Out and About: The Grand Canyon

For the Martin Luther King Day three-day weekend, my boyfriend and I decided to go to Grand Canyon National Park. I had only been once before at the beginning of my freshman year, and it completely took my breath away. So when we went again I was filled with excitement at seeing the beautiful natural wonder of the world for the second time. We left at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 18 and stopped in Williams for lunch. 

We ate at a beautiful, old-west themed restaurant called Pine Country. While the service wasn’t the fastest, the food was great. I suggested we walk around Williams for a bit since it was such a charming little town. All around the downtown area where Pine Country was located were monuments to the old Route 66, on which Williams used to be a major stop. There was also a little tribute to the town’s railroad history, including a zipline over the old train depot, and some locomotives for display. Unfortunately, we did not take the zipline as it was closed.

Continuing the drive, we finally reached Tusayan and went into the park. Finding parking did not take as long as it did my previous trip, and we found a good spot right by Yavapai Geological Museum. The museum has a very educational look at the geology and history of the canyon. It includes multiple samples of various types of rocks found in the different layers of the canyon and had a large viewing area that showed a breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon.

After visiting the museum we continued along the Rim Trail. At various intervals, we stepped away from the paved trail to climb down. There was a lot of snow and ice, especially in the shade, so we were very careful. In one instance, my boyfriend made a trail by pushing snow away on a narrow ledge and stepping across to get to another portion of climbable rock. I found another way down, but coming back up I wanted to go the same way he did. His gait is much longer than mine and subsequently so were the stepping places he made. Halfway through his path, I couldn’t reach my foot out enough to get a stable grip on the rock. I was facing the rock wall and my supporting foot was rapidly feeling less and less supporting. The primal, deeply rooted fear of turning my back on a large drop crept up on me, and it took all my willpower to not panic. Finally, I calmed down enough to inch forward and create another path.

We found more and more places to climb down, sometimes going from rock formation to rock formation down 40 feet or more. People hiking up the trail further saw us climbing down, but none of them joined in the fun. As the sun started setting, we decided to head back up after exploring far down the canyon. It took a while to get back up and by then our hands were completely numb from grabbing the cold rock and moving away snow and ice. In all our excitement for the day, we had forgotten to bring gloves.

Although this trip was before all the major stressors of the semester, it was still a very relaxing and worthwhile excursion. The Grand Canyon continues to be one of my favorite places to be. It’s definitely worth driving three hours to see a big hole in the ground.