The months leading up to my departure from the Philippines, I wrote a list of places I wish to see and things I want to do when I arrive in the US. I ticked some of them off of my list in no time, but some places require traveling to another city/state, which I knew wouldn’t happen overnight. Who knew that in just ten months, I would have been to more places—both within and outside San Diego—than all my in-laws have, combined? Definitely not this girl. If it isn’t obvious enough, the Grand Canyon was on my travel bucket list.
It only took us about 5 miles to get to the park’s entrance from our hotel. Entrance fee costs $30 per head (as of posting), but ours were waived because Roan used to be in the military. It was almost 8 o’clock in the morning when we arrived at the Visitor Center, but it doesn’t open until 9, so we went ahead to explore the park on our own, using the map provided as our guide.
The park is so vast that you will find what they call the Market Place and the Village, which are conveniently located just a few miles from the park entrance. Establishments around here include the Canyon Village Market (General Store), a bank (with ATM), a clinic, a post office, lodging areas, campgrounds, gift shops, and so much more.
The air was so crisp with temperatures ranging between 30s and 40s that the occasional wind chill only made it worse for two Californians who aren’t accustomed to lower temperatures. Two layers of clothing weren’t enough, and I was mentally kicking myself for not bringing my gloves and scarf on this trip. Roan and I both knew it’s going to be cold up in the mountains, but it never occurred to us that it snows there, too.
My first sight of the Grand Canyon, on our way to one of the designated viewpoints, brought me to tears. I kept uttering “Oh, my God!” and “This is magnificent, Lord!” under my breath as Roan pulled over to the side of the road. The view was spectacular; there’s just no better words to describe its grandeur. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Here are a few interesting facts you might want to know:
- The Grand Canyon is among the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, a list compiled by CNN in 1997.
- It is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.
- The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.
- The Grand Canyon reveals a beautiful sequence of rock layers that serve as windows into time. It is the result of erosion, which exposes one of the most complete geologic columns on the planet.
- The Grand Canyon is a river valley in the Colorado Plateau.
- Temperatures on the North Rim are generally lower than those on the South Rim because of the greater elevation. Access to the North Rim via the primary route leading to the canyon (State Route 67) is limited during the winter season due to road closures.
- The Grand Canyon are has some of the cleanest air in the United States; however, at times, the air quality can be considerably affected by events such as forest fires and dust storms in the Southwest.
At least five Grand Canyon viewpoints, unmarked pullouts, picnic areas, and services can be found along the 25-mile Desert View Drive (East of Village). Stopping at every viewpoint allows you to take in the canyon’s beauty in different angles and perspectives. It may seem that you’re looking at the same old land every time, but no. Each part of the vista tells a story of the earth’s topographical history.