My Faux Hike in the Grand Canyon Western South Rim
Submitted by Outdoor Afro Contributor, Terri Davis-Merchant, of the fun blog: Try Anything Once
Faux hiking? Oh yeah! I’m not really into outdoorsy stuff. Perhaps you’ve noticed that. I mean I guess I’m not really destined for it. Having grown up in a Black working class neighborhood in New York City in the 80’s and 90’s, sleeping in a tent in the cold with no bathroom wasn’t exactly what many considered a vacation. Just sayin’. Even Oprah noticed the lack o’ folks o’ color during her recent trip to Yosemite. (By the way, I love the name of that blog link, Outdoor Afro.) While Husband J grew up doing more outdoor related things than me, even he likes the comfort of a warm bed (hence, our stay at the El Tovar).
Here is the previous post on the South Rim:
October 26, 2010 – Walking the Grand Canyon South Rim
When we first got to our hotel, it was pouring down hurricane rain, so I couldn’t see the canyon at all. At first I refused to look until we got right up to the canyon’s edge. I even closed my eyes when we left our hotel so that I could have my own special “first look”. Pictures just don’t give you the impact of what the Grand Canyon is really like in person. I joked with Husband J that all that we were seeing just couldn’t be real. It couldn’t be. It’s that spectacular.
We set out from our hotel, the El Tovar, and literally walk less than 50 feet to the rim. I’ll talk more about the El Tovar and the great advantages to staying there in another post. Since we weren’t ready for a far-flung walk that day, we stayed pretty close to the hotel. I will say that the National Park Service has made walking the Grand Canyon Rim pretty easy for almost any visitor. There is a main paved walkway that provides great views, and you can take it almost the length of the South Rim.
For the adventurer, you can move off of the main walkway for an even closer look at edge.
The Trail of Time is also a part of the main walkway in this part of the park. Ever so often there were rock markers with their scientific names and geological ages. Science buffs take note!
This portion of the South Rim happened to have a few shops that are their own historic structures. Verkamp’s Visitor Center has been around since the early 20th century (1905 to be exact) and is one of the oldest buildings surrounding the canyon. It started out as a curio (craft) shop and has become an integral part of the South Rim experience.
Verkamp’s floor actually has a nice time line showing major points in the history and development of the canyon as a park and tourist site. I learned quite a bit myself including the fact that our hotel was over a 100 years old.
I wish I was more of a shopper and that we had more room in our apartment for these gorgeous pieces. Check the prices, though.
I will say that I am sad that we did not learn more about Native American culture on this trip. Arizona is home to over 250,000 Native Americans from 21 recognized tribes. At the same time, I’m going to cut myself some slack since this was really only a long weekend. 🙁
I’m not done with walking the canyon yet. Stay tuned for my pseudo-hiking!