China Expat & Travel Blogger. ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO IN CHINA. See My Fun TRAVEL Adventures in China!
Greyhound buses, rental cars, never-ending highways, vast landscapes, and some of the most spectacular national scenery I've ever laid eyes upon. That's right, my trip to Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, a top thing to do on my travel bucket list across America, proved to be nothing short of an epic adventure that would blow my mind away. No kidding.
Know what? My journey to Grand Canyon National Park actually began in Shanghai, China where I live and work as an English teacher. Chinese New Year was just around the corner and rather than spending another year bouncing around cities across China, I decided to pack my bags and head home to Los Angeles, California, you know, La La land.
Two weeks later and the wheels were in motion. I'd catch a Greyhound bus to Phoenix, Arizona to meet Tasia, a close friend, and the next day we'd rent a car and head to the Grand Canyon in the early morning. Quick and easy right? Yep. And here ... we ... go!
That drive. Man, oh man, that drive. The road to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix was bittersweet. Long and tiresome? Sure. But the scenery--a route riddled with roadside cactus, mountainsides, desert, and snow--did just enough to keep up the anticipation.
And finally! The entrance to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Our starting point? Mather Point, a tourists hub equipped with a visitor center, souvenir shops, museums, free buses servicing the park, and most importantly, access to trails leading to the rim of the Grand Canyon. #Dope.
It only took a few minutes before we'd be standing on a platform and overlooking the south rim of the Grand Canyon in all its glory. And it was a surreal experience to say the least, much like my first time climbing the Great Wall in China or laying eyes on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
I'd read and seen videos of it all my life, and then suddenly, I was there in person and standing right in front of it. And crazy enough, from a distance it didn't even look real--it looked like some vast and intricate 3D painting of some sort!
Weather wise, it was a pitch-perfect day, which really allowed the orange, brown, and red colors streaking across the Grand Canyon's walls to be shown in full. Plus, who would've thought that it actually snows at the Grand Canyon! Freaking snow!
After a while we hit a tourists hotspot along the rim. It was a natural walkway that extended further into the canyon and provided one of the best panoramic views of the area.
Everybody snagged a photo. Everybody. You see that backdrop? Yeah, now that line was well worth the wait!
Next up? A bunch of stops at different vantage points of the incredibly deep gorges etched into the Grand Canyon some hundreds of meters below. And far down below it went. It's like, we'd look over a barricade and down at the cliff we were standing on, and that would lead to the top of another cliff that went further down, and that sat atop of yet another that went down before finally reaching ground level.
Later I'd find out that that the Grand Canyon is actually 277 river miles long and up to 18 miles wide. That's insane!
And over the next few hours we'd follow a trail and stop to take pictures at some of the best scenic spots around. It just got better and better.
And those Grand Canyon tourist? Oh boy. Some were just so keen on risking their lives to take the best pictures they could. But for Tasia and I? Nope. Hopping over the barricades to snap a photo at the edge of an already icy cliff just wasn't happening.
And so there were were--6pm, watching the sun set over the Grand Canyon from a cozy viewing spot.
We'd crash there into the night, chatting, reflecting, and making small talk with other tourists, which included some Chinese visitors from the Mainland.
The day had grown incredibly dark, and with that, we made our way to the car and were back on the road heading back into Phoenix.
My Grand Canyon adventure, though short, was a trip of a lifetime. After all, I made the journey with a good friend, caught some pretty awesome natural scenery, and learned more about the Grand Canyon in the process. Hey, what are can you ask for? Safe & happy travels!