RV Life – A Trial Run, Part 2 (The Grand Canyon)

RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon Colors
Sunset colors glow from the South Rim. Learn more.

Pictures pale in comparison to the in-person experience of this profound sight.

You simply must see the Grand Canyon for yourself.

Grand Canyon

Few places on earth inspire tourists and sight-seers like the Grand Canyon. Unmatched in its vastness, the view from the South Rim is breathtaking, encompassing the entire horizon. Sheer cliffs reach deep into the earth revealing layered bands of colorful rock that tell a story of ancient geological history.

Our first full day in the park started with a pleasant realization about the climate. It occurred to me that we might be making a mistake visiting the desert in summer. I fully expected that by the time I got up late that morning I’d be roasting. Despite being over 85 degrees already it was actually quite pleasant. Low humidity was a key factor, about 20%. Altitude was the other. Being in the high desert kept the temperatures down while the low humidity made the day rather comfortable. There was also a pleasant breeze moving through the canyon, so the climate was just about perfect.

The National Park Service offers a shuttle bus service. This is an excellent way to see the park. They have several pre-planned routes that will take you to all the best locations. There are suggested activities and recommended points of interest mapped-out for your convenience. You have the flexibility to stay as long as you want at a location because another bus will be along shortly.

We took full advantage of the bus system, enjoying just about every route they had to offer. It was wonderful not having to disconnect the RV from the camp site and deal with tourist traffic. I was able to focus on the views rather than the road. There were no parking hassles as we received curbside service to the best points of interest in the park.

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There were dozens of amazing stops and viewpoints that filled our itinerary for the two days we were there. Some of my personal favorites include …

RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - The Abyss
Will this branch hold me if I fall?

The Abyss

This viewpoint provides a tummy-tumbling, vertical view straight down into the canyon. You can see the Monument Creek drainage area along the Colorado River.

RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - Powell Point
Beautiful Distance. Mesmerizing.

Powell Point

Besides the stunning view here, this is a historical marker. The Powell Memorial commemorates the 1869-1872 expeditions into the canyon by Major John Wesley Powell.

RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - Hermit's Rest
Built by Mary Colter, one of Grand Canyon’s most famous architects.

Hermit’s Rest

Built in 1914 to look like an old miner’s cabin, complete with a giant fireplace and front porch, Hermits Rest has a gift shop and small snack bar. This place stimulates the imagination for living a 19th century frontier life style high above the canyon.

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RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - Yaki Point
Did you notice the photo bomber in this shot?

Yaki Point

A point of land that juts out into the canyon offering unobstructed views east and west. A perfect spot to bask in the colors of dusk and dawn.

Private vehicles are prohibited here, so a short hike is required. The trade-off is more solitude, when compared to other canyon vistas. The Desert View Watchtower is visible from this location.

RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon Village
Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio (Photo – NPS MICHAEL QUINN)

The Village

This is where the tourist amenities are; restaurants, shops, hotels, and various facilities. It’s where people flock for refreshment and rest after a busy day touring the park. The old train depot is here too.

As the day of wonders came to a close there was one more canyon marvel on our itinerary to experience; the sunset. We asked a ranger for an opinion on where we should go and she suggested Hopi Point. She said this spot offered the best unobstructed westward view. She was right. As apricot colors splashed the world around us that evening with a soft, warm glow, the beauty was intoxicating. Simply amazing.

  • RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - Hopi Point Sunset
  • RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - Hopi Point Sunset
  • RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - Hopi Point Sunset
  • RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - Hopi Point Sunset
  • RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - Hopi Point Sunset
  • RV Life - A Trial Run Part 2 - Grand Canyon - Hopi Point Sunset
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In the morning we departed the Grand Canyon for our next destination, the Four Corners. Deep within Navajo country this geographical point of interest is where the boundaries of four states meet. The unique landmark is managed by the Navajo Nation and offers a wonderful experience with Ute and Navajo people. Artisans and vendors are present to offer beautiful hand-crafted wares.

Four Corners Arizona - Native American Pony
A treasured photo. My kids with their mother at the Four Corners, 1994.

I first visited the Four Corners in 1994 and have fond memories of my young children meeting a local Native American dressed in traditional clothing. With him was a beautiful paint horse that he graciously allowed me to photograph.

From the Grand Canyon, the road to the Four Corners took us through some of the most iconic landscapes of the American West. Monument Valley is well known for its unique rock formations towering high above the desert plains. These sandstone monoliths soar upwards to 1000 feet and have offered picturesque backdrops for hundreds of Hollywood film productions. I found myself imagining John Wayne riding across the many miles of open space, or Forest Gump running along the lonely highway.

Arizona - Monument Valley
The sound of silence can be found here.

The unending beauty stretched out before us in all directions. There were times we drove for an hour without seeing another human. We stopped several times for photos of the vast landscape and to simply gaze in awe.

Standing in the stillness listening to the wind blow across the prairie was a majestic and emotional experience.

A lasting memory I have of that day is the strong winds. It was my first encounter with winds of that strength while driving a high-profile vehicle. It was quite unnerving being rocked about and pushed around. There were times I gripped the steering wheel so hard that I may have left a permanent indentation! My jaw was certainly sore by the end of the day due to the constant clenching!

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The sun began to set as we approached the Four Corners. In the dusky light of evening we finally arrived only to find the gates closed. We missed closing time by about 40 minutes. That was a disappointing end to a long day’s drive. We pushed onward to Cortez, Colorado and stayed at the Sundance RV Park in town. Another incredible day of lasting memories. God’s creation is truly grand.

Genesis 1:31

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Steve Coryell