this.) Yes, it was beautiful. But after spending three days at the Canyon last week, I realize you need adequate time to be properly impressed by its splendor. You need to see it from all vantage points and at different times of day. After doing so, I have a greater appreciation of that Grandest of Canyons and it will now find its way near the top of my list of favorite National Parks. Here’s why.
We woke up and watched the sun breaking over the Canyon at Mather Point. It was wonderful.
The South Rim Trail
We spent time walking on the Rim Trail, stopping at overlooks to gaze and ponder; reading the signs and touching the rocks that are over a billion years old. We watched for birds and wildlife, while respecting the canyon and minding our step on the trail. This is nature and it’s wild. (And mostly no guard rails in case you wondered.)
We were fortunate to see a group of Desert Bighorn Sheep hanging out on the cliffs below the rim, nimble-footed, and not afraid of the edge like we were.
We stopped by the Bright Angel Trail, where the really brave folks can ride a mule to the bottom of the canyon. Not us.
Historic Structures and Museums
And we visited many beautiful structures blending into the desert surroundings and reflecting native culture. At the Hopi House you can shop for authentic Native American art and jewelry. A National Historic Landmark, it was designed by architect Mary Colter in 1905, and modeled after buildings at an ancient Hopi Indian village.
And we visited the Lookout Studio, also designed by Mary Colter to resemble the stone dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan tribes of the Southwest.
To the east of the Canyon Village at Desert View, we entered the 70 ft. Watchtower, another Colter design that re-creates the towers built by native peoples. Here were the best views of the Colorado River flowing through the Canyon.
And don’t forget Sunset!
Our first night in the Canyon, we watched the rock begin to glow as the sun went down at Mather Point.
The next night we headed to Yaki Point where we watched as the colors radiated and deepened until they were out of this world!
The Grand Canyon. One of earth’s most inspiring landscapes, displaying billions of years of history in its layered rocks, 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. Grand indeed. Why not go see for yourself?