Grand Canyon

grand canyon: is it really grand?

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Before seeing the Grand Canyon, we really had no expectation and without sounding sarcastic… “How grand can it really be?”


In our original post about this trip, we described that the Grand Canyon is magnificently enormous. And honestly after seeing it with our own eyes, we can confirm that it really is GRAND.

According to UNESCO*, the national park contains more than 2,600 documented prehistoric ruins, untouched until about 1860s. There are 5 life and vegetation zones within the canyon, with over 1,000 species of identified plants.

The Grand Canyon is a gorge, carved out by the Colorado River, millions of years ago. It is approximately 1.5km deep and 450 km long. And honestly, looking out at it, the canyon seems to go on forever! Great times to witness the  canyon are during sunrise and sunset when the colours of the canyon change before your eyes.

Words can simply not describe what we could see. Photographs doesn’t do it justice. Witnessing the natural beauty in front of us reminded us what a wonderful world that we live in!

There are times when places are “talked up” and don’t really live to their name or reputation. But here at the Grand Canyon, we certainly were not disappointed! Go see it for yourself, if you haven’t already!

Unfortunately, we didn’t go on a helicopter ride over the canyon, as what we have heard is only gushing reviews about seeing it that way.

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Grand Canyon National Park was listed as a

UNESCO Heritage site in 1979.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited,

visit our unofficial bucket list

* Ref: The World’s Heritage – the best-selling guide to the most extraordinary places (UNESCO Publishing 2011)

lights, canyons, action

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So much snow
So much snow
No snow in sight
No snow in sight

Onwards on our trip, we were able to peel another layer of clothing off. So we were down to about 2 layers now. From snow to desert in a matter of days, we travelled from Yellowstone to Salt Lake City to Bryce Canyon to Zion before we stopped at Grand Canyon. With the contrast in temperature,  it was hard to believe that we were in the same country in the same month.

Grand Canyon is magnificently enormous. Its worth watching the IMAX 3D movie before seeing the actual canyon itself – it gave us that little bit of a greater appreciation of those who explored it. But after standing on that ledge and looking out at that canyon, we can confirm that it was appropriately named! Words can simply not describe what we could see. Even photographs doesn’t do the canyon justice. Go see them for yourself!

The colours change as the sun sets and as the sun strikes the sides of the canyon, the lighting plays tricks with our eyes. We felt like if we reached out we would touch canvas because for a moment there, we are convinced that what is before us, is nothing more than an enormous painting. But although it is a work of art, it is not a painting. A moment where again we realise what a wonderful world that we live in!

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

All those feelings aside, we travel across desert and along a bit of Route 66 before we end up on Las Vegas Strip! Where we are introduced to excesses – excess lights, excess gambling, excess food. Before coming here, we watched The Hangover and so arriving here we thought we knew what to expect! Well, however you imagine Vegas, its glitzier and regrettably tackier! But, its still worth a visit but dare we say 3-4 days is more than enough.

View from our room in the Bellagio
View from our room in the Bellagio

So we stayed in Imperial Palace for one night before upgrading to the Bellagio for the next 2 nights, where we watched “O”, the Cirque Du Soleil show performed with a pool. It was the show of all shows and trumps all other Cirque Du Soleil shows.  For the past 4 years, we have watched the shows that tour Australia but after seeing this one, we feel like we can put them to bed and see no more. 🙂

And if you want a break from Sin City – Hoover Dam is an interesting “half-day” trip out of Vegas to do.