Grand Canyon is just too Grand

As a gentleman said in the public toilets said, “the Grand Canyon is, well Grand”. Ignoring the fact he didn’t follow the man rules (no talking at the urinals) and that it’s a corny joke worthy of my repeating, he’s right. As Wallace, from Wallace And Gromit, would say – it’s simply “Grand”.

First Impressions

Three of us left the hostel in the morning, jumped into my car and headed towards the Canyon armed with a 7 day pass given to us by someone in my dorm. We parked up in the Visitors centre and wandered towards the viewing area. Each of us uttered a simple phrase “Holy S*!t” as the canyon loomed into view. The Grand Canyon is huge. Much bigger than you imagine. Much bigger than you’d ever guess. It’s colossal. It’s ginormous. It’s so big you can’t see it all from any view point and I just couldn’t get my head around it!

The Grand Canyon is 1.1miles deep, 18miles wide and 277 miles long. It’s effing massive.

So, there the three of us were, standing leaning against the railing, quietly taking in the splendour and a large American lady saddles up beside us. A moments silence passes and she looks across to us and says “I’m glad there is a railing here, it’d be easy to murder someone otherwise”. We all look at each other for a second before the Frenchman, concerned he mistranslated asked me what she just said. We were all as mystified as each other, 100 yards to the right and there was no railing and it’d have been easy to “murder” someone. The thing was, she was “deadly” serious so we quietly stepped to the left. Some things are best left alone!

To hike, first you must go down

We jumped on the shuttle bus and headed to the South Kaibab Trail (pdf trail map) ready for some hiking action. We had a relatively short period of time due to the distances we needed to travel that day, hence, we chose a relatively simple hike which had the prettiest views.

We quickly reached the first destination, the Ooh Aah Point and paused to drink some water, say “ooooo” and “aaaaah”, take some pictures and then continued downwards. We were flying and quickly reached Cedar point where we walked out to the edge and just sat back, enjoying the tranquillity that the vastness of space allowed. The Frenchman ate his boiled eggs, I had my sandwich and Sebastian ate his slices of bread. We all just chilled and enjoyed the moment. There was silence around us and a seemingly limitless emptiness in front of us.

A quick interlude to tell you about The Frenchman – first of all, neither the German or I could pronounce his name so we settled on “Frenchman” which he was happy with. Secondly he was the first Frenchman I’d met willing to take the mickey out of himself – halfway down the hike he stops us and announces we were walking to fast and that, as a Frenchman, he felt duty bound to inform us of impending strike-action. Whilst as we all got along great, it was The Frenchman’s comments that amused Sebastian and the most.

On the way back I pushed hard. It’d been a while since I had walked with vengeance and I fancied a challenge so I took up a fast pace and set off on the 1.5mile, 300m climb (1000ft) trail. I motored along overtaking everyone and as I went someone commented that I was huffing-and-puffing just like he was until I pointed out that how far I’d travelled in how long… 27minutes after leaving Cedar point I paused at the trailhead. I couldn’t have gone any quicker and was pleased to refill the water bottles and sit back waiting for the others.

Driving the South Rim left us feeling underwhelmed

We were headed North to Paige / Kenab so took Highway 64 East which travels along the South Rim. There are loads of car parks which offer a view point and we had fun clambering about the rocks looking at different views but after a while you started to feel numb.

The Grand Canyon is so vast it’s impossible to grasp just how big it is and thus it starts to leave you feeling slightly bored. We couldn’t grasp how water could possibly have made the canyon. We couldn’t grasp the dimensions. We couldn’t grasp the amount you could see (visibility was spectacular). We couldn’t grasp the depth or the width. we couldn’t grasp that although we’d hiked for 1.5miles, we hadn’t even got close to the bottom. We couldn’t grasp the age… Yes it’s pretty and yes it an awe inspiring sight but we were left a little underwhelmed simply because it is over-achieving.

Maybe the Canyon is too Grand.

Click here to load a map showing you the location of this post and images from the digitallery taken nearby.