A view of the Grand Canyon

It was third time lucky for me with the Grand Canyon.

First up, I was underwhelmed whilst on my rafting trip. Yes, so jaded etcetera, etcetera. But then I gave her a chance to show me her beauty from the North Rim, but was greeted with a wall of snow and the smallest glimpse of a canyon wall.

Finally, after a roundabout trip, I got the views and experience you would expect at the South Rim.

I was amazed. It was beautiful, the colours, the rock layers and the magnitude all added up to a massive WOW! You could spend some serious time sitting and pondering without getting bored.

I had a conversation recently about when to move on because you haven’t had the textbook experience that everyone else seems to have and that no matter how hard you look for it, it doesn’t appear. I had a similar experience with Buenos Aires at the end of a year of travel I was jaded, and didn’t find the fun that others did. Just like trying Buenos Aires for a third time and loving it, I’m glad I tried the Grand Canyon for a third time because it was finally the experience that people rave about.

And she gets her payback

View of the Grand Canyon's North Rim
Pretty spectacular view of the Grand Canyon's North Rim

Unfortunately that wasn’t me. It was the Grand Canyon getting her payback for me saying I was underwhelmed by her after my rafting tour.

You see, no one ever told me it snows at the Grand Canyon. I have never seen any photos with snow in them. So I never expected to have my views of the canyon from the North Rim snowed in.

Perhaps the moral of this is if you diss nature’s beauty, nature will hide it from you.

Just another jaded traveller

Chopper into the Canyon
The chopper ride into the Grand Canyon

I’m embarrassed to say it. To say it is like committing some kind of treason. I know people won’t agree with me, but I just have to say it. The Grand Canyon isn’t so grand.

There. I’ve said it now. I’m prepared for the onslaught of comments telling me how wrong I am, and I’d love to receive them from those of you who were totally amazed. At the hostel I’ve now created some kind of reputation that I’m hard to please. It’s not true, but I’m prepared to laugh about it.

I don’t think the Grand Canyon is pathetic or anything, I just think my expectations were mismanaged. In the lead up to my ranch and raft tour on the Colorado River in the bottom of the Grand Canyon I read about the sway the river and canyon has over the river runners who guide groups through the canyon every season and that was reiterated with great emphasis by our host who went into great detail about it before we even glimpsed the canyon.

Ready to launch the rafts
Ready to launch the rafts

My expectations were that I would be captivated by the river and the canyon, that I wouldn’t ever want to leave and I also pictured sheer walls and dirty big rapids. Clearly they were way too high.

I love rivers and the opportunity to raft the river was something I was especially keen to do. The Murray River has a very special place in my heart, but it seems there is not enough room in there for a green Colorado River.

Canyon view
View of the canyon from the waterfall we visited

All this jaded-ness aside, I had an enjoyable trip. We saw some beautiful colours in the canyon walls, the camping was fun, the chopper ride into the canyon great and the walk up to the waterfall extremely pretty. I guess I just came away glad that I had only gone on the 3 day, 2 night trip and not the 6 day trip! Maybe my impressions of the Grand Canyon will change when I look over the rim. I certainly hope so.

Last minute Grand Canyon

After a long time humming and harring about what to do for my birthday, I finally booked an adventure.

You see, ever since I spent my 25th birthday straddling the equator in Ecuador, I have vowed to go away and do something exciting for my birthday. I used to expect others to make my birthday special for me, but after adopting this new philosophy I found that the only person my birthday is special for is me, and that it’s up to me to drive the celebrations.

So my birthdays have involved parasailing on the Gold Coast in Australia, kiteboarding in the Philippines, cycling around Rottnest Island in Western Australia, climbing the Sydney Harbour bridge, visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia and swinging in a hammock in Puerto Escondido in Mexico. Sometimes these trips have been alone, and some have been with friends or family, but they all involved me taking responsibility for enjoying myself on my birthday without the need for birthday wishes or gifts.

I had been looking at stacks of Grand Canyon rafting tour websites, trying to find the best deal and best adventure. I would have loved to do a week-long trip but my travel budget couldn’t quite extend that far, so I settled on a shorter 3 day trip. I was worried that I wasn’t going to find one that would have availability over my birthday in a week and a half’s time because these trips are usually booked way in advance, but the first company I called, Arizona River Runners, had an opening and they were super nice on the phone.

So now I’m booked on a tour that includes a flight to the canyon rim, a ranch stay, a helicopter flight to the canyon floor, a whitewater rafting and camping trip and a jet boat across Lake Mead. I’m pretty darn excited.