You see, driving to the Grand Canyon is kinda an adventure; it’s in the middle of nowhere. I like that. That makes it special – like I have to really have to travel to get there… Like, it must be good to be this far from civilisation! So, when I saw the “National Geographic Museum” enroute to the park, I thought I was in heaven! From my childhood experience of “binge-reading” Nat Geo’s, I knew this would be good quality… yyyyeeaaah, not a chance.
I was severely disappointed. My hopes and dreams of seeing archaeological findings at the National Geographic Museum were squashed. There was a small unoccupied help desk, Imax and ‘resturant’ with Pizza Hut pizza. Nothing quality there – just another part of corporate America attaching itself to National Landmarks. I was in and out of there in five minutes and decided on having lunch in the carpark from the reserves I brought with me – a healthier option.
After that bout of disappointment, we headed inside the National Park. They informed us that there was no camping available that night which pretty much made no sense since it was in the off season. But decided that since we drove a good four hours, we’d risk it.
The Grand Canyon has an interesting setup. They are “user ready” for the mass of visitors that it receives every year. There are a few day parking lots scattered around – good luck finding a spot on a warm and sunny day – it’s tough. One can only imagine how many punch ups there have been over car spaces!
I personally could not comprehend the sheer size of the canyon. It’s just not that easy to get your head around. It was absolutely gorgeous, but I think you need to see it from the bottom as well as the top to truly appreciate what you are looking at.
There’s great little nooks and crannies that are paved – so quite user friendly for less agile sightseers!
If you stay for the sunset, it’s almost like a beautiful natural light show. As the sun falls, the rocks change colour. The same goes for the morning, but I find it a bit more spectacular but quicker.
After the stunning light show, it was time to find where to camp. The day carpark wasn’t an option as they patrol that area and probably aren’t fans of people like us so have a setup in our van. Prices outside the park were crazy – we didn’t need a tent or shower as we had bedding in the van, so we drove around looking for a place away from everyone else.
We basically cracked the windows of the van and stealthy napped in one of the hotel’s parking lots until 6am. That’s when we went for a morning drive to see the morning light show.
Sure, the Grand Canyon should be on your must see list, but to me, it lost some of the magic. Yosemite has a camping lottery. Basically a bunch of you stand around at 3pm and wait for your name to be called for a camp site. It’s fun! It’s the way it should be. The Grand Canyon seems a bit more commercial so be prepared for that.
A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!