I’ve always wanted to see the Grand Canyon. I don’t know what it is about it, but I desperately wanted to see it. It just seems like one of those things one has to see.
We decided to rent bikes and cycle along the rim of the Grand Canyon. Of course, as a cycle enthusiast, I suggested we do the longest ride, a 21-mile loop. What I didn’t know was that a good portion of that trail featured steep inclines. Six percent grade incline, anyone?
Good thing we’ve been riding outside (and pulling Kate in a trailer) a bunch, and I’m committed to my weekly spin classes. Otherwise I don’t know if we would have made it.
We rented our bikes from Bright Angel Bicycle Rentals. (Sadly, they did not offer clips, so I couldn’t clip in with my cycle shoes. At first this completely threw me off, and I refused to bike without my shoes. But I gave in and rode with my regular shoes. I hope my hard-core biking friends still like me.)
Anyway, we biked along the rim up about 10 miles to Hermit’s Rest and back another 10 miles. In total, it took us about 4 hours. We could have rode faster, but we stopped several times to shot some pictures and take in the views. (Don’t you think it looks like Mars? Also, we happened to be there on a hazy day, hence the muted colors of our pictures.)
You could walk or take a shuttle bus between lookout points, but we found the bikes a better choice for us. The shuttles were crowded with tour groups and families. But the 21 mile bike loop? Much less crowded. And we could go at our pace instead of wondering when a bus would come around.
Plus I love biking.
So if cycling is your thing, definitely rent a bike at the Grand Canyon.
Now the Grand Canyon itself is indescribable. I thought it would be a round ring with a hole in it. No. That’s not what it’s like. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. I found it hard to photograph since it’s such a funny shape and size and depth. It’s almost overwhelming.
In fact, at one point I felt panic-y. There was just so much…nothingness. Nothing for as far as the eye can see. No structures, buildings, miles of taillights in traffic like I’m used to seeing. Just nothing. At one point I felt the urge to lie flat on the ground and cling to the Earth.
Maybe it was the height or the lack of oxygen or just feeling so small and insignificant in face of this giant structure that left me feeling both awe-inspired and rattled.
In Sedona, there’s lot of talk about vortexes, these sites where the Earth’s energy supposedly creates various feelings of healing and self awareness. I don’t know if these vortexes are real or imagined or a mix of both. But it’s impossible to take in these structures and not feel moved. Even if that move is to lie flat and grab the Earth.