The Wild West Part IV, the Grand Canyon

So if you’ve been following this longer than anticipated Wild West road trip series, you will know the following:

Philadelphia –> Las Vegas –> Bryce Canyon, UT —> Page, Arizona (Horse Shoe Bend and Antelope Canyon)

Well, we are finally headed over to Flagstaff, AZ as a jumping off point for our Grand Canyon adventure, as dubbed in an earlier post, the main event.  (SidenoteWhen in Flagstaff, Pizzicletta is a must for any pizza lover, and who doesn’t like pizza?)

The Grand Canyon as a national park is incredibly well managed and run.  Once you pay for admission to the park, free shuttle buses take you from the main parking lot to varying points throughout.  They run frequently and are incredibly easy to use and navigate.  The bus dropped us off at our hiking point and we began to enter the Rim, dun dun dun!

We had no plans to hike and stay the night in the canyon (I glamp not camp), so we went about a mile or so down and then turned around to head back up.  We met some wonderful people along the way and could not believe the views.  The trail was actually very well maintained and easy to navigate and I would recommend it for people of all ages and varying athletic ability.  While Bryce was beautiful, I felt more comfortable navigating down into the Grand Canyon than at Bryce at times.

The thing about the Grand Canyon was that while it is so incredible vast, and awe inspiring in its size, we had just come from 3 incredibly beautiful, very different and no less grand sights.  If we had started at the Grand Canyon we might have felt differently.  And it is absolutely, 100% worth a visit.  In fact, the thought of taking my future spawn there is really exciting.  It’s a place where you can easily put your life in perspective in the sense that its a reminder that we are all very small people in a very big world.  I mean the Grand Canyon literally looks like it could go on forever.

Remarkably, the Grand Canyon was not the last stop on our Wild West adventure, but was certainly the grand finale to an incredible road trip.  I will be posting about the remaining part of our journey separately so stay tuned!

So without further ado, some of our photos.

Grand Canyon
Little people, big world. Our first view of the Grand Canyon.
grand canyon
There’s me just taking it all in
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View from the Desert View & Watchtower
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I love the perspective on this shot.
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View of our trail as we headed down. Looks easy, no?

The Wild West Part One

So I have something really embarrassing to admit.  If you read the About Me section you’ll note that I’d only been on an airplane once before the age of 18.  It gets worse. In the United States I hadn’t been outside the eastern timezone until after I graduated college.  I KNOW.  WHAT was I doing with the first 22 years of life??*

Needless to say, with that in mind, my boyfriend/fiance/now husband and I instituted a policy to help me see the good ole fashioned USofA.  The thought was (now is) each year we take one domestic and one international trip, that way I can see all the beauty this country has to offer without sacrificing a stamp on my passport in the process (I love my passport stamps).

After much thought, we planned out a 10 day wild west road trip, starting in swinging Las Vegas.

vegasI didn’t really know what to expect from Las Vegas, and honestly, I didn’t expect to like it.  The only thing I knew going in, apart from the obvious, was that I must choose wisely when picking a place to buffet.  I had no idea that buffet culture was such a thing!  After extensive research, I decided that the Wicked Spoon inside the Cosmopolitan would be the one.  I had read that it was the best buffet in town, and as a result, Caesars spent millions of dollars to create its own rival buffet.  (Note: next time I must check out Caesars.)  After eating fried chicken, waffles, fruit, ice cream, french toast, and pancakes for breakfast (yikes!), my husband and I slowly rolled each other out of the Cosmopolitan and onto the rest of the strip.  And we walked the heck out of that strip.  I’m fairly confident my Jawbone Activity Tracker tapped out at well over 30,000 steps.  Does that undo the breakfast ice cream?  Probably not, but it certainly made us feel better!

vegas 2My husband and I aren’t gamblers, so we saw a Cirque du Soleil show (he was not to be dragged to Britney, sad face) and checked out the brand spanking new Linq.  It had just opened a few days prior to our visit and we were thrilled to be some of the first on the holy roller!  It was so new that we had the entire compartment to ourselves.  We watched the beautiful Bellagio fountains from above and just took it all in.

After a night at the MGM Grand in Vegas (which I highly recommend), we hopped into our rental car (a fab little Prius), and it was time to check out the Hoover Dam, and then march onward into Utah and Arizona.  Granted, there was a pit stop in Lake Las Vegas – but we’ll gloss over that for now, review to come later.

Stay tuned for part two, as our foray into red rocks, cacti and bucket list items are just beginning!

*Answer: Exploring the eastern seaboard.