One of the great blessings of this nomadic lifestyle is the ability to see and explore some of the truly iconic landscapes of our marvelous country. Every time I explore one of these wonders, I give thanks that our nation had the foresight to set aside and protect these special places.
The Grand Canyon is one of those iconic places. I’ve seen photographs since I was a child, but photos simply can’t convey the scope and scale of the enormous multi-colored ravine. This park also gave us two notable firsts: the first time we drove our big rig into a national park, and the first time we were able to actually camp in a national park campground! Typically, parks can’t accommodate a rig of our size.
I’ll do a full review separately, but the Trailer Village RV park on the South Rim was simply fantastic. We had seen troublesome reviews complaining of narrow roads, and low hanging branches, but we had no trouble navigating into our site. We had full hookups with 50 amp electric and, surprisingly, cable TV! We didn’t have any kind of cell phone coverage, but that’s a small price to pay for camping next to one of the world’s great wonders. As a bonus, several elk frequently roamed the area, grazing unconcerned next to campers. The night sky blazed bright with a zillion stars. You just don’t get that in your typical RV resort!
Due to COVID, some of the services weren’t available, such as most of the shuttle buses. However, the area is well-connected with a network of roads and bicycle paths, so getting around was a breeze. We were camped just a mile from the Visitor Center and the rim trail. Strolling the rim trail was almost a spiritual experience — I felt like an insignificant speck next to the enormous canyon.
During our week here, Jeff embarked on a long-planned backpacking adventure into the canyon. He hiked down Bright Angel trail and pitched his tent for two nights at the Indian Gardens campground, about 2/3 of the way down. There was a bit of a hiccup with our ancient backpacking tent. Although we checked to make sure all of the pieces were there, we didn’t actually set up the tent. When he arrived, he found the rain fly to be a fused mess after years in storage. He painstakingly peeled it apart (more or less), only to have one of the main poles snap when he attempted to erect the tent. Ever the Eagle Scout, he found a sturdy forked stick, lashed it to the tent, and managed to secure the jury-rigged pole into place. It worked!
The second day, he hiked down to the Colorado River and back, and viewed the sunset from Plateau Point. The following morning, he packed up and headed up. Mindful of the significant elevation gain (and on tired legs), he started off intentionally slowly and conservatively. Four groups passed him by initially, but as he went up, he picked up steam and ultimately passed them all! (They nicknamed him the Tortoise.) He was tired, but in good shape, and happy to have had the experience.
The South Rim is an expansive complex of visitor center, hotels, campgrounds, service buildings and shops. There is even a surprisingly well-stocked grocery store. A week wasn’t enough to see and do it all.
Definitely a place to return to.