USA Road Trip No. 1 - San Francisco to New York


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Verse 10: The Grand Canyon

We woke up an hour before sunrise and headed out to the South Rim to watch the sun coming up over the canyon. When we got out of the door of our lodge, we were greeted by a whole doe eyed deer family, munching away at the shrubs right by the door. Good morning nature!!! 

Ta-Daaah! It was friggin cold and just as the sun started to come up in a very romantic way, a huge coach full of tourists arrived and parked directly next to us with the engine running o_0.

At least one of them took a proper tourist photo of us : )

Our growling bellies commanded a return to the lodge for a Grand Breakfast.

After our morning munch we headed out again to walk down into the canyon. Well.. not all the way down, that takes two days: One down, one up, but more like 3 hours down and 4 hours up again. Tip: Buy some Yak Tracks (those are the metal things you put under your foot so you don't fall flat on your face if it's icy) at the supermarket in Grand Canyon Village. Don't open them. If you need them on your walk, use them. If not, return them and get your money back. 

We tossed a coin to decide which trail to do: The South Kaibab or the Bright Angel. The coin said South Kaibab, so we decided to take the Bright Angel trail... probably because 'Angel' sounded better than 'Kebab'.  Another tip: Listen to the locals... we should have done and then we would have gone down the kebab route as that has far more sun on a Winter's day and we soon realised that the Angel trail was in shadow the whole way down, and it was VERY cold perched on the rocks eating lunch. So the tip is Bright Angel in summer and South Kaibab in winter.

Strange things that we saw in the Grand Canyon: 

An Italian guy in his 30s running down the trail in normal trainers, no Yak Tracks, wearing only a fleece and those outdoor trousers you can zip off at the knee, overtaking us and then some time later, still running, overtaking us again on our way up. When we asked him if he was an Olympic athlete, he just said "I have a bus to catch" and dashed passed us on his hurried ascent.

Two girls and a boy in clothes you'd wear on a night out in Newcastle, one of the girls  glammed up to the nines, teetering along the ice in very high wedges, the guy shouting nonstop in a Baltic sounding language into a mobile, the girls giggling. 


Grand Canyon Fact: The most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon is not a bear or a wild cat or a freaked out pony. It's the squirrel. Every year hundreds of tourists get their fingers ripped off while trying to feed them. Beware.

Back on the road we set the SatNav to Flagstaff and soaked in the endless highway, lit up in the evening sun.

In Flagstaff we booked ourself in the Grand Canyon Hostel and headed out to get FOOD!!! The guy at the hostel told us about a nearby Beaver Street Micro Brewery that was doing cheap but great food and even greater beers. 

..yum yum yum.. good night!


  1. Cool pictures guys! A visit to The Grand Canyon has always been on my list of places to go and these pictures make me want to go asap!

  2. Danger Squirrels! Only in America.

    I'll be raising a glass of Guinness to you today - St. Patrick's Day.

  3. Thanks for the update! It is always interesting for me to read good, open-minded, opinions of what foreigners think of our wonderful country. Too bad you came during the winter, particularly when the areas you are traveling through have had the worst winter in 50 years!

    I am curious as to why you chose the route you did and it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the 360-degree sociopolitical whirlwind you experienced from the super liberals to the super conservatives to the super capitalists.

    Can't wait for the next update!

    -Mike in Atlanta

  4. Thanks Mr Knitter! Prost!!! : )

    Mike, we were actually very lucky with the weather. It was cold in places but also sunny most of the time. We only had a lot of rain in Texas. You'll see soon ; ) We met of course all kinds of people: liberals, conservatives (not THAT many super capitalists) and the vast majority of them were friendly and helpful.

  5. Supaswag, thanks for the reply!

    I have very much enjoyed the blog, I came across it by way of StumbleUpon. Next time you come out to the U.S. you definitely need to see Yosemite, Glacier-Waterston and Yellowstone national parks (also, the aquarium in Atlanta trumps all others!). I wish I had done a blog like yours during my month-long trip to South Africa. I am glad you met such helpful people, we get a pretty bad rap in the international scene. You guys rock, keep it coming! And cheers for St. Patrick's Day, I will raise my Guinness for you all!
    -Mike in Atlanta

  6. Hi Mike

    There are definitely some more national parks on our list for the next time. And we didn't manage to go to the Atlanta aquarium : ( instead we watched the Atlanta Thrashers getting thrashed in the ice. We stayed with great friends and had a brilliant time in Atlanta. Don't tell anyone, but Atlanta was our favourite city of the whole trip ; ) ..we will write about Atlanta later. At the moment we are just in Flagstaff, so it's still a long way to go. Cheerio!!!

  7. .... great update, been where they are writing about, just didn't have the time to spend there.... always on the go, way too much !!

  8. Have fun on your journey! I wish the runner had told you more about what they are doing. It certainly would have been a nice caveat to the story.

  9. Great trip and great picts. Been on part of that trek but not as much of the southern part as I'd like. Wish I had more time for more trips.