The absolutely grand Grand Canyon

This photo was taken along the South Kaibob trail in the Grand Canyon. Judging by my last three posts, you’d think I was vacationing all summer, but in actuality I took just two short vacations – one to visit my parents and this one with my husband.

We had intended to go camping in a nearby canyon with waterfalls in an area that is described as Shangri-La, but unfortunately we were rained out and had to give up that plan. On the upside, since it was raining at the Grand Canyon, we were able to get a room at a very reasonable price. The next day, after the morning started out cloudy with light rain, the afternoon cleared up and we were grateful to experience one of the most spectacular hikes of our lives. The scenery is simply indescribably awesome, and photos can’t possibly do it justice. I actually wept at our first glimpse of the canyon. We enjoyed another fabulous hike the following day, as well as taking a tram along the rim to several lookout points, and watching the sunset from a spectacular vantage point.

Though it wasn’t as frugal as it would have been had we been able to camp, it was still a very non-consumer vacation, since the only money we spent was for gas, food, and lodging (and a few drinks). We didn’t need to purchase anything for the trip, were able to borrow two large duffel bags to carry all our camping equipment, and easily did without any souvenirs.

Hiking into the Grand Canyon was something we’d both wanted to do together, and now we’re excited to return next year and camp where we originally intended, as well as hike all the way down into the floor of the canyon and stay at the famous Phantom Ranch when we’re both in a little better shape. At ten miles each way, it’s not for wusses. :)

Now that it’s officially fall, I’m more than ready for an end to the record-breaking temperatures we’ve been experiencing. But with a forecast of 99 degrees tomorrow, it looks like it’s going to be a little while. Is it fall in your neck of the woods yet? What non-consumer activities have you been enjoying to celebrate? Please share in the Comments section.


  1. Daniel says

    Angela. What a wonderful trip!

    I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many countries across this tiny little planet of ours. It’s always been with nothing more than with a pack on my back, a train pass, and a “relying on the kindness of strangers”. But when people ask me what I think is the most magnificent thing on this planet, I always say, “The Grand Canyon”.

    There could be no other name for it. It’s simply Grand. No photo will ever do it justice, because it’s spiritual, it’s visceral… it’s a living testament to time. And of course, it’s unbelievably beautiful in its vastness.

    As a writer of Westerns, there are times that I just need to get away from modern life. At the beginning of summer, I jumped in my Cherokee and headed for my favorite spot, the Grand Canyon. Driving along the south rim, I pulled over at some random spot and walked to the ledge. Somehow I had come upon a flute where Ravens were diving to the bottom of the canyon then being propelled up to the top of the ledge by thermo drafts. I sat and watched as raven after raven rose within feet of my head, cawed, then dove back down for another run.

    It started raining. I stayed. A runoff stream formed next to me. The ravens continued. The rain grew heavier. I was soaked but didn’t care. I glanced at the growing stream running off the ledge and plummeting thousands of feet below, and that was beautiful. Then, in the cleansing of the dirt from the stream, the most beautiful ancient arrowhead appeared. It was like a gift from the gods. It was like someone was saying, “You’re not the first to discover this place, but we are kindred spirits through time”.

    I slept that night in my jeep in a rain that lasted until dawn. Just gas money and a little food. But a when you say you wept at the sight of the Canyon, I get it. And anyone who hasn’t been there… cleanse your soul by making the pilgrimage.

    I’m finally doing Phantom Ranch next spring.

    Daniel Click

  2. Marie-Josée says

    I agree with Daniel, what a wonderful trip! And I just love the photo. Marcel and I can’t wait to visit the Grand Canyon. We saw Waimea Canyon in Hawaii last year and were deeply touched by its beauty. Our home exchange was a wonderful experience, by the way! We were pleasantly surprised by Guy and Margareth’s lovely and sunny Parisian apartment; it was much bigger than it appeared in the photos on the Homelink site. In addition, I was delighted to find a sampling of gluten free foods upon my arrival in their home. I had asked them about health food stores in their neighborhood and had mentioned my gluten intolerance in one of our email exchanges. They left our home spotless and it was a great experience all in all. We stayed in Paris 9 days instead of the 13 we had originally planned. We enjoyed visiting the wonderful museums, monuments and castles the city has to offer, and just walking around was a treat. But Corsica was beckoning us and we flew there a week ahead of schedule. I managed to rent a small condo in Calvi, situated on the North-Western side of the island. We spent a second week in a beautiful villa on the South-Eastern side of the island. Corsica is just breathtaking. It is covered in high mountains, surrounded by a turquoise sea and boasts beautiful medieval cities, the largest ones have citadel fortresses. The Genovera state built towers all around the island in the 16th century and many of them are still in good condition. I have never been to Italy, but the cities and villages reminded me of pictures I have seen of Tuscany. Interestingly, Corsican traditional cuisine relies heavily on meat (including boar) and dairy products, and not on fish. Over the centuries, Corsican’s fled inland into the mountains to escape pirates or other conquerors. Two-thirds of the island has been converted into national parks. Tourism is the Corsica’s greatest source of revenue. There are neolithic ruins to discover, medieval cities, vineyards, gorgeous beaches, high mountains and many, many hiking trails – the GR20 is a well known one week hike through the mountains. It was wonderful!

  3. says

    Takes me back many years. I took my then 13ish year old son to the Grand Canyon, driving in one day from LA. He moaned and groaned about who wants to see a big hole in the ground but as we arrived he insisted that we stop at the first lookout point. He got out of the car and only had one word to say, “Awesome!!!!”. I truly exceeded my expectations too. Glad you had a good visit.

  4. says

    My family went on a long road trip this past summer too and the Grand Canyon was my favorite destination! I was not prepared for my first sight of the canyon either; it truly took my breath away and I agree that no picture could ever compare to seeing it in person. No other experience will compare to the picnic we shared at this awesome piece of nature!


  5. Dianablue says

    I was there in November 2011 and went on the same trail. We stayed in Tusayan and my husband proposed to me at the Colorado Rive. We made it halfway to Phantom Ranch and plan to go back on our 5 year anniversary. It is a beautiful place!

  6. says

    We had an amazing week full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and made great new friends. In addition to crazy amounts of fun (jumping through waterfalls and exploring old mines…who wouldn’t love that?!), we also managed to learn a great deal about the geology of the canyon and the culture and history of the Havasupai Tribe. The hikes in and out were pretty challenging for our family because we didn’t have time to train as much as we should have. But the sense of accomplishment at the end was well worth it. The guides will push your comfort zone — trust them! Our guides were incredibly professional, and we felt totally confident trusting our safety to them. They were enthusiastic, completely patient with all the kids, really knowledgable, and lots of fun. The food they made for us was shockingly good too! I can’t recommend this trip highly enough.One suggestion: take some stamps and mail yourself a letter or postcard from Supai. Our daughter loved getting it in the mail at home with a big “delivered by mule” illustrated postmark.

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