We woke up early.
Purposefully waiting until Sunday to drive up to the big GC, we got up at 6 a.m. and managed to squeeze into the only campground in the park by 9! I’d heard that this campground (Mather) fills up wayyyy in advance so we were counting on a cancelled reservation or no-show. Turns out, Sunday is the best day for this. Our luck begins! After some finagling, we even secured a spot for a second night. Boom-shaka!
We started off the morning with a little coffee with our new friend who was sharing our campsite, Lawrence Elk.
Might have to squint to see him back there.
By the by, this was the first elk I’d ever seen. He was very chill. And statuesque, ey?
On Day 1, we decided to see the canyon by bike (rented them there) since we were still tired from our BIG morning. This gave us a great overview of the canyon because we got to see multiple scenic points within a few hours. And it was a beautiful day!
Had a nice hearty dinner afterwards – BBQ chicken, broccoli steamed over the fire, and mac & cheese.
On Day 2, we decided to go big or go home. I was a little wary about choosing this place for our biggest hike yet, but we quickly realized the only way to really “see” this thing was by getting inside of it. Thus began a 9-12 mile hike in and out of the Grand Canyon! I say 9-12 because I did 9 and my insane husband did 12.
A picture tour of the day:
View from the top, 7,000 foot elevation.
Sand turned from white to red as we went down. Elevation at bottom was 3,700 feet—a 2,300-foot difference.
I stopped at Indian Gardens and hung out with the wildlife for a while.
Not a great pic, but proof that the canyon has life in it! This spring actually provides all of the water to the South Rim (which has the majority of tourist traffic). And we thought it was all rock and dust down here…
Brian ran, literally, out to Plateau Point and back. You know, just an extra 3 miles in the middle of a 12-mile hike. No big deal.
And it was hot. Seriously canyon-style-Arizona-summer hot.
The view was worth it. Helloooo Colorado river!
And now…back to the top. So so so far.
Even a sunset!
And finally, a little over 6 hours later, back at the top! Now, eat, drink, and sleep.