This week, I’m returning to my US road trip within this blog. To be precise, I’m travelling back to Arizona in my mind, whilst writing. On this particular day, that I am thinking about, we visited the Grand Canyon.
We had picked up a hitchhiker on the way to the canyon. He had been cycling around the US but had realised that cycling in 40°C on a long straight desert road with no shade, was not the most pleasant (and possibly not the most sensible) of things to do after all and thus had resorted to travelling with the power of a raised thumb.
When we arrived after a few hours drive, it was quite amusing to see how unfazed the hitchhiker was by that “big hole” in the ground. After a quick 5 minute stroll along the ridge and the mandatory photo, he donned his backpack, put on his sunglasses and walked off – to the next car park or road to find more scenic views somewhere else.
Funnily enough, I could understand him. As we were travelling with an RV, we had to use the rather touristy roads and parking spaces within the national parks. We simply weren’t willing to get stuck somewhere with that colossal vehicle. Therefore, the parking space we had arrived at, was close to a gift shop, a cafeteria and a lot of other tourists. The fact that these were located in a watchtower that looked old but had purposefully built for tourists in 1932, did give it the feeling of a slightly weird amusement park. However, all this did not take away the beauty of the scenery before us. Grand Canyon, as far as the eye could see.
We had decided to visit the canyon’s South Rim as we knew that we would not be able to see the entire canyon due to time limitations. And looking back, I think we chose well (even though I obviously can’t tell what we were missing out on compared to the other rim areas).
It was a slightly hazy day but the various shades of red and orange of the different rock layers were still clearly distinguishable, giving the entire canyon a striped appearance.
During our hike alongside the rim, I at times could no longer judge the actual dimensions of the canyon. It didn’t seem “that deep” or the other side didn’t look “that far away”. But every time we spotted one of the numerous crows, swooping over the canyon, the proportions corrected themselves and I again felt like a dwarf.
All in all, the Grand Canyon is a stunning place to be, even if you cannot get off the beaten track. Simply seeing a natural phenomenon of that size is near to overwhelming.
And that touristy watchtower – the Desert View Watchtower – well, it actually fitted into the scenery rather nicely and, having been modelled after ancient ancestral Puebloans watchtowers, it even has an educational purpose.
If you’d like to read more about the Grand Canyon or the Desert View Watchtower, have a look here: