Growing up, my parents took my younger sister and me on vacation every summer to great destinations throughout the western United States, however – no offense mom and dad – I do not remember most of them, including the Grand Canyon.
Growing up, my husband did not have the same opportunities that I had; he was born and raised in New York and with the exception of a few trips to New Jersey and a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida he had not seen too much. We have three children who had not seen much more than Interstate 5 between San Diego and Sacramento. Hello! Boring!
Being in the military, we have opportunities (sometimes) to see exotic places, but how often do we get see a natural wonder, like the Grand Canyon in our own backyard.
We travelled across the country in late fall, so camping in Grand Canyon National Park was not an option. We elected for a KOA Campground in Flagstaff, Arizona, which was a 90 minute drive from the park.
We had done our research and knew we would only be able to see a portion of the South Rim, which was fine. We arrived in the park at a reasonable hour so parking along the rim trail was plentiful. The weather was perfect that day; we chose to take a nice long walk along the Paved Rim Trail.
Honestly, we did not pay too much attention to the trail maps; we just walked until we found our first visitors’ center, Yavapai Geology Museum and Observation Station. Here we were able to learn some of the basics about the canyon, look at photographs, models and various exhibits. The building was definitely a must see. It was made almost entirely of stone, kind of rustic.
It was getting late into the day and we heard we should check out the South Rim Visitor Center where there were many interactive static displays where the kids could learn about the layers in the canyon, weather and little on the Colorado River, which runs through the canyon.
While my husband and children were taking in views of the canyon with the naked eye, I was viewing it through a camera lens. It is amazing how one can look at the same scenery over and over again, but never see the same thing just once. One of the best parts of that day, for me, was the scattered clouds and movement of the sun, which casted shadows on the canyon.
The Grand Canyon is one of those places that should be visited multiple times. There is so much to do and see there and so many ways to see it. Even if an individual lives local, they need to make every effort to come back throughout their lifetime. In spite of being there as a young child, I as well as my family were in complete awe of the beauty the canyon had to offer.