Road Trip #1 - A Grand Ol' Canyon

Friday, June 29, 2012

After a night in Vegas (which was more than enough for me - being neither a drinker, nor a gambler), we were picked up from our Hotel/Casino by Bob, of Campervan North America, to collect our fabulous little campervan (photos will come, I promise) for our first ever Wild West Road Trip.

Then we started where any great American road trip should - at a Walmart Superstore!

After stocking up on the essentials for 12 days in the wilds (yes, that includes cookies and chocolate) we hit the road for a 5ish hour drive through the desert, past the Hoover Dam to the Grand Ol' Canyon.  My navigational skills which always come into question were exemplary.

The Canyon provided us with our most challenging hike of the trip - a 9.2 mile (15km) return trip along Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden (approx 3000 ft or 1 km down the canyon) in progressively stifling conditions (even with a 6am start!).

On the Bright Angel Trail ( others taking the easy way with mules!)
According to the hiking guide we read later in the day, it was a three sandwich hike. We did not have the recommended three sandwiches (between us we had 5 muesli bars, an apple and a nectarine), but we were better prepared than the woman wearing a tank-top, skirt and sandals, sporting a smart leather hand bag.

I have since discovered that this hike, particularly once you get past Indian Garden, is considered one of America's 10 most dangerous, due to the extreme heat and risk of dehydration, combined with the lure of the easy walk down. I was pretty happy with our decision to turn back at Indian Garden. And I would recommend being better prepared than we were (seriously!)- apparently salty snacks are important!

Left: Colorado River in distance, Right: Condor 97 in foreground (tagged)

Bright Angel Trail
And while the Canyon was indeed Grand, at the risk of upsetting someone somewhere, on our travels, there was one other (much more delicate) sight which, for me, trumped this Natural Wonder of the World. Having said that, Grand Canyon is definitely a sight to see, but unless you are doing a lot of hiking, you don't need too much time here.

Grand Canyon Facts
  • 277 miles (446 km) long
  • Up to 18 miles (29 km) wide
  • 1 mile (1.6 km) deep
  • But not the deepest, widest or longest in the world
  • About 200 hikers rescued every year

Going to Grand Canyon?
Visit the Grand Canyon National Park website
Book ahead - we had wanted to hike to the bottom of the Canyon to stay at Phantom Ranch, but, alas, it was booked out!


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