I first saw the Grand Canyon National Park back in 1989 when I was a little girl. It blew me away then and continues to amaze me today.
It wasn’t until May 2011 that I was finally able to take my own children to visit the Grand Canyon National Park. We went to the South Rim on the Arizona side. This trip was part of a grand cross-country trip adventure, which started in West Virginia, circled around the United States, and then turned back towards home after our visit to the Grand Canyon. We rented a motorhome and decided to camp in the Grand Canyon overnight to maximize our time.
The Grand Canyon in the late afternoon
We arrived at the Grand Canyon in the late afternoon. We set up camp and then got in line for our shuttle to go see the different vistas.
While the shuttle is definitely the way to go, the lines in May were quite long.
The lower sun created some beautiful deep shadows in the Canyon, setting a beautiful stage for photography.
It is amazing to me how awe-inspiring the Grand Canyon is. You simply cannot fully comprehend its vastness by just looking at photographs.
The lower the sun set, the deeper the shadows became.
Evening Light and Sunset at the Grand Canyon
Originally, I had wanted to go to Horseshoe Bend to take my sunset photographs. Unfortunately, the line for the shuttle wrapped around the street. I knew that by the time I got to my destination, the sun would have already set. We waited too long.
Since I knew I couldn’t make Horseshoe Bend in the Grand Canyon on time, I went, instead, with my father-in-law to a nearby vista and got a few photographs.
I definitely want to return someday to fulfill that bucket list item.
When I do return to the Grand Canyon to see Horseshoe Bend, I will make sure to get to my destination with plenty of time to spare.
Mather Campground at the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
After taking my photos, I returned to Mather Campground to spend some time with my family.
We played around a bit, built a campfire, roasted marshmallows, and then spent the rest of the evening in our motorhome rental playing games.
Bohnanza is one of our favorite games that we can play with all of our children. You “plant” bean crops and sell them to earn “coins.” My kids LOVE it! There is SO much to see at the Grand Canyon, it was nice having two days in the park, though it was hardly enough time.
Early Morning at the Grand Canyon
After a good night’s rest, the next morning my father-in-law and I headed out early before the kids were up to catch some sunrise photos.
By the time we got to a lookout point, the sun had already crested. In spite of that, the morning mist and light was still ethereal and mystical.
Being terrified of heights, I kept my distance from the cliff edge. While several areas have safety rails for tourists, several other areas did not. My father-in-law wanted to get a view down into the canyon, and so he climbed on his belly and inched his way to the cliff edge. Brave man!
Not long after, my kids met up with us and we began traveling from site to site.
While traveling with my children, I had to decide between the photos I wanted to take and spending time with them. I think I found a decent balance, all things considered.
Early morning light still has shadows that move across the canyon.
The clouds also created some amazing drama. I am still amazed at how deeply some of these chasms were. Imagine being the first explorer to discover this gem!
Daytime at the Grand Canyon
Finally the morning mist burned off leaving the full sun on the Canyon.
As the sun gets higher in the sky, you lose some of the light drama on the canyon rock surfaces, but it is still beautiful.
We finished visiting several locations and then, due to 120 mph winds, decided it was time to leave.
We said “goodbye” to my in-laws and then went to go see the Desert View and Tusayan Ruins while they left to head back to California. It was great seeing them and camping with them for a night.
After those stops, we left this beautiful National Park, and continued on our cross-country trip. Next destination? Meteor Crater, Arizona!
If you are ever in this neck of the woods, be sure to make the Grand Canyon National Park one of your stops. You won’t be disappointed!
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