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The Big Hole in the Ground

The Grand Canyon

August 18, 2016

Why has no one ever told us the Grand Canyon is freaking amazing?! We have lived so close for so long, and had no idea what we were missing just over the hill in Arizona. I had an opportunity to go with my parents as a 12 year old and although I don’t remember, Debbie Burke will tell you these were my exact words: “Why the hell would I want to see a big hole in the ground.” Well I’m here to tell ya, its not just a hole in the ground, its an enormous hole in the ground, and its awesome. We stayed 2 nights for free, boondocking in the nearby Kaibab National Forrest (more on that here). The Canyon is only $30 per vehicle to get in and is well worth the price of admission. We opted to purchase the America the Beautiful pass for $80 because we plan to see many more National Parks this year. Here is a quick list of the things we wish we knew before our first trip to the Grand Canyon.

1. Bring some comfortable shoes So we underestimated how grand the

Grand Canyon was. It is huge and offers amazing views EVERYWHERE.

Because of this it is important to come dressed and ready to walk a lot.

2. Steer clear of the visitors center We totally recommend avoiding the

visitor center and first parking area or two. These areas tend to be

overcrowded with fanny packs and wannabe photographers. We saved

some Grand Canyon facts and reading material on our phones beforehand to

avoid having to wrestle over brochures at the park.

3. Bring an Empty bottle There are watering stations all over the place that

offer the best free water in the universe. Straight from a canyon spring it is

delicious and refreshing and free.

4. Take pictures If your like me you would rather take it in than take a picture.

Give yourself plenty of time to hang out, breathe in the fresh air and take in

the awesome sights. This will allow enough time to snap some pictures that

you will love to have later on, trust me, you’ll want the pictures, ours are all on Alyssa’s phone that got stolen in Vegas the day after our visit haha.

5. Go off the beaten path There is a paved walkway that circles the entire

park… Don’t walk on it. Well at least not all the time. If you stretch off the main paths you will find some of the best views the park has to offer. There are also less people, allowing you to enjoy the environment at your own pace.

6. Go for more than 1 day There is a lot to see and a lot to do. Don’t feel pressured to crush the whole place in one day. For us we spent a few hours learning and reading and an hour or so snapping pictures. Then came back the next day and hiked down the cliffside, which was really cool.

7. Get some pizza There is a pizza spot in one of the lodges that was surprisingly good. We picked up a couple beers and some pizza to-go and ate it overlooking the Colorado River. Boom!

8. Take the bus Crowded yes . Uncomfortable yes. Necessary yes. The buses are free and stop frequently and efficiently. The busses will allow you to travel up to 15 miles along the canyon and give you a chance to see it all. You

can hop on and off at your leisure and stop wherever you would like. Some of the stops are walk-able and we preferred that mode of transport when it was an option.

9. Take a hike No, wait, where are you going? I mean, go for a hike. There are hiking trails at just about every stop and offer unique views of the sheetrock and geology of the Canyon. Somehow when you’re below the top it looks even more enormous. We took the bus to Hermits Rest and hiked Hermits Trail. It took us about 3 hours and was the most rewarding endeavor of the trip.

10. Wait for sunset The sunsets at the Grand Canyon might just be the best part. There are vast crevasses and as the day goes on the lighting changes drastically. Take it all in, and don't miss the sunset!

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