Today’s Culture with Travel post is by Trevor McDonald
Ever since I was a little kid, I have always wanted to see The Grand Canyon. Whenever my grandpa came over to visit from Arizona, he would tell me stories of how visiting The Grand Canyon is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I felt compelled to see it for myself after sifting through his photographs and postcards for years.
Last October, I finally took the plunge to hit the open road for a few days. Interestingly enough, I wanted to go alone. There’s just something so appealing to me about solo travel and finding solace in your own company. Because I didn’t feel afraid by that concept, there were a lot of great experiences in store for me.
My itinerary was a relatively simple one: I wanted to take in the beautiful views and visit some historical sights.
First on my list was hiking the Rim Trail. By no means am I an experienced hiker, so I was grateful the terrain had gentle inclines and flat paths. But a forewarning to anyone: while this may be an easy trail, come well-prepared and hydrated. There are no bodies on water on this trail! Regarding the trail itself: no pictures nor description can give justice to the South Rim of The Grand Canyon. I will say, however, that you will be bewildered at how long you can stare at the vast and beautiful landscape.
Second, and on a fun note, I went ahead and took a mule ride at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. There, you are shown the most gracious hospitality at the Phantom Ranch and nest in their cozy cabins – all of which are accommodated with a bed, toilet, showers, and toiletries. The experience of riding a mule you ask? Well, my mule, Jeep, was a gentle creature and I felt confident sitting on his back while I listened to the guide tell stories and teach us about the history of The Grand Canyon. Word of advice, wear some reliable and durable pants because friction burn is not fun to experience for one full hour, and the saddle will inevitably pinch you at times.
Lastly, I was shamelessly touristy and traveled to the Grand Canyon Historic Village sites. One of the most memorable spots for me was the El Tovar hotel. Theodore Roosevelt and Albert Einstein graced its hallways! People are actually welcome to book a reservation at this hotel. While I did not do that, I made a note to definitely save up a bit more for a future Grand Canyon trip, so I too can write my travel articles on a desk that was in the same vicinity as Einstein.
Additionally, I visited the National Geographic Grand Canyon Visitor Center. As a child, I would watch National Geographic reruns for hours and absorb as much information as possible. Even as an adult, I still love to learn new things. In a nutshell, the Visitor Center is immensely helpful and enriching with their knowledge, programs, and movies. You would be surprised at how much you would enjoy your time there!
When the last day of my Grand Canyon journey came, the parting was bittersweet. However, I always feel pride looking back on the fact that I was able to accomplish a childhood dream I’ve had for all my life as well as become wholeheartedly comfortable in solitude. The next time I travel to the Grand Canyon, I’ll definitely take a road trip with friends or family in my trusty crossover. Despite loving solo travel, red and orange sunsets and sleeping under blankets of stars with your loved ones is hundred times more fulfilling.
Trevor is a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed “Travelholic”. He enjoys traveling to parts unknown, sampling local cuisines, and sharing his experiences with the world. In his free time, you can find him planning his next trip or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable. Find out more about Trevor on his LinkedIn page.