Miles driven: Zion to Grand Canyon – 250
With the endless possibilities that planning a cross county road trip presents, one of the first “bucket list” items I put on the itinerary was watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. Now, as embarrassing as it is to admit that this wish may have been inspired by seeing the ending scene from the movie, How to be Single, I knew it would be one of the most magnificent views we could incorporate into our trip.
The last (and only) time I visited the grandest canyon of them all was back in third grade while on a family trip to visit my uncle, Tim. While I thought it was cool, I definitely didn’t fully appreciate the natural wonder of Mother Nature, and the photos of me standing beside the massive landform sporting matching Umbro shorts and t-shirt and a boy’s bowlcut still haunt me. Luckily, the most memorable experience from that trip wasn’t my boyish appearance but rather my uncle falling asleep when he was supposed to watch me while the rest of the fam ventured down into the canyon for a quick hike (I knew the hike down would just result in a brutal walk back up and clearly didn’t want to mess up my hair with sweat).
Luckily, Randi and Kiley were up for the 4:40 am alarm in order to take a shuttle out to the canyon’s rim from our lodge room in the park. In an hour’s time, we were completely mesmerized by one of the day’s simplest events and so thankful we overcame our sleep deprivation to witness it first hand. After mediocre lattes at the Canyon’s coffee shop, we figured out that if we went immediately to the “least strenuous” trail, we’d have time to hike down into the canyon and be back in time to shower and check out of our room. You would think any novice hiking mistakes would have been made earlier in the week and not on our third straight day of hiking a national park. Nope. We were somehow dumb enough to think that a three mile round trip hike 1,500 or so feet below the canyon’s rim wouldn’t be too hard or take too long. Basically still in our pajamas (in fact, we looked like the college version of ourselves dragging our sweatsuited-selves to a 8 am class) we took what water we had, threw on our hiking boots, and headed for the trailhead. Not only was it bizarre to go down the trail before climbing up it, we also quickly realized that if we were exhausted going down, we were going to be totally gassed climbing back up. Despite sounding like a dying cow as I tried to maximize my minimal lung capacity, we (somehow) managed to complete the three mile hike, shower, and check out of our room on time. Needless to say, we were feeling like we had quite a productive morning.
Our last morning with Kiley. We dropped her off for a flight back to Vermont mere hours later. (This is the most physical contact we’ve had in years )
Watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon and doing a “quick” hike below the rim…check.
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