THE GRAND CANYON: IT’S PRETTY DANG GRAND
Back in the day when I lived in New Zealand for 2 years, I remember some rando kid asked me if I’d seen the Grand Canyon. When I said no he asked why not, and I really didn’t have a reason except that my family didn’t travel. (Then again, lots of kiwis haven’t been to the North or South Island, whichever one they don’t live on, so I guess it’s a common thing to miss out on cool stuff in your own backyard). So yeah, for 34 years I never hit the Grand Canyon and I should have. I always meant to, I always wanted to, but I never did it. Until now.
THE SOUTH RIM IS GOOD
Now, I know the drive from Vegas to the West Rim is only 2 hours. And the skywalk looks cool and all, but I read that the West Rim is crazy expensive and crowded and lots of waiting in lines. Hard pass. So we made the nearly 5 hour drive to the South Rim and it was awesome. The drive was awesome because we blasted tunes and it’s just fun to chill with your spouse, even in a small car on a long road trip. Good times.
STAYING IN WILLIAMS ARIZONA IS NOT SO GOOD
We stayed at the Travelodge in Williams Arizona, and we did it because it was much cheaper than staying right at the Grand Canyon. It seemed like a good idea at the time, staying an hour outside the entrance didn’t seem so bad, and it meant we’d get to stop after 5 hours rather than 6. Alas, it wasn’t my best choice.
See, we got into Williams around 2pm, got some eats, sat on the bed for a second, then we had to leave anyways. So it really would have been nearly the same to just keep going. Plus, in the end, we only did like 5 or 6 hours at the Grand Canyon. Had we stayed closer, we could have done more the next morning. Whatever, we didn’t, lesson learned. Next time I think it would make more sense to stay inside the park, even if it means spending more money, because it also means spending more time there.
VISITING THE GRAND CANYON WHILE PREGNANT IS…OK
Let me preface this with a long ramble (as usual). Usually on Jetset Wanderlife, I want to create really in-depth itineraries for people. Planning our first Iceland trip took SO BLOODY LONG because of the vast amounts of info out there and the limited amount of time we had. So I put together a deep itinerary that people could literally use as their entire (or partial) trip without any effort. As a nice side benefit, these blogs serve as fun ways for Caitlin and I to remember the trips well and when people ask about stuff, we can send them a link since nobody wants to listen to me talk for 45 minutes about the pros and cons of renting donkeys at Petra.
And usually, I think I serve my purpose quite well (humblebrag). However, some of these short posts aren’t super informative and I get that. I just want to remember our fun times (also the miserable times while Caitlin was pregnant but I was still having fun) and maybe someone can glean something along the way. The dream is to turn this into some type of income, but honestly, it’s just fun and a good outlet for me. So yeah, this Grand Canyon post isn’t my most in-depth but it’s for my posterity.
So yeah, aside from Caitlin throwing up on the Grand Canyon Rim Trail, this was pretty dope. Her pregnancy nausea made it not as cool for her, but she’s a trucker and pushed through. Me, though?
VISITING THE GRAND CANYON WHILE NOT PREGNANT (ME) IS SO BLOODY AMAZING
Yeah, this ruled. Aside from feeling awful that Caitlin was feeling awful, the Grand Canyon was so amazingly cool. It was $35 to get in (more on this in the Bryce Canyon section/post), but well worth that even just for the afternoon. I’ve seen the Waimea Canyon in Kauai that they say is like a mini Grand Canyon, and I’ve seen lots of other cool canyons around Utah but…wow.
I can’t really describe the canyon in any words that do it justice. The vastness is almost hard for the brain to comprehend. It’s, uh…massive. It’s just amazing and awesome to look at, and the south rim is a great place to see it all.
There were several viewpoints within a few minutes of the parking lot. They were all fairly crowded but not insane, and we just had to wait a few minutes at each one to get to the edge and really appreciate the views. It’s crazy how easily you could fall over the side, which I guess is why people fall over the side every few months. So be careful, kids.
THE SOUTH RIM TRAIL IS PERFECT FOR AN EASY OVERVIEW
We ended up talking to a ranger and she told us to just walk around the rim. She told us the Yavapai Geology Museum was probably a decent stopping or turnaround point, so off we went. And yeah, it’s great. It’s a super easy paved trail but every step is an incredible view. Lots of it has no guardrails or any fencing or anything, so again, it’s not hard to see how easily people fall to their death. Luckily, nobody did while we were there (we think), but I did read about a plane crash in 1956 where two planes hit midair over the canyon and it took ages to find the wreckage. Looking down at the bloody massive canyon, it wasn’t hard to see why.
The museum was cool too, not totally necessary or anything but fun to look at with more cool views. The whole thing was awesome and, even while pregnant and throwing up on the side of the trail, Caitlin crushed it.
As has happened many times to us (like the parade in Austria), we stumbled across something cool on total accident. Even though our last name means unlucky or unfortunate, something things turn up Mitch! There were signs everywhere promoting a star party, and since we’d gotten a fairly late start on the canyon anyways, it was perfect because it was just getting darkish as we finished the trail.
Now, what is a star party, you may ask, just like I did? Basically a bunch of poindexters bring really giant expensive telescopes to the Grand Canyon and let schmoes like me look through them. But alas, I’m ahead of myself.
Before the stars were fully out, they had some egghead come give a presentation about how the moon landing astronauts came and trained at the Grand Canyon. He had a bunch of old photos of them and it was kinda cool to see how it helped prepare them for the moon. I have no idea if these presentations are common there, but it was chill and we all sat outside on the concrete watching and listening, biding our time until cover of darkness.
Annnnnnnd the star party was pretty rad actually. There was a big parking lot blocked off, and we stood in fairly short lines randomly to go look in telescopes. All the ones we looked through were huge, like I’ve never seen such big ones outside of an observatory, and very expensive. And we couldn’t touch anything. But nonetheless it was cool, we saw planets and galaxies and all sorts of crazy things that are hard to fathom. Plus, just looking up at the stars sans telescope was cool. Highly recommended.
AGAIN, STAY INSIDE THE PARK
The hour plus drive was not awesome, it was poorly lit, and we were exhausted (and Caitlin sick, surprise surprise). As we passed all the lodging inside the park, I cursed myself and the world and my existence for not staying closer. We actually didn’t even go back the next day, which I was fine with, but we would have if it wasn’t an hour drive there and back. So just don’t be cheap like I was/am. And thus it is. Amen.