On my first trip to the US, the highlight and vivid memory to this day has to be the first time I saw the Grand Canyon.
My father, big fan of Clark W. Griswold made sure I was to do the famous head bob on the Rim. I didn’t disappoint.
First thing I noticed, was the elevation. I imagined the canyon at the end of a desert. Basically dust until the crack in the earth, but I was surprised to find ourselves driving through a forest.
The Contiki bus was no stranger to climbing the plateau which the Canyon has etched itself into.
We climbed up through thick forest and gorgeous views of the surrounding areas, although this was nothing compared to the awe-inspiring canyon. Trees continue to line the highway as we continued to the South Rim. The more popular area of the Canyon and made famous by various movies,especially National Lampoons Vacation as mentioned before.
I kind of imagined driving into the National Park with views of the Canyon but it just wasn’t visible.
How could the biggest hole on earth be so hard to see? Our hotel was on the rim, but again with no view. We checked in and I recall getting to the hotel late. So late it was after dark.
I was pretty shattered, but knew I had to see something so I raced down to the edge. I can’t explain what I saw, a hole but I couldn’t make out details. It was also very cold, the wind was ripping through my every bone. I don’t think I have been in colder weather.
Due to the canyons elevation, it does snow although not this time of year.
I returned to the hotel, a little sad and a little disappointed I couldn’t see much. That night we had a party in a hotel room. Typical Contiki, the Ranger arrived and shut us down for being to loud. I can understand, was probably a Tuesday night.
On Contiki everyday is the weekend.
Morning arrived, the earth completing another successful rotation.
This was it, the time had arrived.
I recall walking down the short trail to the first lookout. this was also the place where the gas-powered bus would take you along the South rim, stopping at all the best lookouts.
There isn’t many words to describe the canyon, its hard to take in. It’s size, is immense, it looks like a painting. It looks fake. I think a lot of people describe it this way. You can’t see the river from this first lookout, but you can see what it left behind as it slowly carved its way through the plateau over millions of years.
Its quiet, and its peaceful. It’s also impossible to see it enough, the amount of detail, your eyes struggle to see every crack,every ridge and every pebble. I have returned to the Canyon 3 times and every time I go I say to myself, take it in as much as you can, but it’s just too big.
Even the helicopter I took over it, pushed my eyes and mind to the limit.
You simply need to see it for yourself.