The Grand Canyon

Big in every way! From the moment we first arrived at Grand Canyon National Park, it screamed I am B I G! And I haven’t even seen the canyon yet! Many roads leading everywhere. Big village. Big market place. Big busses driving all around.

Finally, we’re finding our way to the trailer village and driving past the campground. The campground looked lovely, and I was optimistically thinking that maybe the trailer and rv area would be spacious and natural looking also. Wrong! Annie was too big for the rustic campground and we really wanted hook ups anyway. In the rv area, we were pretty lined up and pretty tight and the campground was full every night. But, all that said, there were some trees amidst the trailers and there were some empty woodlands nearby for us to walk the dog.

The welcoming committee met us when we arrived
The welcoming committee met us when we arrived

We pulled in, registered, found our assigned space and started to set up. We weren’t even completely settled in and the welcoming committee arrived. Four large elk came into our site for a midday snack. They checked Opa out and continued on their way.  Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

It was awhile since we had full hook ups, so it was time to do laundry that evening. Several loads. But, I am spoiled having my own washer and dryer in our coach and I could do laundry, make dinner, and use the internet all at once. So get chores done and start exploring the next day.

For our first day, we decided to get on the shuttle, which had a stop at Trailer Village, and ride it a ways along the rim and then get out to walk a trail. Although dogs are allowed on trails along the rim, they are not allowed on the shuttles, and cars weren’t allowed on those roads. So Coda had to guard Annie while we went out.

A little bit of a very BIG canyon
A beautiful day in an amazing place
A beautiful day in an amazing place

I finally get to see The Grand Canyon! We had to make a shuttle transfer at one of the popular scenic spots. Of course, we stepped over to the scenic overlook and wow!  The canyon seems to go on endlessly, vertically and horizontally. Sometimes you even get a glimpse of the mighty Colorado River which looks very small from way up on the rim. We took the next shuttle quite a ways down the road and then got out to walk an easy 2.5 mile trail along the rim. Every view was amazing! Spectacular! Grandiose! We took our time photographing and admiring, had a leisurely lunch that we had packed, and then eventually made our way back to Annie.

A new day, a new viewpoint
Opa looking over the canyon
Opa looking over the canyon

The next day, we decided to go for a ride towards the Desert View Visitor Center. There was rain in the forecast.  So we packed our rain coats, a lunch, invited the dog, and drove off. We stopped at every possible viewpoint and admired and photographed to our hearts content. We never got rained on (but found out later that our trailer village did). A wonderful and splendid day!

The third day, again, had rain and afternoon storms in the forecast. We were hoping to do a hike below the rim that day. So we packed our backpack with rain coats and lunch and caught a shuttle to our trail head for the South Kaibab Trail. Dogs are not allowed below the rim or on the shuttles, so Coda could not join us.

Admiring the view from the South Kaibab Trail
Admiring the view from the South Kaibab Trail

The South Kaibab Trail does go all the way down to the river but my goal was to make it to Ooh – Aah Point – Distance roundtrip is 1.8 miles (2.9 km). The roundtrip hike time is approx. 1-2 hours. The elevation changes 600 feet (183 m).

It was difficult for me. I have had knee injuries since my childhood and a few surgeries there after. I have also had a few eye surgeries which although I have great vision for very poor eyes, well I feel a little off-balance and fall more often than I like. I was afraid of heights before and that has only gotten worse with my “issues”.

One view from Ooh-aah point
One view from Ooh-aah point. You can see lower portions of the trail in the distance and the storm clouds moving in.

As the saying goes, “What does not kill you, makes you stronger!” I was bound and determined to do this hike. And after all of that, I will say, really, it wasn’t too bad at all! I clung to the wall side and took small slow steps and used hiking sticks. The views were AMAZING! We got down to Ooh – Aah Point and everything was more amazing! We ate a snack on the rocks and after a nice long break, soaking in this immense beauty, we headed upward. The trail back up got trickier because the lightning, winds, sleet, snow, and rain had begun. The views of the canyon had disappeared. It was important to stick to the trail now. We took a break about half way up under a rock overhang. After awhile, we made the decision to continue on, the storm wasn’t stopping any time soon. It was cold, windy and wet. Finally made it to the top and welcomed that shuttle bus. Got back home and warmed up. I would do it again and go farther down the trail, but on a day with no rain in the forecast.

We hung out for a while in the 5th wheel, warming up and recuperating, and finally decided we needed to go check out the geology museum. That’s a good thing to do on a rainy day. We got there and as we were standing in front of the large viewing windows, the fog suddenly lifted. It was spectacular! The colors popped! The views were awesome! Of course, we didn’t bring the cameras because it had been raining for hours. So we took a few pictures immediately with the cell phone, then rushed back to Annie, grabbed the cameras, came back, and got some spectacular photos!

The clouds parted, and the result was spectacular
The clouds parted, and the result was spectacular late afternoon light in the canyon

I wouldn’t have minded some more time at the Grand Canyon, but we took all that we could get with the reservations we made months earlier. We’ll have to plan another visit. I even told Opa that I’d still like to raft the river and see the canyon from that perspective. Kayaking big water like that isn’t in the picture for me anymore, but I wouldn’t mind rafting!



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