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19.6.16

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona


I feel the most alive when I travel; the time stops and I feel like I am finally able to seize life and not let it escape me. The more I grow up, the more I realize that I want to enjoy the little things, worry less and make the most out of the time that I have. When I travel, this is when I am the happiest, this is when I realize that I haven't messed it all up after all, in fact, I get to see new places. I am only rich of my travels; it sometimes feels like that this is all that I have accomplished. I know that I have a way lot more to see and haven't done much, but this is how I come to be ok with the decision that I made to come here three years ago. Anyway, let's go on a more positive note, I don't want this post to be negative; this is a really happy post: I FINALLY made it to the GRAND CANYON! I have been planning and trying to go since I first came to San Diego, but there was always something on the way or somewhere else to go. I was joking at the fact that I still haven't been there after all this time and thought that I might leave without even seeing it (which would have been a little personal tragedy ha). But now, that's it, I went and still can't get over it. I really don't realize that I finally was able to discover it.

G. and I were trying to decide where to go for Memorial Day. We were having a three day weekend and I really wanted to use this extra time to travel. However, with like every holiday weekend, going anywhere can get super expensive. After checking several flight options & hotels (I also have to say that we couldn't decide where to go haha), we realized that our best option would be a road trip and that it was time for the Grand Canyon! I love road trips, I found them so relaxing. I love the long beautiful roads, the loud music, the conversations and the unhealthy snacks. We arrived in Flagstaff (a city about an hour south from the Canyon - a very popular place to stay when going to the park. If you would like a closer option, I recommend staying in Tusayan or even better, camp in the park). However, we were planing to go to Sedona for our third day, which is little more south, so it made sense. 

We woke up very early on Sunday morning as we wanted to beat the crowd and not have any issues to enter and find parking. Once in the park, we left our car and used the free shuttles to get around. It's very convenient and you can get out/get in as often as you want. I have to precise that we visited the South Rim of the park. It's the most visited part and it's open all year long. The North Rim is more elevated and only open from spring to autumn. No need to say that I will come back to visit the North Rim, but for a first time, I do recommend the South Rim. The entrance is $30 for one car and it's valid for six days. 

  
We started the day by taking the orange line and stopped at different points of view all day long. I put a map below so it will give you a better idea of where we stopped exactly. No need to say that we didn't have the time to see everything as we only stood one day. The park is really huge (277 miles long and 18 miles wide, with a depth of over a mile) so we mostly concentrated on the East part. At the end of the day, we took the car back and did the Desert View Drive, a 25 miles scenic drive that I highly recommend. 

Source: *
We first stopped at the visitor center. I know, not very original, but necessary and always useful. This is the starting point where we took the orange bus. It is possible to rent bikes as well. We first got out at the Yaki Point. The first view we got of the Canyon was amazing. It was everything I expected, yet I couldn't believe it, it was unreal. This was so huge, I knew it would be, but I still couldn't believe how big it was. I felt so little, everything felt infinite and I had this amazing feeling that everything was possible. Like with every park, we walked around and we enjoyed climbing a little to see different points of views that made us feel even more tiny.


After the Yaki Point, we hoped back on the bus and then stopped at Pipe Creek Vista. From there, we decided to enjoy and walked all the way to Mather Point. It was so nice and sunny outside (too nice that I even got sunburns haha) and the little road alongside the rim was so enjoyable. We stopped a few times so I could take a lot of photos, I just couldn't help it. I realized that not only I take pictures because I want to capture the beauty of it (even though my photos don't really do the Canyon justice), but also because I want to seize and keep a memory of the moments, the feelings. It took us quite some time to reach Mather point, but it was definitely worth it. 


I also loved all the trees, plants and rocks alongside the Canyon, it was so beautiful as well. It was so relaxing to be around  this nature, admire the views and live in the moment. I also have to admit that I was a little scared of the height during some moments, but it's part of the experience.


After the Mather Point, we took the bus one more time and went to the Yavapai point. There, there is also a little Geology museum where it is possible to learn everything about the Canyon. There is also a gift shop and most importantly an amazing view of the Canyon, it's breathtaking. 

We then got hungry, so we went back to the visitor center. They sell sandwiches and little snacks, but I would advise to bring your own food if you can. It was quite pricey and not super good. At least, we were full and ready for the last part of our day. We decided to get the get the car back and ride the Desert View Drive (there are no buses). As we left the parking, we saw three deers on the side of the road; they were so close, I couldn't believe it. That's another thing I like about National parks, the fact that you can see the animals in their natural environment. It's about a half hour drive to reach the Desert View Watchtower (the last point of the drive), but there are a few stops on the way with great views. We stopped at the Grandview Point (one of my favorite) and the Navajo Point (probably the most beautiful we saw).


Our last stop was the Desert View Watchtower. Similar to the Navajo point, the view was truly amazing. I know I have been saying all along that the points of view are so beautiful, so I'm sure you got what I wanted to say, but to summarize: the Grand Canyon is beautiful and breathtaking. I don't have words to describe the beauty of it. I also don't have words to explain how little I felt facing this immensity. I am more and more amazed by what the nature can create, it's incredible (I now do want to visit more and more national parks: YOSEMITE you're next!) and I wish everyone could go once in his life, it deserves to be seen. GRAND CANYON and G., thank you for this little adventure and the lifetime memories. 

I, of course, would like to go back. There are many more views that I didn't see and one day was way too short. I might want to go over to the Skywalk and do a helicopter tour (which is I believe, another way to see the Canyon). However, we did leave a little early to visit something else - this little visit (next post) was so unexpected that it made this day truly perfect. 


" This is the beginning of anything you want" * 

- Love, Célia

2 comments:

  1. Tellement majestueux ce grand canyon... J'aimerais y aller un jour tellement ca doit être époustouflant. Ce sentir petit devant cette merveille de la nature... Ca doit être dingue ! Merci pour toutes ces jolies photos !!

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    Replies
    1. Merci beaucoup :) J'espère que tu auras la chance d'y aller, ça vaut vraiment la peine d'être vu!

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