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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Grand Canyon

I have to say that going to the Grand Canyon is the ideal family vacation in terms of cost and things to do. Our main cost for the trip was the airfare. Next came lodgings, but we cut out a lot of cost there by staying in Williams, Arizona and driving to the canyon each day (it was about an hour each way). To get into the park is $25 for seven days. After that you can get by with spending very little depending on the activities you choose.

James received a trip to the Grand Canyon as a birthday gift from Michael's folks. I got to go along because I am the awesome mother.

James was mostly interested in hiking while we were at the canyon. He didn't want to go on a mule or helicopter ride. He had some interest in the glass bridge, but changed his mind after we saw the distance and the expense associated with it.

We only had about a day and a half in the Grand Canyon. The first day we took the train up from Williams. It was a fun ride, but definitely not worth the time or the expense to do it again or recommend it.

With limited time the first day we mostly stayed in the village and took in the views and checked out some of the shops and exhibits. We hiked a little along the Trail of Time which was so cool because it had examples of different layers of canyon rock and when they were formed.

The second day we drove up and got up there early. This was important because it gets crowded there fast. We still experienced some crowds, but after we got out on the trail it really thinned out.

This day we decided to hike along Hermit Road. This path/road follows along the edge of the canyon and is closed to private vehicles. A shuttle bus goes long this route with stops every mile or so. You can of course hike the entire way from the Village to Hermits Rest, but it is almost eight miles one-way.

Something we weren't prepared for was how the altitude effects you. At over 7000 feet you get winded and tired easily. We hiked a little over two miles along Hermit Road and both James and my mother-in-law started to feel a little altitude sickness. Thank goodness for the shuttles! We were able to hop on and get back to the village where we sat at an air-conditioned restaurant and refueled with food and water.

We were planning to hike another couple miles in the afternoon, but you would be surprised how much a little altitude sickness can wipe you out! So instead we drove the car to the Geology Museum, which is another great free attraction that has amazing views. From there we walked the almost mile to the Visitor Center to view the 20 minute movie about the canyon. Unfortunately, the movie was out of order, so we hopped on a shuttle bus back to the car.

One of the things we were hoping to do that we didn't have enough time to do was to hike down into the canyon. They suggest you do not try to hike down to the bottom and back up in a single day. We were thinking about hiking part of the way down on one of the suggested hikes, but there were so many other things to do that we never had the chance.
Even looking at the same spot in the Grand Canyon can seem different depending on the weather and the time of the day. This is truly an amazing place to visit.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

If I had a bucket list, "Go to the Grand Canyon" would be alllllmost at the top. Thank you for letting me e-tag along!