In honor of Throwback Thursday, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on a certain travel adventure I incurred.
After I got back from a semester abroad last spring (holy crap it’s been a year since I got back), spending so much time, money and energy soaking everything up (and well worth it as I’m sure you travelers know), I realized how unfamiliar I was with my own backyard.
The grass is always greener.. they say.
Not this time baby!
I have always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. It is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, or was I believe they changed that. Did you know they do that? Change the wonders of the world? Spurs wanderlust and travel sales I suppose. But really, who hasn’t delighted in massive holes, crazy hikes and gorgeous sunsets right? So in April I set out for a long drive for a long weekend with my beau in search of some fresh air and dirt paths.
I was by far impressed, to say the least! We arrived just before sunset thank goodness. (We made a detour in Nevada for some lunch and gambling.) As you stand there, on the edge of the cliff, looking upon what massive impact nature has had over the last billion years it’s incredibly humbling. Then the sun set and it got very, very cold, very quickly.
Day 2 we went for a mule ride. Oh yeah, that was interesting. I made fast friends with mine, her name was Penelope and boy did she like to trott. Any opportunity she got she slowed down enjoying the scenery, eating whatever branches and bark she could get her teeth on and then once I gave her a little tap, she took off! I believe we were meant to be. We opted for the beginner ride to the rim, which at the time of booking I thought was around the rim with incredible views and close calls, instead it was a level walk 100 yards away from the rim which we dismounted the mule and walked to. The other ride option goes down into the canyon and stays over night. Although my beau has a terrible fear of heights, after hiking it all the way down the next day he now thinks he could of done. Just FYI for you looking to plan a trip.
The rest of the day we hiked to various points of a different route (3 routes total with dozen of lookouts). While at one stop in particular, we waited for the sunset and noticed a figure out on a ledge playing an instrument. It was a little bizzarre and completely enticing, we listened to this person play their instrument for the better part of an hour, mesmerized and afraid one seat adjustment and they’d be tumbling down. It was magical.
Day 3 we decided to go on a hike, a very long hike. We had a late start (what can I say we’re 23 and like beer), and opted for a 6 hour hike. We got to the halfway point in only an hour, even though it was windy and we’d periodically have to stop, close our eyes, and hang on to the cliff wall, waiting for the wind to pass. At the halfway point, a route not specified on our map but others continued also, we went further. The route is extremely deep (1 mile deep but is 7 miles one way) and incredibly beautiful. There is a lot of life and water in the canyon. By mile 6 we had to turn around. My beau and I are not avid hikers. Yes we often do trails like Cowels Mountain and Torrey Pines in San Diego but we had no idea how long it would take us to get back (friendly hikers along the way suggested double to get up as it took to get down, oh and did I mention all of these hikers had backpacks because they we’re staying at a lodge at the bottom?). We made it up in record time. I was rationing water and thought I was going to faint a few times, but we made it.
I am so impressed and in love with this canyon. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be the one who first stumbled upon it, traveled it and moved goods through it. I certainly can’t wait to go back and river raft for 3+ days! Please feel free to comment with your experiences, what to do, favorite activities, tips and tricks of smart travel! I’d love to hear them.