This is one of our first views of the canyon. I couldn't help but imagine myself a traveler in the early 1800s making my way north across a gentle desert plain and then suddenly facing this. Your options at that point are few and painful.
In order to make the canyon seem more real, we decided to hike down into the canyon a short distance. The NPS warns against trying to hike to the Colorado River and back in one day, and since the river was 5,000 feet below us, we decided to heed that advice. Our alternative: hike down for 30 minutes, and then plod our way back up. The picture above shows the girls near the beginning of the South Kaibab Trail, and you can see several switchbacks below them. Looking at this picture now, I get a stronger sense of vertigo than when I took the photo.
This is the view down to our turnaround at Ooh Aah Point, the rocky point in the middle of the image with steps beneath it.
Here's a view from the point, 780 feet below the rim. There's still a long way down to the bottom!
Here we are making our way back up. The beginning of the trail is just in front of the leftmost little cloud on the rim, several hundred feet above us.
Another view of the canyon from the South Kaibab Trail. I was impressed with the quantity and variety of vegetation in the canyon.
This is how we all felt on the shuttle bus back to our car.
Some friends in Tremont recommended this restaurant in Cameron, Arizona east of the GCNP. If you're ending your visit by exiting the east end of the park, we recommend this little oasis in the desert, especially since we were not in a mood to delay dinner another hour until we arrived back in Flagstaff.
Another good idea that accompanies us on most of our vacations is bath salts for aching muscles. We tired flatlanders appreciate a little help in recovering from a day of hiking. Thanks for visiting!