June 14, 2013

Grand Canyon - Roadtrip Across America part 1

On our move across the country, our first stop was the amazing Grand Canyon where we spent two days (#25 on bucket list that I got to check off! Yay!). 

Day 1:

We left California at around 5am. It took us about 9 hours, including stops, to get there. The drive on the I-40 can be a bit tough, mostly because the terrain and scenery are boring, but we made it! When you enter the park you have to pay $25 per vehicle. The pass is good for up to 7 days.

 We originally wanted to camp at the North Rim because it's known to have less people there, but it was full and it would've added a lot of time to our trip, so we had to go to the South Rim.We made reservations at Mather Campground (you can make reservations online here). When we arrived, the lady who checked us in was really nice. And she was quick! She pulled my husband's name up right away, gave us some directions & we were on our way. 

We got a tent site (nonelectric) and it was about $20 a night (we went in late May, post-Memorial Day). The campground has water, restrooms & pay showers. It's a nice campground that's really well-maintained. It's close to everything and there's even a shuttle stop right in front (& the shuttle is FREE and takes you everywhere around the park).

Mather Campground is also walking-distance to the general store, post-office and a bank. I was able to buy a postcard & stamp at the market & send it to my mom in just minutes. Pretty cool.

After we got our campsite set up, we walked to the rim trail to see the canyon. Right when we saw it, our breaths were literally taken away-- it was such a spectacular sight. Just amazing. I don't think pictures will ever do it justice.

Day 2:

We woke up really early to get some hiking in. We read everywhere that it's better to do your hiking earlier in the day if you're going down in the canyon because it gets really hot during mid-day. We caught the free shuttle from the stop that was just on the other side of the market plaza on the blue line going westbound. We took it all the way to the end where the trailhead was. 

We did the Bright Angel Trail. You can take it all the way down into the canyon, but it's suggested to not do it all in one day. We just went to the 3-mile rest house and went back up. 

The views were incredible. When we were first going, there weren't many people on the trail, but as soon as it hit about 10am, there was a lot of foot traffic. A lot. There was a wide range of people doing the trail. Big, small, old, young, pros, beginners, you name it.

I felt good doing the trail at first because it was just downhill. But then when we were coming back up-- it was tough! It was warmer since it was later in the day by then and it's just uphill switchbacks the whole way.

I'd definitely suggest bringing lots of water (although there are fill-up stations at the 1-mile resthouse and at the 3-mile resthouse), wear light, comfortable clothing, good shoes & a ton of sunblock!

View of Bright Angel Trail from above. 

We were pretty tired (I was exhausted!) after the hike, so we just took the shuttle back to the campground and relaxed for a while. Then we decided to get lunch outside of the park. We drove around looking for a decently priced place to eat (without having to settle for McDonald's or Wendy's-- yuck!). Mexican restaurants were overpriced ($12 for a burrito?! Yeah right!) and so was pizza and steak. 

We finally found RP's Stage Shop. It's located right next to the Wendy's and the National Geographic Visitor's Center. It's a gift shop/internet shop/cafe all in one. We got a roast beef and a pastrami sandwich (which were delicious!) and some coffee. 

In the late afternoon, we headed out to the Rim Trail and hiked to different points for views and to catch the sunset. We heard from the shuttle driver that Mohave Point was the best place to catch the sunset, so that's where we went to see it. It was beautiful and a perfect way to end our trip at the Grand Canyon.

We had such an amazing time at the Grand Canyon and wish we could have spent more time there. I'm so happy and grateful that I was able to see one of the world's natural wonders. It really makes me think about the greatness and beauty of this world and all the things mother nature has to offer.
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1 comment :

  1. Great photos! I really want to go back to the grand canyon - you've inspired me!!!


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