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Grand Canyon

National Parks

Getting There
Mule Rides
Sky Walk
North Rim

The Grand Canyon is one of those experiences everyone needs to have at least once, and preferably several times. The place is just amazing. We live in this age where every thing is so overhyped the reality is always disappointing. Not The Canyon. People can't overhype it because they can't capture it. Not in words, photographs, movies or paintings. The first time you step to the rim, it is a disorienting, heart stopping, mind numbing adrenalin rush. Your eyes have never seen such colors, and as the sun moves across the sky, they keep changing. Your depth perception struggles to focus, as layers upon layers upon layers keep extending back and back and back toward the horizon, and you never can find the horizon. Looking down is even more disorienting. You see trails winding ever downward, and the tiny ribbon of river far, far in the distance. But they're empty. Then someone hands you the binoculars, and you can see the trails teeming with backpackers and mule trains, the river filled with brightly colored rafts and people in them paddling frantically as they descend huge rapids and waterfalls. No national park on Earth humbles a person like The Grand Canyon. You are truly a speck in this vast landscape.

As spectacular as the Canyon is from the rims, to truly experience it you have to get down into it. You have to hike it, backpack it, ride the mules down to Phantom Ranch, raft the mighty Colorado. There's a lifetime of trails and campsites down there. But there are dangers, too. Every day people are hospitalized for severe sun burns, dehydration, heat sroke and falls. This is a harsh, high altitude, thin air, intensely hot desert environment, and there are precautions to take. A broadbrimmed hat, frequent generous sunblock of the highest number available, bottles of water and rest stops are critical. Even if you're only walking the South Rim Trail (see Hiking) or riding the mules out to The Abyss Overlook, you have to protect yourself from the sun and heat. The worst time to visit The Canyon is in Summer. Spring and Fall are much better. The weather is mild and you can get into the lodges restaurants, mule rides and rafting trips much more easily. Even backpacking permits are difficult to get in June, July and August, but easy to get the rest of the year, which is ironic considering how much more comfortable it is. No matter what activities you choose, please do not come for a one or two night visit. You are much better to wait until you can come for at least a week. There is so much to do here, you owe it to yourself enough time to do it.

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