Everyone has heard of the Grand Canyon, right? It’s the big thing in America that makes you go wow, that’s big! I’d heard of it before, loads of times. Once, when I was on a flight to Las Vegas the woman sitting next to me, who was American and hadn’t said a word to me for 9 hours prior, pipped up once we got over the Grand Canyon and proceeded to tell me all about it for the next two hours. It’s HUGE she told me.
According to The Grand Canyons own web site it is 277 miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep. Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.
Did you read that, it can overwhelm our senses it’s so big!
Well, in 2014 I could take it no more. I had to go and see what it was all about…
We’d flown into Vegas for new years eve, and had to fly out of San Francisco two weeks later. In between, we had no plans (apart from a tour booked around Alcatraz) and no hotels booked, so we decided to drive over to check out the Grand Canyon.
Everyone says The South Rim is the place to see it from, so that’s where we headed. It’s just up the road from Vegas. Just up the very long road that goes on for hours and hours and hours. Never mind the Canyon. America is BIG!!
It was estimated to be a 5-hour drive, but we took stops at various places along the way to take in the views. Lake Mead is just outside Vegas and always a nice stop but I’ll write about that another time.
On this trip, we stopped at little towns for food, all of which seemed to be called Boulder. Small American towns are great. They’re like postcards of the past. Everyone is always really friendly.
There are some magnificent views along the way and I guess these are already part of the Canyon. I don’t know for sure though as we were just an hour outside Vegas but had crossed over from Nevada to Arizona. Anyway, having such great views means you stop all the time, so the 5 hours turn in to 10 pretty quickly..
Apart from the odd small town and the great views of natural beauty, there is basically nothing in middle America. Nothing
We drove for miles and miles and didn’t appear to ever get anywhere close to the Canyon. Strangely, the longer we drove, the less great sites we sore. It appeared we were getting further away.
Finally, afer dark we arrived at a hotel about 45 mins out from the Canyon park entrance. It was a Best Western, which was ok, but it was fully booked. FULLY BOOKED. After about 10 hours of driving, this is not what I wanted to hear.
Also, it was snowing. When we left Vegas, it was 25 degrees and I was wearing a t-shirt. Yet, here I am, not far from Vegas, and there is proper snow on the ground. America.
I dug out my phone and did a Google for a hotel close by, and managed to get a room at another hotel, which as it happened was in the little town 45 mins up the road, that sat just before the entrance to the National Park – result!
We arrived at 11:30pm and had a beer and some chicken wings, tired but excited about seeing the Canyon in the morning!
The next morning we were up nice and early. Remember I mentioned snow about 45 mins back the night before? Well, there was no snow here this morning. But, BUT, it was cold. -18 degree’s cold. My god. I literally had to wear every piece of clothing in my bag!
None the less, we were just 10 mins away from the Canyon. Lets get too it!
So you drive into the National Park and pay a fee to access. It wasn’t much, about $40 or so, and it gave you access for the week. We only needed it for a day, but no option for that.
Once in, you park your car and then jump on a bus that takes you to the Canyon Village. By the time we’d got on the bus we’d been int he park about 30 mins, and so far there was no sign of the big massive hole in the ground we’d come to see. Nothing.
Once off the bus you have the feeling you must be close. But still nothing. You kind of walk up some paths, which are pretty enough, but the whole time I was wondering, is this it? This is supposed to be the best place to see it, but so far it’s pretty cold, and to be honest, shit.
And then, you sort of come to the end of a path and…
It’s… what would you call it… oh yea, big!
Now I’m not one for hype, but honestly, The Grand Canyon blew my mind. I don’t know how they hide something so big behind those little paths, but it is a sight to behold. Truly breathtaking.
It was the first time the woman had been speechless. Ever.
You just sort of stand there marvelling at it.
Some people get a bit brave and go stand on ledges without barriers. I wasn’t having none of that.
Despite it being freezing cold, and me feeling a complete twat wearing every item of clothing I had, I managed a smile.
I really had not seen anything like it in my life.