The United States’ West Coast Eternal Beauty: The Grand Canyon
This spot right here is the reason I always wanted to visit the west coast. I have always had a fascination for the beautiful mountains and valleys.
The way I had planned the trip meant that I would only spend a few hours at the Grand Canyon which was a terrible mistake. This beauty needs at least 2 – 3 days alone.
We drove from Las Vegas in Nevada where we were staying which took four-and-a half-hours (!) one way to the South Rim in Arizona. If I could go back in time, I would have stayed at a little town called Page in Arizona which is only an hour drive from Antelope Canyon and a two-and-a-half-hour drive to the Grand Canyon.
Nevertheless, I was extremely fortunate to see this gorgeous piece of art.
When you first see the sky coupled with the beauty of the mountains, you stop speaking and you just stare as far as your eye could see.
There are many ways you can explore the Grand Canyon, there are many view-points, many hikes, tours. We decided to hike along the South Kaibab trail as it gives you the beautiful classic view of the Canyon. We decided against any tours because helicopter tours are only 45-minutes, loud, crowded with other helicopters and you don’t get to breathe in the air of the Canyon which is a real shame, as for tours, I am not a big fan of crowds especially in a scenic place, I would rather explore it by myself on foot.
If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I would do anything to avoid crowds, and taking a hike early on in the day meant avoiding the crowds and getting the best of the Canyon.
We went on a Saturday in August - i.e. high season, we arrived at 8 AM and there was plenty of parking. A lot of folks say that parking is a nightmare, we might have been lucky. The park as a whole is very well organised and it is hard to get lost (unlike Yosemite, more on that in future posts).
As we reached South Kaibab trail we were on very top of the mountain. When I looked down, I started seeing glimpse of the beautiful Colorado river. The Canyon started forming 70 million years ago (this is controversial as some Geologists believe it is much younger than that), and it is believed that the Colorado river started making its way through the Canyon reaching the Californian gulf 6 million years ago. We were suckers for listening to advice from local staff who advised against hiking down all the way to the river in the same day.
In fact, the more we hiked down, the stranger I had felt. It was a mixture of nausea, a headache and just needing to lay down. Hiking down to the Ooh Aah Point up took approximately three hours including all the stops we made for photos and rest, I consumed 3 litres of water in that short space of time and still felt dehydrated! The Grand Canyon rim's high elevation (approximately 7,000 ft.) can lead to altitude sickness, shortness of breath, fatigue, and even nausea – so if you are planning a hike there, be warned!
On our way down, we saw the mule tour which looked extremely nerve-wracking and this could not have been a great experience for the mules to go up and down multiple times daily.
Some hikers were unfortunately partaking in dangerous activities – all in the name of a nice photo. Some young teenage boy was pulling insane moves on a very unstable looking rock. If you do go there, please make sure you stay safe, risking your life is not worth a nice Instagram photo!
I would love to hear your Grand Canyon (hopefully safe) adventures, feel free to comment here or on my Instagram page.
If you have any questions about this trip or if you need me to plan a personalised trip for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch!