Arizona - Grand Canyon
Part 1 of 3
I love rocks. I've always known this about myself. When my family went hiking when I was little, my mom would fetch a "nature" bag for me. I'd fill it up with leaves and flowers and, most of all, rocks.
I had a rock collection growing up. I longed for a rock tumbler to polish all my treasures. Even now I have rocks and crystals all over my apartment. I love looking at them, I love climbing on them, I love being able to identify them, I love learning about them. I love rocks.
Then I saw the biggest rock I have ever seen - the Grand Canyon.
And it took.
It made me feel small and insignificant (in a good way) and filled me with wonder and might and joy and the feeling of adventure.
The Grand Canyon made me want to never not be looking at it.
So here's your chance to look at it. Through my lens. Enough words, the rest is pictures. (Ok, there are a few more words at the end.)
Things we did in/around the park that I would recommend:
As you're driving into Tusayan (the city we stayed in), make sure to get a peek at the San Francisco Peaks. These were the first mountains I've ever seen (aside from Mount Rushmore, but I'm not sure that counts) and I was speechless.
On the trip, we took two Pink Jeep Tours, the first in the Grand Canyon. It was a very smooth, two-hour ride (completely different from our second one, which I'll talk about in my Sedona post) around the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Our driver, Duff, took us to spots that weren't as populated with tourists and taught us about the Canyon history and the geology and the local flora and fauna. Duff was awesome. He knew so many facts and was easy to get along with. I definitely recommend him if you ever do the tour.
Speaking of flora and fauna, I loved all the plant and animal life surrounding and in the Canyon. As we were driving we saw signs for "Elk Crossing" and "Burro Crossing" - definitely don't see those signs in Wisconsin. All the plants were so interesting, too. So. many. cacti. I loved it. And, being the rock-lover I am, I loved learning about and touching all the sandstone, limestone and shale.
Speaking of fauna again, we took a safari-esque trip through Bearizona. I love bears and I love puns, so this was something I knew I had to see. Bearizona is a drive-thru wildlife park filled with North American animals. As you drive through more than three miles of Ponderosa pines, you can see bears and wolves and many other creatures right outside your window.
Lastly, make sure you check out the Desert View Watchtower. You'll get a great view of the canyon and see beautiful Hopi artwork.