2023 Vacation Report: The Grand Canyon

There was a time in my life where I saw myself as a bit of a camper. (Probably because I camped a bit.) I suppose if that’s the bar, then I still am a very little bit of a camper, but I’m certainly not someone who treks off into the wilderness on a month long adventure. Or even a week long adventure. Maybe a few days, every other year? Give or take?

And as for hiking, again, I once hiked on a sporadic basis. (As I’m looking back on all of this, I’m realizing I camped and hiked and did all sorts of outdoorsy things when I used to fly out to Utah each summer as a kid. On this road trip, I remembered a lot of what I’d used to do. My daughters were both really wanting to go on horse rides. I casually mentioned that we’d had a horse at our family cabin, and two jaws dropped. I’ve been around horses enough to feel comfortable with them, and enough to not look at riding a horse as something that’s particularly exciting. Seeing it through my kids’ eyes, I realized how much I took that for granted.)

This is all just to explain how significant it is that when I went to the Grand Canyon, I actually thought it would be nice to go on a hike down into it. Camp at the bottom. Explore.

Not that we did any of that, mind you. But it takes a lot these days to make me think of planning a vacation like that. The Grand Canyon was just that impressive.

I visited it before, when I was a teenager. Honestly, I don’t remember that much of it. I remember it was a long drive, and . . . it was a big canyon. What can I say? Seeing different parts of the country didn’t have as big of an impact on teen-Bryce as the latest Gameboy games had.

This time, I knew that we’d just be at the canyon for a day, and that was a day that would include driving. So I decided to splurge and stay right at the canyon rim itself. The Kachina Lodge had the most reasonable rate, though I also paid more for a partial canyon view. In the end, I was very happy with the decision. For one thing, we’d hit some bad traffic on our way into the canyon, so we were even shorter on time than we thought we’d be. I’d read that the rooms were kind of tired, and that they didn’t have A/C, but I found both of those to be false. Our room was snug, but fine, and the A/C most definitely worked. (Though it gets cold enough at night that they don’t really have to work too hard.) The worst thing about the stay was the parking, which was jam packed.

We were on the first floor, so the view of the canyon was about what you’d see standing twenty feet away from the rim. Still plenty impressive. I really wanted to see the sunset from the canyon, and so all my attention was focused on at least salvaging that, after our traffic delay. Things worked perfectly for that, thankfully. We got to our hotel, then walked along the canyon rim trail until we came to a point with a good view, and just sat and enjoyed the sights. The sky was clear, with just enough clouds to make the sunset that much prettier.

That night, we walked out of the hotel again, to see the canyon at night and see if we could see some good stars. It was cloudy by then, though, so that was a scratch. In the morning, Denisa woke up before everyone else and went for a walk by herself in the other direction on the rim trail. Then the rest of us joined her for a while before heading out on the next part of our trip.

The convenience of Kachina was worth the price. It made that short stay still feel like we’d had a Grand Canyon experience, even if it was a small one. We saw people taking mules down into the canyon, and like I said: it made me think that would be a very fun trip. Will I ever get back there to do it? Doubtful. There are just too many places in the world I’d like to see. But the Grand Canyon is definitely worth more than a quick visit. (Surprise, surprise.)

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