In November, I took a trip out west to visit family in Las Vegas. Since the Grand Canyon isn’t that far from Vegas (relatively speaking, since nothing out west is actually close to anything else), it made sense to make a trip there.
Our journey to the Grand Canyon began with the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, AZ. We boarded the train and settled down to enjoy the two-hour ride to the canyon.
The ride provided views of the Arizona landscape…
…but for those who weren’t into desert landscapes, there was a bit of onboard entertainment, too.
As we neared the canyon, the landscape changed.
We arrived at the park on a clear beautiful day.
After a quick lunch, we headed out to see the sights. I decided to wander around on my own.
There are only a few sights that have been so awe-inspiring that they’ve made me abruptly stop and stare when I first saw them. When I got my first real look at the Grand Canyon, I stopped and stared.
There are no photos that can do the Grand Canyon justice. I took photos because I enjoy taking photos, but none of my photos do it justice. There are plenty of gorgeous photos others have taken, but none of them can communicate the majesty and the grandeur (and the size) of the Grand Canyon. It’s something you have to experience for yourself.
The Grand Canyon is beautiful both in color and in black and white.
A friendly fellow tourist offered to take my picture. I try to stay out of pictures taken by my own camera, but come on. IT’S THE GRAND CANYON. It’s worth an exception.
As I walked along the path to the next overlook, I noticed a few
foolish brave highly determined people venturing off the path to an unofficial overlook.
The view from there is probably pretty spectacular, but the fall from there would be even more spectacular. I stayed on the official path and watched those people take selfies. (Seriously, that was selfie central.)
The path offered its own marvelous views.
As I walked along the path, I learned that some people look at the astonishing beauty of the Grand Canyon and think, “Do you know what this view needs? MY NAME ON THE NEAREST TREE. Yeah, that’ll make this place better.”
I mean, the Grand Canyon is fine, but it’s Johnny’s and Elsa’s names on a tree that REALLY make the place great. Without that, it would probably just be the Okay Canyon.
That path took me by one of the many shuttle stops. When I boarded the next bus, the train departure time was drawing uncomfortably close, and the shuttles were neither arriving nor moving fast enough to keep me from worrying about missing the train. When the shuttle (FINALLY) pulled up to the stop next to the train, I hurried off the bus and down to the train, where I saw the conductor standing on the tracks behind the back end of the train.
“Are you Burrill?” he called out. When I said yes, he said I could board the train at the end and walk through to my car. It seems my family had let the staff know that I wasn’t there yet, and they were all keeping an eye out for me as the departure time approached. As I walked through the train to my seat (in car B, so I had to walk through most of the train), one staff member exclaimed “He made it!” and had the passengers in her car give me a round of applause.
Once my heart rate settled back to normal, the ride back to Williams was every bit as enjoyable as the ride to the park had been.
The Grand Canyon is remarkable and well worth the trip, and the Grand Canyon Railway is a great way to make the trip to the park itself. It is worth noting that making the round trip on the same day will give you just under four hours at the park, so if you want to take the train but you want more time to explore (there’s a good chance you will), it would be worth either staying the night at the park and returning to Williams the next day or driving to the park the next day to explore more on your own schedule (which is what we did).
Oh, and the GCR didn’t pay me to say nice things about them. I just thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and I think a lot of you would enjoy it too.
And again: the Grand Canyon is stunning. You want to go to there.