Hiking in the Grand Canyon was tied for first in the highlights of our Vegas trip. It took a big commitment to get there and to actually hike, but it was a no-brainer. We couldn’t go to Las Vegas without seeing the Grand Canyon. We rented a car from Thriftty at the airport. We had booked a premium car with them because they didn’t have Crown Victoria listed as an option on their website, instead it was something like a Nissan Altima. We’re not old, we don’t drive old people cars. So imagine our surprise when we went to pick up our car and were told they only had three Crown Victorias to choose from! The gal helping us out was really nice though, and saw our predicament, she called around and got us upgraded to a Jeep Liberty. Score!
The drive to the Grand Canyon took about four and a half hours. We stopped for Pina Colada slushees and junk food, and later on we stopped at a diner in Seligman, on Route 66. Westside Lilo’s was awesome! It’s exactly what you’d expect for that place, very diner-esque. We had green chile nachos! I mean…who’s ever heard…yes! We also picked up a slice of coconut cream pie for the road, since they’re famous for them (and for good reason!) We had a lot of fun on our road trip.
Our first glance of the Grand Canyon was just what I’d expected. It was epic and beautiful and I was very impressed. We stayed overnight at the Maswik Lodge, which wasn’t the nicest place we stayed. It was very motel-y, but comfortable enough. It was also one of the only options available when I booked several weeks earlier.
The next morning we checked out early. We drove to the parking lot and hopped on a bus that took us to the South Kaibab trailhead. There were only a few other people starting at 8am, when we were. The trail was incredible! It was so cool to actually be in the Grand Canyon. There were cactuses and and aloe plants, and green trees! There was actually much more green than I though there would be. It was -2C when we started our hike, and the wind was whipping us around. It was far colder than I had anticipated. Hiking down didn’t do much to warm us.
I loved the array of colours in the rocks, the directions seemingly random. We speculated about the stories of the rock, what could have been, what it had seen. We knew (and know) very little about the canyon, other than at some point in it’s history there had been water coursing through it. Every turn was another angle, something more to see. We started to warm when we rounded into the sun. We got just past the second lookout when we decided to heed the warnings saying to double your time going back up as a good estimate of how long it will take. We had hiked down for an hour and fifteen minutes, and we wanted to be back at the car by 12. So we hiked back up at our regular pace and when we got to the top saw that it only took a forty-five minutes! The trail was a lot busier by then, and we were glad we had started when we did, when it was relatively calm.
The Grand Canyon was amazing, and hiking down into it is worth a spot on anybody’s bucket list. I am so glad we got to see and experience it. Next time I’d like to hike to the bottom and camp overnight, which we didn’t have time to do this time (or the gear). I can’t wait to bring my future children here!