The Grand Canyon

Well.. this place sucks.

I’m just kidding.  It’s not one of our most famous, most visited, most loved national parks for no reason.

I hadn’t been planning to do anything really special for our visit.  Usually, we just show up, get the map, talk to a ranger and start exploring a new park.  But this felt extra special so I put a little muscle into planning our time.  It turns out, everyone on the internet recommends the train.  They had me at “first class”.  We had such a good experience in Peru on the Hiram Bingham, I couldn’t help myself.  Plus, I’m not going to lie, my time is short and July is rapidly approaching.  I wanted the last big park to be a really big memory.

So, I stayed up late and bought tickets without telling anyone.  First class on the way up but coach on the way back because…. I might get excited but I still have a budget to work around.

Grand Canyon & The Train: Day 1

The train was outstanding.  Jack LOVES trains.  He doesn’t say much yet but he does say, “Choo-choo,” {with enthusiasm} every time we see one.  That excitement often rubs off on Evie (and me too).  When he saw the train on the tracks as we were boarding, the wiggles started.  After that, I’m not entirely clear he really understood that he was ON the train because whenever we went around the corner and he could see the engine in front of us he got freshly excited and started pointing and yelling, “Choo choo!”  Everyone around us thought it was hysterically funny, though, so I let it go.

It was a 2 hr 20 min ride from Williams, AZ to the rim.  We arrived around 11:45.  The return train departed at 3:10, so we didn’t have a lot of time up there (which didn’t bother me because I knew we’d be back in the car the next day).  Taking it easy, we walked around the rim a bit.  We looked through the visitor’s center.  I bought my patch.  We found a picnic table and had lunch.  The kids napped for well over 2 hours (they just about miss every major thing we do – Nazca Lines… slept on the plane ride…. Grand Canyon… slept in the backpacks… oh well).

Pre-train show, complete with wild west shoot out:

First Look:

Inside the visitor’s center… it’s always reading time:

A train robbery (for tips) on the way home.

We spent most of the next day at the RV – Scott working on taxes and the kids playing outside.  Evie even dressed Jack up as Elsa (complete with crown and… those damn high-heeled shoes  *Rebecca!!*) and herself as Anna and they reenacted scenes from the beginning of Frozen when the sisters are little kids.  That was a lot of fun to watch.

Grand Canyon: Day 2

Then we went back up to the southern rim later in the afternoon to catch the sunset.  It was gorgeous.  We couldn’t have asked for a better evening.  We drove the eastern scenic drive to the Grand View Lookout.  We stopped there with maybe 50 other people and watched the canyon walls turn colors and eventually fade into the night.

Overall, glad we went.  We really enjoyed the sunset.  It’s a very pretty, very large canyon.

Not to be a fly in the ointment though, this wasn’t one of our all-time favorite parks.  Hear me out.  It’s not that it wasn’t awe-inspiring – it absolutely is.  But we prefer more interactive places.  With the kids, we didn’t do any hiking apart from walking on the paved, level path that most any person (physically challenged or not) can get around on.  Sure, we wanted to go down one of the trails a few hundred feet just to get the sensation, but the kids aren’t there yet.  So it was really just looking at this big, really cool, hole in the ground.

Is that bad?  That sounds bad.  I think when they’re older and we raft it (which is absolutely on the to do list) it’ll be entirely different.  But this time, after a couple of hours, it was like, “Nice.  Glad we saw it.  Ok.”

Oh.. and take the train.  It was worth it.


Traci’s Picks:  (affiliate links and, yes, we actually use this stuff)

  • We get asked about our kid carrier all the time.  We like the Osprey better than the Kelty.
  • This one is from Scott… he recently tracked down a short that had disabled our horn using a new circuit tester.  There was no shortage of jokes about the “electrical” part ‘electrical engineer’.  Again… I was doing hyperspectral analysis.  I am not a real engineer.

The Grand Canyon (2)

The Grand Canyon (1)

The Grand Canyon