We took a vacation in the fall of 2010 which included a drive through a good part of Oregon, the entire length of Nevada, and enough of Arizona to get to the Grand Canyon. We camped, stayed in a Las Vegas Hotel, and camped some more.
We planned our days around being able to take in as much as we could, without completely overloading our toddler. Thankfully, he is the best little traveler I’ve seen. Nary a complaint, just eager to go and see and do. Visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time was another rung on his ladder of exploration.
Our little excursion to the Grand Canyon began as so many do, driving out from Las Vegas. First stop, of course, Boulder Dam. Our little man did something we will laugh about when he is older while there. My wife was able to find a ladies room at the top of the dam, but we couldn’t seem to find one for the boys.
As I walked around looking for one, our three year old took matters into his own hands, literally. He dropped his pants and peed on the top of Hoover Dam. I heard a man say “when you gotta go, you gotta go.” looked at my son, and saw business was being taken care of.
That done, it was off through the desert and forest of northern Arizona. We drove to the South Rim, so we went through Kingman and just above Flagstaff. The little town of Williams, Arizona is where we left the freeway and headed up to Grand Canyon National Park.
Our desires for scenic wonder began to be placated right away, as we saw some elk just after crossing into the park. We proceeded to rim for our first moment of wonder at the spectacular hole in the ground known as the Grand Canyon.
Our son being who he is, he immediately had to pick up some rocks to through down into the canyon. This action was a staple of our trip, he threw stones in lakes, over cliffs, into streams and rivers, and just out into the desert. But to chuck some off the edge of the Grand Canyon, that was his pinnacle. We all have our high points while on vacation.
We drove along the rim, stopping several times and taking short hikes. A couple of times I went off the edge, much to the chagrin of my wife. We had limited daylight, so we crammed all we could into the time we had.
To stand there and take it all in, to literally look back through the ages at the carved sides of the canyon, brings such a huge measure of awe. At one point I was taking it all in and snickered. My wife asked me what I thought was funny.
I recalled to her how I had read on a creationist website the view that the Grand Canyon was created by the flood of Noah. I wondered how a even modestly educated mind could think so. The only reason the canyon has become so deep is through millennia after millennia of general uplifting of the area. If the ground level had not been rising, the Colorado River would have found a much easier route to the sea.
After the last stop, we stayed at the canyon edge as darkness fell, and made our way back down a short forest trail to the parking in the dark, under a spectacular canopy of stars. We made it back to the car and prepared for our trip back to Vegas.
Sadly enough, we only got to spend a few hours actually at the Grand Canyon. Personally, I could spend days and days. So much to explore. But alas, everything we had crammed into the trip didn’t permit anything but a short visit. Next time we will camp there too, and explore more of Arizona. That is, of course, unless we forget our “papers.” It is Arizona after all!
Visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time has two effects on a person. First, you ask yourself why it took so long for you to get there in the first place. Second, you want to know when you can come back.