Don’t hate me: I didn’t love the Grand Canyon.
Yes, it’s crazy-beautiful. But it’s also kind of a tourist trap.
What I did love was finishing such a challenging hike with my ❣️husband❣️. The smile on his face when we got back to the viewing ledge was very sweet and very memorable. And I loved the bottle of truly terrible “Grand Canyon” champagne that we shared at our post-hike lunch.
Hiking the Grand Canyon was the hardest physical challenge that I have ever accomplished. It’s so different than hiking a mountain.
When you hike a mountain, you get to look forward to the view from the summit. At the Grand Canyon, you have already seen the view. You’re hiking out of a big hole in the ground, only to get to the top and see the view you saw when you started. That was bizarre.
Beyond that, descending and then climbing 1,000,000 stairs and long switchbacks for five hours is no joke. By the end, I had an incredibly sore knee and socks that were irreversibly stained with red dust.
But the next day? I was barely sore. My knee was a little tender, but my thighs and butt weren’t sore at all. Walking through the Phoenix airport, I was very thankful for every spin class I’ve taken and every squat I’ve done to a Black Eyed Peas song in zumba.
When I’m exercising during the week, I’m not thinking about these big, once-a-year hikes. I’m thinking about daily strength, heart health, and fitting into my jeans. But the stamina I had on this hike surprised me. Physically feeling the fruits of my exercise labor was a new experience for me. Yes, I feel daily workouts getting easier or notice that I can up the resistance on my spin bike, but to be able to speed through such a challenging hike was damn incredible.
And, I don’t think Grant would mind me saying, I totally kicked his butt. 😜
OUR HIKE IN PHOTOS:
We stayed the night before our hike at the historic El Tovar. It was beautiful (I was especially impressed by our cute bathroom), but very, very outdated. There’s a stellar view of the Canyon off the back deck of the hotel, and that was the main draw for us. Also, it was a five minute walk from our hotel room to the trailhead. Huge bonus. We ate in the lounge and in the fancy restaurant. The food was good (my steak at dinner was incredible), but the service was not.
I brewed coffee in our room and brought it outside to watch the sunset.
That’s our hotel in the middle-right of the photo! Very American Horror Story/Nancy Drew video game.
A sunset photo that does zero justice to the view.
After we watched the sunset, we had cocktails in the lobby and filled out a wedding journal that I purchased during our engagement but didn’t open until our honeymoon. Whoops. It was so fun and special to journal about how we met, how we got engaged, how we chose each other, and more. We took turns writing our “version” of the story and reading it to each other. Definitely the most cheesy “honeymoon” thing we did on the trip (we both cried in the lobby, ha!), but it was the BEST.
The next morning, we started hiking as the sun was rising, which meant we had a lot of shade.
The path in the lower-right of the photo is a good example of the endless switchbacks that you hike to get in and out of the canyon.
The beautiful creek at Indian Garden, where we stopped for a rest before hiking back out.
G posing with a souvenir knife that his grandparents gave his dad fifty years ago.
One of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen from this guy, right after we finished the hike.
We ate in the food court after. I had a corn dog (with mustard, ketchup, AND ranch, thank you), french fries, and French silk pie, and I could have eaten more.
Then I drove us the four hours to Phoenix, where we arrived precisely at rush hour on a Friday night. That part was not as perfect.
And, with this final honeymoon recap, I think this is the end of wedding content. I guess I’m just an old married lady now. 😎 Thanks for following along. It’s been very fun to write about. I’m so happy that I’ll have these posts to look back on when I’m actually an old married lady.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
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