One of the Seven Natural Wonders of World, we could not miss the chance to swing by for a peep; in the spirit of full disclosure, it is not “swing by” and takes more than a “peep”. It really takes a full day, even from Flagstaff. To our surprise, we discovered on a little town, Tusayan just 6 miles from the park with several nice hotels. If you stayed here, you could actually do a couple of days at the park.
Our journey begins on I40 with our travel companion.
Soon we see signs for the Grand Canyon loop. From this point the road goes left and right; full loop, no opportunity for me to make a wrong decision here. We have taken this same loop about 10 years ago, this time we go to the west. Highway 180 heads to the west side of our friend Mt Humphrey. The morning is just perfect, blue sky, 50 crisp degrees, making the drive around the mountain is just spectacular.
Beautiful views in all directions.
We enter the park which is just as confusing as the first time. There is a HUGE visitor center. We stop, trying to get our bearings. We arrive at the perfect time for a picnic and a hike. There are no people here, seriously, no people.
We walk for two hours, see maybe 12 people, except it was more like 6 since I am pretty sure we saw most of them both ways.
The south rim hike is so worth the time. The view is just AWESOME.
The rocks on the bottom most part of the canyon are more than 2,000,000,000. Yup, that is not a typo, 2 thousand million years ago
Along the path we notice a penny embedded sidewalk every 3 feet. Each penny represents 1 billion years. Brass markers indicate each 10 billion years. Samples of the rocks that signify that period in time are found along the trail. Maps showing exposed deposits are located along the trail. Did you know that granite counter top in your kitchen is 1,800 million years old? No wonder it cost so much!
We take the desert view road and there are several turnouts where you can see the canyon from different angles. What a beautiful drive. There is one smaller visitor center at the east end of the park. This is worth the short walk to the lookout. It is now about 3:30 and the sun is beginning its decent, changing the colors of the canyon.
We know that we have a long drive, so we head back, tired and fulfilled. To our surprise, the setting sun, reflecting off of the wall of the north rim, miles and miles from here, provide us with yet more views of the canyon.
Another Amazing Retirement Adventure!