The Biggest Hole on Earth (video heavy)

You might think that after visiting Meteor Crater, that seeing a giant hole in the earth is not so grand after all…

You would be so wrong!

After many years and one other attempt to try and see the Grand Canyon, today would finally be the day!

I expected… I don’t know what exactly I expected other than a large wavy hole in the earth created by a river and wind and so on. What I didn’t expect, was to be overwhelmed by it all. Taking in such a massive phenomenon really blew my mind.

Here is how I spent 24 hours at the Grand Canyon (South Rim)

24 hrs_Grand Canyon

Day 4 (of our road trip) began with waking up at the crack o’ dawn (7:00 AM) to drive to the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff. It was freezing cold! The drive took 2-2 1/2 hours to the entrance of the South Rim. Once in the park there are several directions to get to the actual rim.

It will take about 10 minutes from the entrance to get to the Visitor Center. If you get there early, there should be plenty of parking to park in the Visitor Center parking lot. Otherwise you may be routed to a further lot {in which case, you will have to catch a bus}.

First, come prepared. For anything. A hike, a snack, a drink, an accident (first aid kit), camera. Literally anything!  One thing I did not expect, was for this to be an all day event.    {Honestly, I just thought we would look at the Rim, may be a short hike to a point and then be done} Yes, the Grand Canyon is HUGE! Even the way that the park is set up-like an amusement park- have to ride a bus to get to the next point kind of thing.

10 AM: We took this time to make breakfast in the RV before getting the day started, knowing that there would be a hike in our near future. After clean up, we got our packs ready and filled with snacks, water and any additional gear we might need.

Grand Canyon Suggestions
Visitor Center offers plenty of Tips!

11 AM: Start at the Visitor Center, here you will learn more about the Canyon. There are diagrams and pamphlets about the formation and even Map stations to map out your destination points just outside of the center. Across the way are options for eating, the shop and a place to rent bicycles. Just past the Visitor Center is the first look out point (Mather Point) take your time getting there, because when you do see it… You won’t really believe what you are seeing is real. Seriously. The layers upon layers upon layers of the Canyon mess with your eyes and your mind.

My first thoughts:  Is…Is this real? It looks like I’m looking at a movie screen.

On a clear day you may not have this issue, but the haze clouds your depth perception. When you start to really look over the edges and through cracks is when your mind begins to unravel the reality of it. At this point, you’ll start to see why so many people are drawn to this park from around the world.

The South Rim is 31 Miles long, there is a Rim Trail along the entire way and is a paved path. You are welcome to take it by foot and is suggested you only take bikes along the bike trails… which there are many!

12:30 AM: We walk from our first point down the Rim Trail to our next point of Yavapai Point, but not before Leah and I spot a cliff that we see others out on. Of course we need to be out there, so we hand off our packs to the boys and hustle down the rocks to make our way out onto the cliff to look deeply over the edges of the canyon. Here is where you can see the multiple levels and layers of the canyon (it never ends) and at some points, between crevasses you can see the Colorado River! Brad and Keenon nearly pooped their pants as we casually lean and hang over the edges. After a few photos, they began to yell at us from the top “Get off the edge! Come on, let’s go! Hurry!” Only to get back and be scolded like children- “Don’t do that again! I hate when you do that,  No More!” {I roll my eyes, say OK and wait for my next chance to hang off the edges}

1:30 PM: Catch the bus (Orange Line) back to the Visitor Center. Stay on the bus, the next stop will take you out to South Kaibab Trailhead and Yaki Point. We stopped and South Kaibab first, where we took a 2 mi RT hike to Ooh Aah Point. This trail will lead you further down into the canyon, depending on how long a hike you want to pursue. This trail is also open for pack mule rides, they have the right of way. So, if you’re on the trail- you’ll need to move off to the side to let them pass (watch video below).

2:15 PM: Getting down to Ooh Aah Point is a little tough. There are roughly 8 switch backs and is down hill with loose gravel/dirt. Bring a walking stick for this one! The path is about 2 1/2  persons wide and cliff faces to your left.You’ll see squirrels and chipmunks along the way. At the point, there are many rocks to stop and take in the view or eat a snack if you plan to continue down. Since this was our stop, we stayed for 15-20 minutes to enjoy the view and started our accent. The route back up was a little more challenging since it’s uphill all the way back. We stopped to rest before the switchbacks, luckily we stopped right in time because they had made a practice round down the switchbacks with some mules, one of which was fairly young and seemed clumsy and unsure of this trail. {I am so glad we didn’t sign up for that!} 

Ooh Aah Point

The entire hike took about 1-1/2 hours with stops. For more info on South Kaibab Trailhead click here.

2:45 PM:  We caught the next bus out to Yaki Point. As we left South Kaibab, Leah and I saw a few Elk in the bushes while on the bus to Yaki. (Keep your eyes open for nature!)  At the point, we took in the view. I climbed down to a rock to sit down. Brad followed, but stayed on higher ground. The weather had started to turn a little and what I thought was rain was actually hail (see video below). Leah and Keenon had found a place to have a small snack. After the hail stopped we met back up and headed back for the bus to take us to the Visitor Center again.

3:15 PM: Back at the Visitor Center we hopped into the shop for souvenirs. We didn’t find anything good, but learned a little bit more about the canyon and rock formations from a  giant info graphic. We then made our way to the RV to take a small break, regroup and find out if there were any openings at one of the Campgrounds. (Initially the Grand Canyon was planned as a half day) We spent the next 45 minutes trying to figure out accommodations for the night before we headed back to the Visitor Center to catch the Blue Route bus to the connection spot.

4 PM: The plan was to watch sunset at Hopi Point (a suggested area for sunset at the Visitor Center). We’d caught the bus (Blue Route) to Market Plaza, where the next bus (Blue Route-West bound) would take us to connect to another bus (Red Route) and take us to the West side of the South Rim.  At Market Plaza there is a bank, post office, the Market and Yavapai Lodge. The boys ran over to a near by campground to check out if they have availability for the night while Leah and I explored the Lodge/gift shop and the Market. Yavapai Lodge is newly renovated and houses a cafe, snack bar and a small restaurant.

5 PM:  The boys had taken forever and none of us had service to reach each other, so we hung out until they returned to the lodge. At this point hunger was striking. When the boys returned with confirmation of a spot on premise we needed to figure out if we should go back to the RV and move it now or wait until after sunset. We discussed details over and early dinner at the lodge’s restaurant. Food here is pretty decent and one of the only places to get your hands on a nice glass of wine, cocktail or beer!

6:45 PM: Sunset is to set around 8 PM which meant we had some time, but not enough time to move the RV. We gathered our things and caught the next bus (Blue Route-West bound) heading to the Red Route- a 20 minute ride.

7:05 PM: From Market Plaza we were dropped off at  Hermit’s Rest/ Village Route Transfer. (Don’t get these two confused, they are the same point) From this point, we waited for the next bus to take us to Hopi Point for 15 minutes.

7:20 PM: Once we finally reached Hopi Point it was about time to the sun to set. We walked over to the rim and picked a spot where we could sit and enjoy the view without anyone in front of us. Of course, the boys stayed further from the rim while Leah and I sat right on the edge. I set up my phone for a time lapse and played with my camera to set some additional photos (see below). Sunset was a little lackluster due to the cloud coverage, but we planned to watch sunrise in the morning.

Brad.Nicole Grand Canyon

Sunset_Hopi Point
Sunset @ Hopi Point

8:05 PM:  Since we didn’t get a great show we hopped to the bus pick up to beat the rush. This bus takes FOREVER! We waiting nearly 25 minutes waiting for it to arrive and we were very cold, temperatures had dropped from 60º to 40º pretty quickly. We still have to catch 2 buses to get back to the Visitor Center.

8:15 PM:  Back at the Transfer point, we dashed across the street to catch the bus (Blue Route- East bound). This bus took us back to Market plaza, where we’d have to catch the next bus going to the Visitor Center. The boys dropped us here, while they went to get the RV. They came to pick us up and we headed off to our campsite for the night.

9 PM: There were no hook ups at this campsite for us. We had a pull in spot for the night. It was $10-15 for the night. We were pretty tired after a long day that it didn’t matter as long as we could sleep and shower. Showering on the other hand… The camp site did have showers, coin operated showers. $2/8 mins. That was the fastest shower I’d ever taken, but it was worth every cent! {be sure to carry smaller bills! Otherwise you may end up with $20 in quarters like I did}

10 PM: BEDTIME!

Sunrise: 5:18 AM

Sunrise 7

4:30 AM:  My first alarm had sounded and though I didn’t really want to get up, I reminded myself that I wouldn’t get the chance back to see the sun rise at the Grand Canyon. I woke up Brad and we got dressed. Brad drove us back to Yavapai Point in hopes that the ride would wake both Keenon and Leah. They didn’t budge. I grabbed one of the sleeping bags and took it out with us to stay warm since it was almost 40º. Brad and I found a good spot close enough to the ledge that I was happy and Brad wasn’t nervous. Sunrise was so much better than last night’s sunset.

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6 AM: After Sunrise Brad took me over to the Yavapai Lodge to grab us some coffee and breakfast before we started our drive up to Page, Arizona.

Here rounds up the 24 hours at the Grand Canyon: during our last hour we drove out the West Entrance of the Canyon. Along this drive we saw mule deer and Elk. As we rounded our way toward Tuba City along Hwy 64 we got to admire the view above the Canyon which looks like a gigantic crack through the land. It’s a pretty spectacular sight and a great way to end your visit!

Now I’ll take you on an adventure to Seek Phantom

P.S. Meet my squirrel friend!

6 thoughts on “The Biggest Hole on Earth (video heavy)

  1. Gorgeous videos/pictures!!! I always wanted to go to the grand canyon. I heard you can do White water rafting and take a donkey ride down. Not sure if they still do that but I’d totally be down for that. Now your pics made me want to go there. ha ha. #travelproblems

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They do both still. You have options of 3 or 14 days to white water raft the Colorado. The pack mule video shows you the trail rides. Those occur several times a day, the mules are pretty large! I hope you get the chance to go! Let me know if you do, I’d love to know your thoughts.

      Like

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