Many travelers, myself included, tend to visit the must-see natural and man-made wonders while abroad, but don’t take as much advantage of domestic treasures. I’m the first to admit that I realized this while living in Europe. When my friends abroad asked me about the Rocky Mountains, Denali, or the Grand Canyon, I couldn’t add a thing. I was quite ashamed I had not visited the quintessential must-sees in the States. However, I made a pact with myself that I would start to uncover national treasures in balance with my globetrotting to other far corners of the planet.
And indeed, since those conversations with my Spanish friends, I have. I have hiked and camped in Rocky Mountain National Park. Also, I have viewed and hiked Denali National Park while summering in Alaska. And now, I can add to my list with the Grand Canyon.
As the title suggests, the Grand Canyon is absolutely amazing. Regardless of the pictures, videos, or stories, you have heard; the Grand Canyon is otherworldly. The size is sheerly unfathomable unless you are seeing it with your own eyes. The constantly changing palate of colors makes every rendition whether painting, picture, or video outdated as soon as the sun shifts or a cloud moves, changing your perspective.
My breath was taken away from the moment that I got off the Grand Canyon Railway and got my first glimpse at the Canyon. Upon getting close to the edge, I surprisingly became a little bit queasy. I’m not necessarily afraid of heights, but the combination of the mind-boggling size of the panoramic view with its dangerous drop from the viewing ledge to the Canyon’s floor was enough to make me a little nervous. The sensation did subside, but I was still very cautious, even in taking my typical GPS shot with my feet (seen left).
All along, I knew that my first visit to the Grand Canyon would only whet my appetite to return for a longer and more multi-faceted adventure. From this lookout point (seen left), I was able to see the Bright Angel Trail, which is a full-day hike to the Colorado River and the Phantom Ranch.
Needless to say, the adventure planning wheels started to turn from this vantage point. I’m now convinced that a week-long rafting journey with a night at the Phantom Ranch with a full day hike out of the Canyon via that same Bright Angel trail will come to fruition. I have some more investigation to do, but I’m thinking that the combination of seeing the Canyon from the Colorado River on raft, camping along the river, and hiking up to where I viewed the Canyon for my first time will uncover another appreciation for its grandeur as well as give me a personal sense of why the Native Paiute Tribe called the Grand Canyon, Kaibab, which means mountain lying down (or my preferred definition as upside down mountain).
If you are not yet convinced that you must experience the Grand Canyon firsthand for its inspirational technicolor views, just view the picture from the Grand Canyon National Park.
Here’s to more good times and good stories!