Tuesday, April 16, 2013
It Truly is Grand
This is our third visit to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We first came to the South Rim in 1990 on our way to California with our older son, Doug. We visited the North Rim 17 years later. And this time we are spending four nights at the South Rim. As a man from New York said, while we were sitting outside the El Tovar Hotel and looking at the canyon, "How many times can you say 'wow?'"
We arrived before noon Saturday. Each day we have walked along the rim, taking picture after picture. In fact, right now I have 360 photos on my computer from the day of our train trip and the time here since we arrived on Saturday. And that is after I eliminated the really poor ones! It is truly amazing here. Even though we have been here before, we both feel we are appreciating it more now. Is it because of our age or have we traveled enough we are finally learning how to really appreciate what we see?
Grand Canyon National Park is huge. The rim trail is about 13 miles long. We have walked something like 22 to 23 miles during the four days we have explored the park (we both wear pedometers every day). It is certainly a good place to get exercise. There is also an extensive shuttle bus system that helps visitors to get around. We have used it at times, in addition to all the walking we have done.
The crowds visiting the Grand Canyon are large and the summer season is just beginning. We are glad we aren't here during the summer. As we have seen at a lot of other national parks, many of the visitors are from other countries. When we volunteered at Bryce Canyon, we learned that 40% of the people were international visitors. Many of the visitors are young Europeans and families from the Far East.
We had planned to leave the Grand Canyon today. However, there is a high wind warning through 7 pm, and that is no time to be driving an RV down the highway. We are grateful Trailer Village, the concessionaire-run full-hookup campground inside the park, wasn't full for tonight and we can stay in our site another night. We haven't seen any snow, at least not yet. This wind is part of the same storm system that is bringing all the snow and cold east of here.
There is a a viewpoint on the South Kaibab Trail about .9 miles down below the canyon rim that is called the Ooh Aah Point. We had considered hiking down there, or maybe going a little way down the Bright Angel Trail. Those are the two main trails that lead down to the Colorado River. We knew we weren't up to hiking all the way down and back up. However, with the high winds yesterday and today, we ruled that out.
But it isn't necessary to go below the rim to have an ooh aah view. Here are a few more stunning views of the Grand Canyon.