Grand Canyon National Park

12 06 2011

For me, the Grand Canyon is overwhelming in the sense that it is difficult to appreciate its beauty and enormity without spending significant time in and around it. The average visitor stops at Grand Canyon National Park for a scant two hours. Ayo thinks that the Canyon is beautiful, but that it’s not an easy win over some of the other spectacular sights we’ve seen – particularly the Mogollon Rim views. (Perhaps it’s that we couldn’t camp right on the rim of the Grand Canyon.)

The Canyon

The Canyon

The quality of the rangers at GCNP is for-the-most-part excellent. Grand Canyon is a very competitive park for ranger positions, and the enthusiasm and knowledge of the rangers who are employed here shines thorough.

Frustrated With Our Camera, A Photographer Graciously Took This For Us

Frustrated With Our Camera, A Photographer Graciously Took This For Us

Yair Trying Some Color

Yair Trying Some Color

On the heels of our fantastic experience camping in the park at Joshua Tree, we coughed up the $36(!) to try two nights of camping at Mather Campground. Perhaps it’s because the campground is crowded, or because there are shuttle buses covering most of the populated South Rim, but camping inside GCNP was a dud. Our experience wasn’t bad at all, it was just that we had a better experience camping for free just outside the park on Fire Road 688. Our site there was quiet, huge, and in the same forest with the same animals as Mather Campground. Boondocking totally wins, and the free dump station at Mather can be used by anyone. (It was pretty sweet for us, because I was able to give myself a haircut and take a super-long shower afterwards.)

Later today we’ll be leaving for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which is supposedly much less “citified” than the South Rim, which truly is a city. The South Rim has over 3,000 residents, restaurants, a hotel, wireless internet, a post office, clinic, and a K-12 school. Relative to the South Rim, the North Rim offers much more solitude.

Sunset

Sunset

There is a lot more to share on park economics and on a great ranger friend that we made here, but I’ll save that for another time and close with our observation that the park is crawling with foreigners. Supposedly only 17% of park visitors are not from the United States, but in our experience that percentage is much higher.

Wishing you all a wonderful week from the Grand Canyon.

posted by yair

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12 responses

12 06 2011
A Casual Obsession

Awesome blog! It was great to meet you both at the nocturnal animal talk!

12 06 2011
jayhorowitz

Sweet! Thanks for stopping by, and it was great to meet the three of you at Grand Canyon!

13 06 2011
libertatemamo

Lovely shots…and sounds like an excellent boondocking spot. Love that area of the country!

By the way if you’re animal people (don’t know if you are), the fabulous
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is just north of the North Rim in Kanab.
It’s the largest animal sanctuary in the US and is really quite amazing to
visit. They also have really fun volunteering gigs. We went there last
year and volunteered w/ puppies and pot-bellied pigs. So much fun!

Nina

14 06 2011
jayhorowitz

We’re on it! Hopefully we’ll take the tour and do some volunteering.

14 06 2011
ayo

Thanks for the idea! It sounds like they do great work, and we’re planning on stopping by there soon. 🙂

13 06 2011
Talia

From what I remember the North Rim is awesome. I was only about nine though so I might remember the different pieces of the trip totally wrong… But have a great time. I’d love to go back there sometime…

13 06 2011
Talia

Also its really sad that the average visitor only stops for two hours! Sheesh. What did they go all that way for? Missing out.
(I guess there are a lot of people who do helicopter tours from Vegas and such, so thats where the number comes from)

14 06 2011
ayo

And the train! Tons of people (including our brother and sister) roll in on the Grand Canyon train every day at noon. Though short, it’s still an awesome way to see the Canyon especially for people who can’t take a huge amount of vacation time.

We’re boondocking outside the North Rim tonight and hoping to enter the Park for a full day of exploring and ranger programs tomorrow. Will let you know if it kicks the South Rim’s butt!

14 06 2011
jayhorowitz

I think that part of it is people who come in by train as well. I think that their stopover lasts about three hours. But two… yeah, that’s nuts.

21 06 2011
Mr. RV Cover

You guys obviously had a great time. I really enjoyed the pics and the information about camping. My wife and I have been talking about traveling from Mississippi to the Grand this year. You gave us some great tips and raised some expectations for us also. Thanks for sharing!

22 06 2011
jayhorowitz

Thanks! You’ll have a great time when you get out here.

25 06 2011
Brooke (siayla)

Love the picture of you both in front of the Canyon 🙂 The free dump station was great for us to and we prefer to boondock over RV sites anyday…sometimes though you have no choice. With your boondocking sites you found near the canyon I might have stayed forever ;p

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