Grand Canyon in a Day

Travel blog

Grand Canyon in a Day

The Dog Lady Goes on a Field Trip Series

I almost feel ashamed trying to put into words the glory that is the Grand Canyon.  Who ever thought a huge hole in the ground would be so magnificent?  Oh, but it is.  I could try to wax poetic with my feeble words but I could not begin to do it justice.  The best I can do is show you some of my favorite pictures and encourage you to venture out and see it for yourself.

By the time Desiree and I made it to the Grand Canyon proper, we were hurting.  Things ached in places we did not know we had things.  I think we were 70 some miles into our hiking adventure and suddenly our thirties were hailing loudly via our joints.  In this case the military did two things for me:  gave me bad knees, but also gave me a can-do attitude and some first aid skills.  So we hobbled along.  There are regular buses that go throughout the park, but sometimes the waits are long, so we tried to walk pretty much everywhere.

South Rim

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The Grand Canyon village itself is actually extremely accessible for all types of people (lucky for us gimps).  We spent the day wandering the South Rim trail and taking in all the glory that is the canyon.  We wandered around the Grand Canyon Village and looked at the history museums and displays.  Finally we watched the sunset along the trail close to Maricopa Point.  A local park ranger we met there took pity on us and gave us and a professional photographer we met there a ride back to the lodge.  I'm going to give John a plug here: check out his amazing landscape photography at Johnathan Rhynhold Photography. For now you will have to make do with my less than stellar photography skills.

Grand Canyon National Park
Hopi House
Hopi House
Grand Canyon Village
El Tovar

After checking out Mather point we explored the Grand Canyon Visitor's Center, with its educational exhibits and bookstore. We wandered around the village, looking at the Kolb Studio, the Mary Colter Hopi House, and the El Tovar itself.  The El Tovar is a National Historic Landmark first built in 1905 by architect Charles Frederick Whittlesey and it is truly a jewel of heritage. The history here is rich and palpable.  It is easy to be transported back in time, to before the canyon was discovered by Westerners, to when it was first developed by the Fred Harvey Company, to modern times when tourists first made the Grand Canyon trip a part of Americana.  I half expected Yogi Bear to come strolling around with Ranger Smith, telling everyone about Jellystone! I particularly loved the Harvey Girl's exhibit in the Bright Angel Lodge.  I put The Harvey Girls starring Judy Garland down on my list of films to watch!

My National Parks Passport
I got my trusty National Parks Passport cancellation stamp at The Verkamp's Visitor Center.  My inner veteran was touched because they were lowering and folding the flag by the time we made it in.  It's nice to see the flag treated with reverence.

If we were less gimpy at that point in our Great Western Adventure, we would have been all over hiking some of the popular trails such as Bright Angel or Kaibab.  However, we were toast and still had a bunch of hiking ahead of us on our adventure, so we took it fairly easy, staying to the Rim Trail.

For some recommendations:

Where to Stay

We had been planning on camping at an Air BnB place but our reservations got cancelled on us last minute (buyers beware), leaving us scrambling to find a hotel.  Luckily for us we found space at the Yavapai Lodge inside the Grand Canyon National Park.  There are a few other lodges there as well, the most famous being El Tovar (the historic one) and Bright Angel. There are also Kachina and Thunderbird lodges.  Check out The Grand Canyon's Historic Village site for more information.

Yavapai was more affordable as its views were not directly on the rim...and it was slightly strange.  There was this weird electric outlet in the corner by the ceiling...not a logical place.  No outdoor lighting so as not to obscure the night sky with light pollution, so a headlamp comes in handy when navigating after dark. And their cafeteria was really odd.  But they make a great effort to be environmentally conscious so that gains kudos in my book. Maswik Lodge is supposed to be affordable as well but they do not have air conditioning so beware.

If you did not book either some form of camping or a lodge inside the Grand Canyon, you are left with trying to find accommodation outside the park. Williams and Cameron are the closest cities...but close is a relative term.  They are quite far away.  It surprised us when we were driving out how long it took to drive past those towns.  If you can get lodging in the park, do it.


The historic Grand Canyon Railway runs from Williams every day, but there are not a lot of trains, so check the schedule.  It's pretty nifty looking though.
Grand Canyon Village

Where to Eat

The Yavapai had a bar that was alright.  We had lunch at the Harvey House Cafe in Bright Angel Lodge and it was excellent.  For breakfast, I made my famous trail oatmeal in our rooms lol.

Mountain Warehouse

What Not To DoWe planned on doing the new zip-line course over at the Hualapai Ranch.  It looks amazing and the tickets are first come, first serve.  It's over near the Skywalk as well, although we heard the Skywalk was touristy and a lot of $. However we did not, being silly tourists, understand the scale of distance between the rims of the canyon.  The zip-line course was over at the West Rim and we were staying at the South Rim,  a drive of about 4 hours.  Needless to say we ended up not fitting that into our schedule.  Next time though!  There will definitely be a next time.  There are some places I would love to climb in the canyon.
South Rim

And of course, Dogs

And for your doggy tie-in, as we were walking along the South Rim trail we acquired a hiking buddy.  Lucy the Golden Retriever was walking her mom to the South Kaibab Trail-head and she decided we were a part of her pack. Dogs are allowed on the Rim trail and Lucy was enjoying the sights to the fullest.  I love dogs- when they decide you are a part of their pack, it is decided.  So we walked the whole way with the lovely Miss Lucy and her owner and did as travelers do- shared adventure stories and advice for the next big expedition!

And with that I will leave you with the hope that you too will plan your next big adventure!

Sammy the Dog Trainer
High Sierra

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