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Saturday 24 May 2014

Flashback Fridays: Grand Canyon

Back in 2005, well before we ever knew that we'd be one day living here, Kim and I came to America for a three week vacation. With such a limited amount of time we knew that there was only so much we could see and do without having to rush around like crazy. So we chose just a few destinations to focus on: New York, Los Angeles, Disneyland, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

Today let's have a look back at our visit to the Grand Canyon...

Our big trip to America began in Los Angeles where we spent the first few days relaxing and adjusting to the time difference. It's crazy to think that when you fly to the USA from the east coast of Australia you actually arrive in Los Angeles a few hours before your flight left Australia! Of course, on the way back you lose an entire day so it all evens out in the end. Anyway, I'm getting side tracked. As I said, we spent a few days relaxing in Los Angeles before jumping in our rental car and heading across the desert to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We traveled along the famed Route 66 for as far as possible, keeping our eyes out for run down road side diners and other long disused businesses.

After half a day or so of driving through scrubby desert we arrived at the Grand Canyon. For some reason, and I know this makes me sound a little silly considering the Grand Canyon is, well, a canyon, I had half expected the Grand Canyon to rise above the ground in majestic peaks. I vividly remember arriving in the National Park and wondering if we'd come to the wrong place as there were no giant rock formations to be seen in front of us. Of course, once we got a little closer to the canyon itself I soon realised my mistake and I felt pretty foolish!

We arrived just in time to watch the canyon glow an amazing red colour as the sun set at the end of the day.

The next morning we were up super early to watch the sunrise over the canyon. Now, neither Kim nor I are early morning people. I like the idea of watching the sun rise in the morning but I definitely don't like the idea of being up that early! We were both willing to make the effort on this occasion though. How often do you get the watch the sun rising over something as spectacular as the Grand Canyon? All I can say is that it was definitely worth getting up early for.

We spent the day hiking in and along the edge of the canyon. I would've loved to have ventured all the way to the bottom and camped overnight but unfortunately we didn't have the time. We probably made it about half way down to the bottom of the canyon. I can only imagine how amazing the views looking back up from the canyon floor must be. 

The following day was spent travelling from the south rim to the north rim. The distance between these two points is only 21 miles - when measured directly across the canyon! Of course, our little rental car couldn't make it across the canyon; even if it was a Jeep! So instead we had to drive around. A distance of approximately 212 miles.

The north rim is quite different to the more widely visited south rim. It sits 1,000 feet higher at an elevation of 8,500 feet. This means that it's substantially cooler than the other side. In fact, access to the north rim is limited during the Winter due to potentially inclement weather conditions. We were lucky that our visit to the Grand Canyon fell during the open season for the north rim. One week later and we would have missed out.

The highlight of our visit to the north rim was a mule ride into the canyon. Watching the scenery go by from the back of these sure footed beasts was a great experience. The ride lasted for about half a day with us making our way about half way down the canyon. This side of the canyon is much greener with pine trees and areas of dense vegetation so it really did feel like a completely different place at times.

Another fun part of our stay on the north rim was our accommodation. We stayed in a rustic log cabin nestled amongst pine trees. Such a cute little cabin!

The Grand Canyon was somewhere that I'd been wanting to visit for such a long time and it definitely didn't disappoint. I was not prepared for just how immense the Grand Canyon would actually be. I mean, I knew it was big, grand even, but until I saw it for myself I just couldn't comprehend just how big it could be. As amazing as it looks in photos, they really don't do it justice. The only way to truly appreciate the enormity and beauty of this amazing place is to see it for yourself.

I can't wait to take the girls to the Grand Canyon sometime soon. Our visit was prior to the installation of the Grand Canyon Skywalk so I'm keen to check that out. The experience of standing on the glass over the canyon just sounds amazing.  


  1. Beautiful photos! G was just there. He came back with 1 picture from the Grand Canyon experience. No, not the amazing scenery. A pic of the helicopter:(

    1. That's crazy! I took a gazillion photos when we were there!
      My parents are actually in Las Vegas at the moment and are going to the Grand Canyon in the next day or two. I'm so excited for them. It's such an amazing place.

    2. That is great, hope they are enjoying it. Although I heard about a shooting there a few days back - hope they were far away from that pizza joint!


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