After spending the night in Indian Springs, we set off for the Grand Canyon around midday. It was my second day of driving on the road trip and I was on a pretty big high already to say the least. Passing over Las Vegas on the highway, then head South East the road turns in to a single lane. With mountains all around us driving across the pure desert, by now we had crossed the border from Nevada to Arizona the temperature is measuring over 100 degrees. Not the hottest I had driven in, but still the heat was hard to deal with. Every sign post we past, the Grand Canyon still seemed hours and hours away. Finally we turn off for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, it’s still 50 odd miles away, but that doesn’t matter we are off the highway. As I’m driving I see massive forks of lightning that lights up the whole sky and half of the ground below, they are like no other forks of lightning I have experienced in the UK. My friend videos the lightning from behind me, the rain starts to roll in and soon I have slowed down to 30mph, with the windscreen wipers on full blast, I can barely see the road.
I suddenly realise how insane this is, we are in the middle of the desert and there is a massive thunder, lightning and rain storm happening. I continue to drive and if by magic the rain stops and so does the thunder, the only evidence of the storm is the lightning – which we later find out is heat lightning and continuously happens the entire time we are there. After what feels like a long day of driving, but was nothing compared to the day before, I see signs for the Grand Canyon visitor centre car park, I pull in and that’s when it suddenly dawns on us, the Grand Canyon is just there, only metres in front of us. At first I’m a little disappointed, for some reason I had this image from Britney Spears film Crossroads in my head, and the Canyon doesn’t look much like that, but then I look past that and really take in exactly what is in from of me.
It’s pure beauty, the sun is just at that right level to give a golden glow over the Canyon, I snap the most beautiful pictures of the canyon, we head west around the canyon to try and capture the sunset, somehow we manage to get to the perfect point in time, it’s beautiful. I can’t help but be in awe. We walk back around to the car, stopping several times to take our pictures stood on bits of rock overlooking the canyon. We get a spot at the campsite inside the park, perfect for getting up early to see the sunrise, there’s not many places to eat, we end up with pizza and fries between the 3 of us. Then spend the night, playing cards as normal but also getting an early night, the plan is to get up at 5am to watch the sunrise at 5.57am.
The next morning, waking up is hard work, but after remembering why I am getting up, it all seems okay. We quickly make tracks to the car park nearest to Yaki Point, our chosen place to see the sunset. We quickly walk, but as we enter another car park we realise the track here comes to an end and this isn’t Yaki point, the sun is almost about to rise, and this view is not the best. Luckily for us at that point a bus turns up heading to Yaki point, after finding out it doesn’t cost money, we jump on and get to Yaki point just as the sun is starting to rise, there is hardly anyone here, it’s pretty much silence. We wait as the sun rises through the one very low cloud, the bright orange light shining through any small cracks in the cloud, we then watch in silence and awe, as the sun rises above the cloud and shines over the Canyon, it is beyond beautiful and from the blue tinge the sky had when we got up that morning, it is now a radiant orange colour, watching the sunrise I realise how much hope there is in just one day, the sky is full of possibility for the day.
I get some more stunning shots of the Canyon and the sunrise, a lovely silhouette one of the boys just leaning on the fence, pure accident but it works so well. We get the next bus back to our car, and at 6.45am there is not much to do, except catch up with the F1 race, what has already happened elsewhere in the world, due to the time difference. We get breakfast from the dodgy looking cafe as it’s the only thing open at that time of the morning. I decide I want to start driving already, as after watching that amazing sunrise I’m wide awake. We pack up the tent, the boys get comfy to sleep and I drive us out of the Canyon, heading east again on a different road to what we came in on. It’s not long and I’m pulling over because the view is just spectacular, there’s several small canyons in the ground below us, to the side is hills and mountains, and in front of us is one long, stone grey tarmac road just going through this beautiful landscape. Seeing this landscape to me is as beautiful as the Grand Canyon it’s self, because you can see how the whole canyon breaks in to the floor of the desert that lines the view in front of us.