I’ll admit it, I’ve been selfish. I’ve been enjoying my jobs and classes and haven’t spent much time on the interwebz. One of the way too much fun things I’ve done recently was take my first trip to the Grand Canyon- in December! I was a little nervous as I don’t have too much experience with frigid weather and had little to no supplies… And it was the off-season. What does that even mean? For the Grand Canyon, summer months see almost half a million more visitors than you would in say, December.
As an American, it pained me to admit that at 23 years old I still hadn’t seen the Grand Canyon. Luckily, my best two travel buddies are ALWAYS down for an adventure, so us three gals, two dogs, and the love of my life loaded up my car a few weeks ago to see what this big ole hole was all about.
Can I quickly interlude to the fact that it is PHENOMENAL! Don’t tell my friends, but it definitely brought me to tears at least once. The lyrics “This land is your land, this land is my land…” were pretty much on repeat in my head. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a bit of a romantic and I thought the whole thing gave me a sense of national pride I would have never felt otherwise.
But anyways, did I mention the weather was set to be below 20? (Fahrenheit, don’t let me confuse, it was FRIDGID!) As I said earlier, I don’t have much experience with cold weather. We did the best we could with liquor and wine and cuddles. Speaking of, I want to give a shout out to my crew for being so clever! It’s always nice when everyone in the group not only pulls their weight, but brings something to the table. Everyone did their fair share of research and cuddles…
Driving advice- there are so many beautiful sights to catch on the route to the canyon! We chose Sedona, thanks to one lovely girls research. Although getting out to explore was fun, just driving through the immaculate, otherworldly landscape was breathtaking. A little north of Sedona you’ll find Flagstaff which is pretty much the last signal of civilization until the canyon. The town of Flagstaff itself is pretty damn adorable if you have a chance to stop by! There were tons of cute bars and restaurants. Stop by the Wal-Mart if you need any supplies- most notably liquor and games to play because the park will shut down pretty early.
Anyways, the good stuff! Why was going in the off-season great?
We decided the best bet was to stay in the actual park for the sort of hop-out-of-bed-and-hike experience. The first noted bonus was that we didn’t have to pay the park fee because we literally just drove through and no one was there… It’s pretty dead in the winter, which is great because NO QUEUES!
We chose the Yavapai Lodge because it’s awesome and they allow dogs. My only serious fear for the trip was freezing to death in a little cabin… As with most fears, they were empty because the the Yavapai had a superb heater… At times, too superb. It got toasty! There was just enough people to feel safe in the case of a Texas chainsaw ordeal, but we were on our own for the most part.
The room itself was much better than what I had prepared for. Expect hotel, not motel. Minifridge, nice TV, and the lotion was the SAME from ** in Miami. Felt a little pampered…
At one part of the rim, there is a little store that has the BEST hot chocolate I have ever had in my life… Tasted similar to the chocolate stuff in Madrid and was overlooking one of the prettiest parts of the canyon.
There is also an awesome restaurant called El Tovar at the El Tovar Hotel. Try to snag a spot over-looking the canyon to get a drink or two before dinner. And don’t forget the French Onion soup! Exquisite 😉
DON’T FORGET TO BRING…
Stable shoes… You don’t want to slide down the side of this ish. I wore high-top vans and was fine, although if you plan on hiking down to the river you should bring hiking boots
Water… Can’t say the water is safe there year-round.
GAMES… So happy we did this. Taboo was hilarious especially after another important item…
Liquor/Wine/Beer… Mostly to stay warm. Okay, twist my arm, it’s nice to wind down with a drink after a hike or two.