Grand Canyon National Park | 48/59

Here we are folks! One of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World – The Grand Canyon!

The feelings you get when you see the Grand Canyon for the first time cannot be adequately expressed through words or even beautiful photos. Nothing does it justice. You just HAVE to experience it yourself.

I remember coming here as a little girl with my family and great grandma. My little sister was being SUCH a stinker and refused to put her shoes on to hike around the Rim. There was no use arguing with a stubborn 5-year old, so my mom decided to let her learn her lesson. So, little Paige hiked around in her cheapo foam flip-flips (you know the ones from the 90’s with the giant plastic flowers on them). Then to further spite my mom, my sister dangled her foot off the edge of the canyon, clicking her flip flops and said, “Bye Mommy!” She was such a stinker haha. That’s basically my entire memory of the Grand Canyon.

This time, we decided to dive deeper into the canyon and experience as much as we could even though it was super snowy on the Rim. The South Rim was the only open area and the two hiking trails still accessible were Bright Angel trail and South Kaibab trail. We decided to go big and do them both on two different days.

So, the first day we strapped on our Yaktrax and hiked 12 miles on Bright Angel trail to get down to Plateau Point and back up.

Down by the river it was so warm! The hiking down part was easy, it was the hiking back out that made me second guess why we came down here in the first place haha.

I’ll never get over how the Grand Canyon makes me feel so small, yet so important that this beautiful earth was created and we get to enjoy it for our whole lives!

What’s funny about hiking in canyons, is it’s really easy on the way down and really hard on the way back up. Usually, we hike peaks and bust out the hard work in the beginning and then just cruise on down the mountain at the end. But, in the Grand Canyon it’s all easy at first, then you save the hardest part for last when you’re already tired, cold, hungry, and it’s getting dark. At least that’s what happened to us haha.

The sun began to set and we still had about 4 more of the hardest miles of the hike left to get back to the rim.

No matter where you stand, the view of the canyon is just breathtaking. Also, I am 7 months pregnant right now, so I get really out of breath so easily these days so maybe that’s why.

Before making the dusky trek out, we took a moment to watch the sun set beyond the canyon and a sense of awe washed over us.

The feeling of awe I think is a very important emotion for humans to experience. Awe forces us to live completely in the moment as every one of our senses soaks up every bit of information possible. Awe makes us realize what is most important in life. Everything unnecessary falls away.

I felt like every time I turned around the canyon was showing me a different side of itself.

Sometimes the canyon showed off its cool blues and sometimes ethereal pinks.

By the time we made it out from our hike, it was totally dark and we were extremely tired and sore. We stumbled onto the bus that took us back the the RV and we just passed out for the night. I’m not gonna lie – it was a hard hike! Tears may or may not have been shed towards the end. But, like most adventures, it was worth it and I’m glad we get to experience both struggle and triumph in life. There has to be opposition in all things so we can grow and understand what true joy means.

The next day we mostly just hung out and in the evening we took the kitty for a little walk. He was quite the celebri-cat on the rim that night. Honestly, it’s a little bit of a turn-off to battle the crowds and the selfie sticks on Mather Point (a popular overlook on the rim). If you try to take a photo, there will no doubt be 100 other people in the frame. That’s what you get when you just barely step up to the edge without putting in the effort to go beyond where others are willing to go.

We’ve learned in the parks that you can’t get too upset about the hoards of people. Parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon feel like the Disneylands of National Parks – beautiful and magical, but so crowded at times. Sometimes we unfortunately let ourselves get annoyed, but then we have to remind ourselves that everyone is equally entitled and privileged to visit and love the parks. They have every right to be here just like I do. Don’t complain, but instead dig deeper, climb higher, or hiker farther, and make the effort to find your solitude and peace.

The next night we met up with our film maker/photographer friend Brendan Hall, who took us to his favorite spot in the park for a stunning sunset. Lipan Point is beautiful, calm, and just as grand as any of the other lookouts.

Brendan is the coolest – extremely talented and very humble. He spent four days shooting us for his passion project, a documentary all about the National Parks and the people who love them.  We’re SO excited for him to launch the documentary later this year.

Photo by Brendan Hall

Lipan Point sunset showing off for us.

Photo by Brendan Hall

The next morning, the three of us went hiking down into the canyon, this time we took the South Kaibab trail. It’s more exposed than Bright Angel and offers different views, but I still can’t decide which I liked better. You can’t really go wrong in such an incredible place. Someday, we will come back when it’s warmer and raft the river and hike Rim-to-Rim.

We ooh-ed and ahh-ed at “Ooh Ahh Point” haha.

Vlads needed to stretch his legs, so on our way driving out of the park we stopped at all the overlooks that we could and strolled around.

All of a sudden, we saw this GREAT sign of a mountain lion crossing the road. Apparently, it’s the most frequently stolen sign in the park.

Watch out for wildcats! Vladimir is pretty much always camera-ready as you can see.

Photo by Brendan Hall

After the good times in the Grand Canyon we headed to warmer lands – our old stomping grounds – St. George!

Photo by Brendan Hall



  1. dawn from camano island

    AH to awe! Awe-mazing photos–and the hikes! I’m impressed–not easy hikes for anyone but Madison! 7 months pregnancy & you did two canyon hikes?!? Woot woot!

    My youngest son, Ty, & I rafted down the Colorado through the Canyon–gosh almost 19 years ago. It was the trip of a lifetime!

    Can’t wait to see your next post. Happy Trails!

    • Cees

      The Grand Canyon is a special place for sure. We had a great time. It was colder than we thought it would be (at least up on the rim), but the snow-capped canyon was a sight you can’t ever forget.

  2. Wow – so so cool- thanks for sharing- I am on my way to St Louis in a week to the NCAA’a
    with the old man and uncle Bryan. don’t be Jealous- love ya both
    uncle John

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