Visiting the Grand Canyon was a non-negotiable on this part of our holiday. It was something that we had dreamed about and factored into our road trip even after we had revised our route a trillion times. When we discovered that the Grand Canyon National Park was to be closed during the government shutdown, I cried with disappointment. It was unfair – of all the weeks that we could have been in the US and doing this roadtrip, we found ourselves having to find another route and other sights to see. While the US has no shortage of incredible sights, it was still disappointing to think that we’d miss out on the Grand Canyon.
Jez and I boarded the plane from Atlanta to Las Vegas where we were to begin the roadtrip. It was a long flight made longer by my head cold and the prospect of a shortened roadtrip. An hour or so before landing in Las Vegas, the Captain spoke out on the PA urging us all to look out the windows as we were flying over the Grand Canyon. We peered across the guy sitting in the window seat and saw the Grand Canyon from above. I thought to myself that I had at least seen it from the sky.
When the shut down ended, we were overjoyed that we would be able to visit the South Rim of the Canyon park. On the morning of October 17 we woke up, dressed for a day of walking and drove to the entrance where the Ranger was just as excited to see us as we were to see them! We’d decided to walk the South Kaibab Trail down into the canyon and while the boys were adamant they could reach the bottom of the canyon and back in a few hours, we made it to Skeleton Point before turning back. It probably took us about four hours in total.
While walking along the bright red dirt track, passing switchback after switchback and looking down at the perilous drop below, you get a sense of just how tiny you are compared to this vast natural wonder. Rocks the size of small houses were perched above the walking trail and chipmunks searching for food leaped over the bushes that clung to the cliff face. As we ate lunch overlooking the deep ravines, it was pure luck that we were able to catch a glimpse of a helicopter far off in the distance. It was tiny and you couldn’t hear it at all, so big is this Grand Canyon!
It was amazing to see one of the world’s natural wonders.