Hiking · National Parks in US · Travel · Vacations

The Grand Canyons: A mesmerizing geological marvel

Since I am returning to my blogging world (yay!) after a hiatus, I figured it had to be something grand! So I thought, a blog on Grand Canyon would fit the bill perfectly. Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is perhaps the most famous park in the United States. The first time you spot the canyons, vastness would be the first thought that would come to most people’s minds. I was no different :). If I had to pick 3 words/phrases to describe the Grand Canyons, here’s how I would do it: “A Geological Marvel”, “Vast” and “Mesmerizing”.

My trip to Grand Canyon was special due to numerous reasons and I was trying to contemplate why I had not written a travel blog about it for so long. I guess the reason was that I was not sure if it lived up to the hype and the expectations I had in my mind about the place from hearing so much about it before visiting the place. Grand Canyon National Park is not on the very top of my favorite national parks list because I have not explored the canyons and hiked deep into the canyons. I am sure this will change some day when we decide to explore the mysterious canyons extensively. And I wanted to wait until then to blog about it, but since we’re not going back to Grand Canyon anytime soon AND I have had quite a few of you ask me why I don’t have a blog on Grand Canyon yet AND I wanted my return to the blogging to be grand, here it is πŸ™‚

Lookout on Hermit Route: Grand Canyon South Rim

A group of me and a few friends visited the South Rim of Grand Canyon a few years back during the labor day weekend. We stayed at the Maswik Lodge inside the park. I know I say this every time, but staying inside the park always helps. All reservations for lodging inside the park are managed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts. If my memory serves me correctly, we had about 2-3 days to spend in the park, which is enough to cover the major vistas and include a couple of small hikes. On our first day in the park, we used the free bus shuttle (Red Line) to visit the vista points on the Hermit Road. You can hike along the rim trail from one stop to another. The panoramic vistas, brilliant colors of the red limestone, the varying colors in the canyon due to sun rays and views of the Colarado river carving the canyon will surely blow you away. Let me tell you, it is all great and mesmerizing, but 6 vista spots later, and you might start feeling that it is pretty much the same.

So on our next day in Grand Canyon, we decided to take half day tour with a National Geographic tour guide. You can sign up for one of these at the visitor center. Our tour involved a sneak peak into Grand Canyon’s geological history, the flora and fauna found around the park and a 2 mile mini-hike into the canyon on the South Kaibab trail. This was the best part of the trip (and the sunrise too but I’ll get to that later) because while the lookouts are a great way to SEE the canyons, the tour enabled us EXPERIENCE it up-close :). I highly recommend this because it was so much fun. And the South Kaibab trail would definitely make for a great hike!

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Things you don’t want to miss while you are at Grand Canyon
1) Sunrise: We went to the cliched Mather point to view sunrise and it was unbelievably splendid. No wonder the spot is cliched! If you are going to Mather point, go early to get a good spot because it is surely going to get crowded. The colors of the canyon are so surreal that it makes waking up at 4 and driving to the spot absolutely worth it.

2) Sunset: Yes, even if you have seen sunrise, I suggest watch sunset too since the colors are totally different. While sunrise lights up the canyon with shades of yellow and orange, as sunset dawns, you get to see the canyon in shades of blue and purple. My notes on where we saw sunset are not very clear, but I believe we enjoyed sunset at the Desert View point.

3) The short introductory movie about Grand Canyon screened at the Visitor Center’s IMAX Theater: I loved it so I put this up here. An adventure filled 20 minute feature film describing the mysterious canyons.

Sunrise at Mather Point

And there’s lots more:
The Grand Canyon train runs from Williams to Grand Canyon. Although we did not take the train, this should be a great way to experience the journey into the canyons. There are a few museums in the South Rim and they have amazing architectural exhibits by Mary Jane Coltor. Check out the Navajo paintings while you are the museum.

A toast seems to be a perfect way to end my grand post: To the grandeur of the Grand Canyons πŸ™‚

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