The Big One....

Trip Start Sep 07, 2009
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Trip End Nov 17, 2009


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Where I stayed
Holiday Inn

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Sunday, October 25, 2009

24/10/2009 - We left Kanab early in the morning to drive the 200 miles to the Grand Canyon. Kanab is actually only 80 miles or so from the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but the south rim is more accessible. We had booked a hotel in Tusayan about 20 miles south of Grand Canyon Village where all the National Park lodgings are, as it worked out about $100 cheaper (our budget is now tighter than a Scotsman's pocket (sorry dad, Jim made me write that!)).

The drive was great and we approached the canyon from the east, along route 64. We entered the national park around 4pm, paying $25.00 for the privilege, and stopped off at 'Grand View' overlook for our first sight of the Canyon. Wow...it was as awesome as it looks on the telly! It certainly dwarfs the likes of Zion Canyon. We drove through the park and out again at the south entrance to our hotel, where we checked-in, ate and went to bed! All the driving over the last couple of weeks was catching up on us.

25/10/2009 - We woke early again, excited about the day ahead. After breakfast, we headed straight for the Grand Canyon visitors centre, where there is an IMAX cinema that shows a NatGeo film of the canyon. The movie was amazing and shot so beautifully - would definitely recommend watching it if you only have a day to explore the canyon.

Once inside the park, we parked the car and bought some bits for lunch at the grocery store. The main trail route along the south rim, doesn't permit cars, so we jumped on the free shuttle bus. Unfortunately, the ride was not as smooth going as at Zion. The bus was packed with every nationality of tourist going, and the route was painfully slow, taking in all the hotel and campsite pick-up points. We then had to change onto another bus route to get up to the start of the trail. Tens of people got on and off at each stop, and we got a bit pissed off after a while. We felt like sheep being shepherded to our destination - in all, it took us about an hour to travel just a few miles! Finally, we reached our stop and stepped off into the blissful silence of the canyon. 

We had planned to walk only a couple of miles along the rim trail. As we only had one full day at the canyon, we had no way of seeing the canyon floor - it takes a day to hike down and then another to hike up again. Unfortunately, a lot of the rim trail has been tarmac-ed, which took away from the natural beauty of the place a bit. However, we did manage to find another unpaved path closer to the edge, which must have been the original trail. We stopped to eat our lunch at one of the overlooks; it was so peaceful and quiet away from the hordes of people on the bus.
 
We had planned to join a free walk with a Ranger scheduled for 4pm, but after walking for another couple of miles we were knacker ed and headed back to the car instead. If we're honest, walking along the rim is spectacular, but after an hour or so, you feel like you've seen it all already! It can be so busy at times also, and with so many hotels and restaurants, the whole thing feels a bit commercialised. We would both like to visit the canyon again, but stay longer and hike, or mule-ride, down to the bottom - as far away as possible from all the gabbling tourists...


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