First off, no I did NOT hike to the bottom of the Canyon. If a crazy friend was along I might have, but a one-day round-trip would have meant doing very little the rest of the week! While camping down below is an option, it isn't for me -- this is where the rattlesnakes and scorpions live (I'm not making that up!).
Instead, I had a week-long adventure of multiple below-the-rim hikes, scenic walks along the entire 14-mile south rim, 2 bike rides, ranger programs, and more. I also had my first winter camping experience (it was 38 degrees the first 2 nights!). A week was just right, and the small smattering of photos will tell some of the story!
SIDEBAR: My Rant on The Grand Canyon (feel free to skip it): While I really enjoyed this great wonder, it was a dismay to see how incredibly commercialized The Grand Canyon (south rim) is. As one fellow hiker said, "this is the Disney of National Parks". I also attended a ranger program on "How do we define wilderness?" which had a similar bent then spoke with a shuttle driver who said, "It just keeps on growing. When is it enough?". There are now over 5 million visitors annually, and just 5% go below the rim (1% to the bottom). While everyone should see the Canyon, how many restaurants, gift shops, etc are enough? Yes, I've made note to write a letter to the National Parks Director & I'm happy to share it if you'd like to send one, too! Will the glow of the golden arches deter the beauty of the night sky one day? I hope not!
Music Quiz: So, as I was leaving and revved up for Southern Utah, I selected a music compilation from the '70s because the first song fit my mood. Here's 3 hints: I was feeling strong, wearing a desert sun glow, and heading into the Red Canyon. Name the tune and I'll treat you to a Thai dinner the next time we meet! (Deadline is Monday, 6/8; only one winner!)
Loving Utah and will share that experience early next week!