I’ve long thought about creating a bucket list. I haven’t done so yet, but if I had started one before our Arizona trip, seeing the Grand Canyon would’ve been on it. Visiting it for the first time last month proved that it was definitely bucket list worthy.
The drive from Sedona to the Grand Canyon wasn’t so bad. Just a little over two hours and we found ourselves in a long line of cars to pay the Grand Canyon National Park entrance fee. It’s $25 for a single vehicle, which gives you access to both the North and South rims and is good for seven days. Once we finally got through the entrance gates, we followed the road signs to the Visitor’s Center and encountered another obstacle — finding a parking space. The lot is pretty big, but the Grand Canyon is a mega tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world. After a good 20 minutes of driving around, we snagged a primo parking spot in the second lot, located very close to the entrance.
Mather Point is the lookout point located right at the Visitor’s Center, and that’s where we caught our first up close and personal view of the magnificent Grand Canyon.
Mikey and I stepped up to the railing and shared a quiet moment. It takes a few minutes to take it all in and remind yourself that this massive thing is real. And it’s hard to believe. The Canyon is so incredibly huge that it looks like a painting. So many cracks and grooves and crevices that will forever remain a mystery to you. It would be impossible to know and touch and experience every inch of the Grand Canyon. And with wind, rain and water, it’s constantly changing. If Mikey and I ever go back again, it will be a different canyon — whether visible to the eye or not.
After taking it in a snapping some pictures, we decided to grab a bite to eat at the snack shop. Another long line. At that point, I wished we would’ve planned the day better and brought our own sandwiches or picnic food. The snack shop options were somewhat plentiful, but they were overpriced, which is as to be expected. It’s the Grand Canyon, and the food prices are just as grand.
With our stomachs somewhat satisfied, we walked next door to the theater to watch a 20-minute movie about the Grand Canyon. Since we weren’t going on a tour or anything, I felt I needed some sort of explanation or expert wisdom about what we were experiencing. The movie is free and starts at every half hour. It proved to be pretty insightful. A few things that stuck with me:
- The movie referred to the Colorado River as the chisel that carved the Canyon. It’s amazing to think that body of water created (and continues to create) something so beautiful.
- An early pioneer was quoted during the movie, saying that the Grand Canyon was a wasteland. That no one would ever have any interest in it. No one would care to see it. If that dude were still alive, we might throw tomatoes at him. Or blast him on Twitter.
- Millions of years ago, the Grand Canyon was completely underwater. I can’t even fathom how long ago that actually was. To think of the Canyon beneath a massive ocean is a whole other point of fascination.
Once our movie was over, we got back into the car and drove to another lookout called Yavapai Point. The grounds were much less crowded than Mather Point, so we found a peaceful rock to take more photos. Yavapai Point also features a small Geology Museum, which we briefly stopped into. We were also surprised to see a number of people with their dogs at Yavapai. It made us wish The Bear could’ve been with us. He would’ve enjoyed the Canyon squirrel we saw below.
By the time we hit the road, we had only spent a couple hours at the Grand Canyon. I was beginning to feel like we hadn’t seen enough of it. Like I said before, there’s so much of it to see. We barely scratched the surface. But I realize that if you visit the Grand Canyon, you can experience it however you want. Some people are satisfied with seeing it from the Visitor’s Center and then heading home. Others want to hike it, climb it, conquer it. I guess no matter how you do it, you can always come back for more. It wouldn’t be hard to make every visit different from the last. That’s the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Over time, it changes. That’s what makes it so grand.