Friday, April 23, 2010

The Grand Canyon

What better way to kick off day 2 then travel up to the Grand Canyon and visit my first National Park! It is Earth Week and all the National Parks are free to get into. I started the day off early and traveled up the scenic road 89a to Flagstaff. The road through the canyon is very scenic and you gain about 4,000 feet of elevation. The view from the top was amazing with remnants of winter still around. I passed through Flagstaff which looked like a cool mountain town and Humphrey's peak was still snow capped at 12,000+ feet. The drive into Grand Canyon wasn't what I expected. I though it would be in a dessert terrain but it was through a juniper and pine forest.
Before I arrived I decided to hike the South Rim trail as long as I could go. Ended up going for about 6 miles until I got tired. This trail is not for the faint hearted. Many times you are feet away from plunging over a 3,000 foot cliff. I got dizzy at times looking into the Canyon itself. What can I say about this place??? It was unreal, pictures do not justify the magnitude of this canyon, it felt unreal the whole time I was there. I went to all the popular lookouts and everyone was more stunning then the last. It amazed me how stupid some people were though. Young kids were walking out to ledges not even considering the risks and their parents acted as if they were in Disneyland. Each year a few people take the plunge because they get disoriented. You can take a shuttle bus to each lookout if you choose but I recommend the South Rim Trail, you spend more time taking in the views then riding in a bus. I also considered walking down one of the trails that take you below the rim but decided against it, if I were to come back I think it would be to backpack down to the river. The switchback trails people were using to get down were dizzying just looking at them, but I talked to a hiker who said they are a lot wider then they look. I spent about 6 hours in the park just taking in the views and they never seemed to get old. I was in awe the whole time and got to appreciate this National Park for an entire day. It made me appreciate how lucky we are to experience these things in life. I think every American should see this park before they die, it should be a law. I will post some pictures of the Canyon but like I said before, you need to see it to believe it.

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