Truly Grand

Where: Grand Canyon (South Rim), Arizona

When: 09-12/03/2016

The Grand Canyon is literally incomprehensible.

No disrespect to the Colorado River, but how did it make that? Absolutely insane. My brain just straight up could not believe what it was seeing.

This was a very unique vacation for me. I’m a city person. My experiences with nature are limited – hikes, the occasional camping trip in high school. I’ve never really made a point to go visit a national park before. This trip showed me just how amazing they can really be.

It was a bit difficult to actually get TO the Grand Canyon without a car. The total trip took about 12 hours door to door, starting with a 3.30 wake up call to get to the airport for a flight to Phoenix, followed by two shuttles to actually get us north to the Canyon. As it was March and Rachel and I don’t own the best camping equipment, we decided to stay at a lodge at the park – a bit pricey, but worth it to come home to a good shower and bed after a day out.

We spent the arrival day just walking around the rim, marvelling at the colours and the sheer size of the Canyon – sunset was especially beautiful that day. We ended the day buying a few supplies and talking to the locals about the best hike to do the next day.

Now, let’s get one thing about the hike we did into the Canyon out of the way – we did it wrong. We started too late, we pushed too far, we packed too much, and worst of all, we didn’t pack enough water. We didn’t do it on purpose, obviously – we were told there was water at waystations along the train, but there wasn’t! So we drank all of it on the way down, and only then realised just how screwed we were.

We made it back up, but only barely. Then we drank probably 2 litres of water each, and passed out for the day. Fitbit told me later we walked 37,000+ steps that day, and I felt every single one when I woke up.

However, the hike itself was quite fantastic. Well defined trails, a good mix of inclines and plains, lots of interesting plant and animal life, and, of course, many wonderful views of the Canyon. If we had been properly prepared for it, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more.

We took the final day easy, taking shuttles around the rim and getting some nice pictures, and having a final dinner before getting ready to leave early the next morning for a few days of rest in Dallas.

In summary: the Grand Canyon is awesome, but dehydration is not. Pack water!

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