The Grand Canyon: Day 4

After falling asleep at the ripe time of 9:00pm the night before, we awoke to our second day at the Grand Canyon. Gatlin, Jared and Maria took a helicopter tour over the canyons in the morning but we stayed behind because we didn’t feel like spending $300 dollars for the flight, but more importantly because we wanted to sleep in. They loved it. We would have preferred the Jeep tour down into the canyon but the price for one person was an outrageous $265.

Today we visited a few historic buildings that played the usual role of Historical-Recreation/Anecdotal Museum/Gift Shop/Air-Conditioning Relaxation/Tourist trap. And I loved every minute of it. Every store had something a little different that I wanted to absorb. If I could have I would have bought every book in their book store sections. (Notice the tiny entrance to one of the buildings on the left)

A little knowledge gained from one of these expensive, yet irresistible books was the history behind the canyon’s discovery and expeditions…which is fascinating. I found out that sometime in the 1500’s the Spanish discovered the area but found it worthless, probably because they didn’t see any signs of jewels or gold or fountain of youth or opportunities of religious persecution. So it wasn’t until about three centuries later that Americans started exploring the canyons namely, John Wesley Powell in 1869 (a very inspiring individual I might add.) He decided to take, what was then the first independent exploration in the history of the US, a scientific voyage into the canyons to study its geology and geography. He discovered uncharted areas and was also the first to start studying Native Americans, whom had lived on the canyons for hundreds of years. And he did it all with one arm. Now that is skill.

After the gift shop we started a 15 mile hike but because of a little sciatica and the flustered faces of returning hikers, we set an alarm on Derek’s Iphone for 30 minutes and then headed back up. We shared the trail with some mules that left stinky evidence of their existence on the trail. We talked to a few people that went all the way to the bottom (which ends at the Colorado River). One guy said it took him about 4 hours to get there but that getting to jump into the river at the end was totally worth the hike. The trek back up was pretty rough, as most inclined trails are. You start to realize how out of shape you really are. It was exhausting but I can’t wait to come back one day and make it all the way to the river. I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

We bought a couple of books at the stores and Gatlin got a hat that he fell in love with. It’s amazing how, no matter how many times you look out at the massive Grand Canyon, it always takes your breath away. Something so grand (pun intended) and natural just can’t be expressed in words or even photos. Even though it seems obvious, I loved how much the park was into natural preservation and earth friendliness. I sort of felt at home here. It’s something I miss in Orlando.

Yesterday was pretty much packed every hour, it felt like as soon as we finished one thing we started the next. We visited a lot of scenic areas and went to a place called Watchtower. There was an opening in the protective fencing where you were allowed (or at least we assumed) to walk out over a strip of rocks to a point much lower than the tower. I had some serious trepidation about going down to this area because: 1. tailbone pain and 2. fear of dying. But I did it anyway, Derek reminded me “you only live once,” a fellow traveler also reminded me that “you only die once” as well. That was pretty hilarious.

That night we ate at a place brilliantly named We Cook Pizza and Pasta. I’d say it was a little overrated and a lot expensive. After eating, last minute, we decided to pack back up and head out to see the sunset over the Grand Canyon. (I had changed into my pajamas already, and decided “ehhh” it’s just a sunset, should be fast.)

What a mistake.

It was friggin freezing on the cliff. I could stand it for about a minute. I had to run back to the van in fear for my life. The uncontrollable shaking didn’t help the tailbone pain either. I learned my lesson.

Overall though, our stay at the Grand Canyon was pretty epic and I can’t wait to go back.

Love and Peace

Derek & Vanessa