Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Day in Grand Canyon South Rim

I promise I will do my best not to overwhelm you with the amount of Grand Canyon pictures, especially since I took about 1200 of them. I could not stop, the view was so... unbelievable? unreal? breath taking? I'm , for once, in loss for words. It's hard to imagine that 6,000,000 years ago, the Grand Canyon was a leveled surface. And it's amazing how Colorado River, earthquakes, and rain could carve this beauty. 

I honestly wish we could stay in Grand Canyon a little longer, because there are lots of things to do ~ hiking, bike riding, taking a helicopter tour, or riding a mule. Ideally, my itinerary would be like this: arrive to Williams, spend a night, take the train to the Grand Canyon, spend night or two in the park to enjoy it fully, and then take the train back to Williams...

What to do in the Grand Canyon if you only have a day? 

Visit the Visitor Center to talk to a ranger. It was the first thing we did. I mean, Grand Canyon is 18 miles long, so we needed some guidance. The ranger gave us a few suggestions and showed a few places on the map, but the most important advice the ranger gave us was don't try to see it all. Just try to absorb what you see. 

Stroll the rim trail. The ranger was absolutely right. Every part of Grand Canyon is amazing and, in addition to this, it is different at different times of the day. So we decided to take a walk along the rim and even a small hike down. 

Sit quietly near the canyon rim and look, listen, smell, and feel. To me, it is not as much about how Grand Canyon looks, but about how Grand Canyon makes you feel. 

Grand Canyon is very... grand, and it felt amazing just to sit quietly near the canyon rim and look, listen, smell, and feel. How does the wind sound? How does the air smell? 

I was humbled and truly felt part of the Universe... I am small, life is short, and, honestly, not very complicated. I breath in, I breath out. I just am.
Enroll your kids in the Junior Ranger program (if you are traveling with kids, that is!). You can do it at the Visitor Center, and the program is free. Your kids will be given a Junior Ranger Activity book, a great guide to explore and learn fun facts about Grand Canyon. At the end of the day, they earn a cool badge.

Attend the Park Ranger Program. There are a few lectures that park rangers offer throughout the day, and most of them take place outdoors. We chose to attend Raptors in Flight lecture, and headed to Yaki Point, a beautiful spot where California Condors love to hang out during this time of the year when raptors migrate over Grand Canyon.  

Did you know that raptors' grip strength is 400 lb per square inch (psi), while the human's grip strength is... 20 lb psi? Yikes! 
California Condors, with wingspan reaching up to 10 feet, were amazing! 
Visit (or stay at) the world renown El Tovar Hotel, an architectural jewel of the Grand Canyon. It hosted Theodore Roosevelt, President Clinton, and Albert Einstein. Constructed of native stone and Oregon pine, and resembling the European hunting lodges (not that I could ever understand hunting as a sport!), El Tovar offers only 78 rooms which, depending on time of the year, can be very pricy.
Dining in the El Tovar Dining Room, however, is a very affordable and wonderful experience. Food is delicious, service is impeccable, and the view you won't get anywhere else. 
Dress in layers: The weather in Grand Canyon can be very extreme, so knowing the forecast before packing for Grand Canyon is very important. 

Well, I don't do well in heat, and one of the reasons why I love traveling in October is the fall weather - not too hot and not too cold, just perfect. So, traveling to Grand Canyon in October is very recommended! 

A bottle of water, sunscreen, chopstick, a pair of aviators, a tee, quilted vest, jeans and booties made me a very comfortable and happy traveler. 
Oh, and one more thing:
See the most beautiful sunset. 
xo, Zuma A. 

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