Grand is an understatement when used to describe this impressive place. The sheer size of the canyon made all of the other sites we had seen so far look like a mere dust speck on a gnat’s wing. We peered at every ridge carved out by the mighty Colorado River and even with a clear view towards the horizon, we could not wrap our minds around the magnitude of this natural chasm. It is not until you have visited the Grand Canyon that you get a real sense of its intense power which draws visitors in with a tidal force too great to resist.
Night Time Explorers
We drove straight down from Horseshoe Bend along US 89 into the park. By the time we arrived to Grand Canyon National Park the sun was ready for bed and presented us with the most spectacular array of colors it had left to display. As night fell we continued our drive through the entire park and were met with some unexpected surprises along the way. Out of nowhere an elk (the size of what seemed like a semi-truck to us) scampered across the hood of our tiny sedan. It was not the docile elk pictured below lazily eating its dinner but had I taken a picture of the one we had seen previously, I probably would not be here telling you this tale… Thankfully no one (and no animals) were harmed during the incident.
To calm our nerves, we stopped at an overlook at the end of the park to enjoy the starry night. The moon was intense illuminating the streaky clouds that lingered in the sky but the stars, ethereal, still managed to shimmer their way through it all.
A Voyage Through Time
A big draw for visitors to the Grand Canyon is a stroll along the Rim Trail. While here you can meditate on the mammoth stretch of geological time while gazing out at the multitude of colorful rocks similarly distended far past the horizon. Along this trail, you will come across the Trail of Time exhibit with every meter along your walk denoting one million years. You begin to compare the rocks’ timeline to our own and suddenly begin to feel a skosh minute in the grand scheme of things.
As we walked our way back to the modern age we observed as the sun and sky collaborated to gift us with the most perfect symphony of colors. An ochre and tawny afterglow swirled above like taffy being pulled at a fair. Saffron speckled the rocks along the horizon injecting itself with even more intensity while the night fell and the plum panorama enveloped us. The great energy emitted by this Grand Canyon had taken us on a voyage through the senses, through time, and through the vast space it encompasses. We couldn’t help but be mesmerized by it all and were fortunate to have experienced it in person.
- For a different kind of time warp be sure to visit nearby Williams along Route 66 for your fill of Classic Americana and kitschy memorabilia.
- Visit Pete’s Gas Station Museum along the strip for a picture frozen in time.
- It can be hard to find affordable accommodations near the park during high season. Try a stay in a cozy KOA cabin nearby. Ours was comfortable and complete with National Park Service’s centennial curtains!