It looks just like the pictures.

Driving through Arizona was flat and hot. We could see for miles, made two turns, and at one point a slight right. I fell asleep driving for 20 minutes and when I woke up we were still alive and going the right way.

I didn’t actually fall asleep because of the adrenaline that was running through my body. The road we took was two lanes but passing was allowed which is fun and pants-shitting scary at the same time. After a while I was getting pretty bold and managed to pass not one but two busses. BALLSY.

We got to the Grand Canyon mid-afternoon. We visited the South Rim which is kind of like Disneyland because it’s crowded with little children and fat people. The North Rim is supposed to be much more woodsy and give you that one with nature feeling but it was too far away from our campsite to be reasonable. So we joined the masses and went to some lookouts.

What we discovered is that we were very underwhelmed. Here is the first view we got:

Sure it’s pretty, but it’s just like every picture we’d ever seen of the canyon. It actually looked like there was a canvas in the distance with it painted on. From that high up and that far away you lose any point of reference and can’t appreciate it as much as it should be appreciated.

So we left.

Just kidding. We went to the visitor’s center and got the low down on what to do. The area is so big that there is a bus system that runs to different parts of the canyon. Since we only had one afternoon and evening there we picked out a couple things to do before the sun went down. By now it was late afternoon and exactly the time that they recommend hiking down into the canyon, so we made that a priority.

All over the place were signs warning you about hiking into the canyon. The rule of thumb is one step down equals two steps up, meaning that however far you go down into the canyon, it’s going to feel like double the length to get back because of the steep incline you have to climb. So you may not feel tired going down, but going up is going to be a bitch. Also they warn about getting dehydrated, lost, and dying. No lie. Apparently temperatures down in the canyon can get up to 120 degrees, hikers don’t bring enough water or food, and they overestimate how in shape they are. They basically try to scare you into not hiking.

But we said “nah bro” and ¬†went down with no water or shoes.

We took a trail that’s a mile and a half long and went down about 700 feet or so into the canyon. The hike began by turning back and forth down a cliff wall. There was mule poop everywhere which made me think how scary it would be to ride a mule down into the canyon. I’ll use my feet thank you.

The hike was one of the best parts of the trip. It really made us appreciate the canyon way more than just looking at it from above. After the turning back and forth, the trail started snaking around the canyon and gave us some beautiful views:

It no longer felt like a picture but more like what we were expecting. After being underwhelmed, we were now overwhelmed with the enormity of the canyon.

Here’s a view from inside:

When we got to the bottom of our trail we read a sign that said we just walked through several hundred million years of erosion and rock. Nuts right? I grabbed a rock that was like 945 million years old.

The turnaround point jutted out over more of the canyon like so:

I gazed out, grabbed my lion cub and this happened: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwSKkKrUzUk&t=3m1s

After putting my child king to sleep, Justin and I hiked back up the canyon. They weren’t kidding when they said it was like doing double time. We had to take several breaks and drank a ton of water until we reached the top. It was worth it though. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip.

You’re allowed to hike all the way down to the Colorado River and camp there for a night or two. It’s a day long trip one way, so we couldn’t do it. However it’s now on my bucket list.

We walked a short path along the rim of the canyon and called it a day but only after meeting two guys that were also from Pittsburgh. Small world.

We hopped in the car and headed to Williams, AZ where our campsite was. Little did we know we had quite the evening ahead of us.