On August 15th, after I got off of work, T. and I headed up to Flagstaff to prepare for visiting the Grand Canyon the next day with our dog, Goldy. This is something I have wanted to cross off my bucket list for quite some time, since we have been living in Arizona for four years now. I was afraid we weren’t going to get up north to see it before moving back to California, but T. surprised me with hotel reservations!
The drive from Tucson to Flagstaff took about three hours. There was a storm rolling in and the sky looked beautiful, so I took a few pictures of the drive.
We stayed at the Travelodge near I-40 in Flagstaff. It looked a bit sketchy on the outside, but the inside was surprisingly wonderful! The staff were friendly, it was quiet, and everything was clean. We were supposed to be charged a $15/night pet fee, but they waived it for us upon check-in. There was a wide variety of channels available on the TV, and there was a good size fridge in the room, as well as a microwave.
The only difficulty was that there was no place to take the dog to the bathroom very close the hotel. It took us about a 5-minute walk to find some sparse grass for Goldy to go to the bathroom on. If your dog doesn’t mind going to the bathroom on dirt or pavement, you’ll be fine, but our dog thinks she is a princess so we had to work a little harder to get her to do her business.
We woke up the next morning in time for the free continental breakfast, which consisted of cereal, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, hard boiled eggs, and coffee. Then we headed up to the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim, which took about 45 minutes. It costs $30 per car for entrance into the park. Dogs are only allowed on the South Rim, I believe, and it is still very limited as to where dogs can go there, so don’t expect to experience the Grand Canyon wholly if you bring your pup.
However, those of you with dogs will know that this is the price we pay for the company of our furry friends – we change our schedules, we pick up poop, and we spend lots of time googling dog friendly places and activities. I’m not saying don’t take your dog with you – I’m glad we did – I’m just saying don’t expect to see everything. There is a kennel on the South Rim if you want to board your dog (I think it is a flat rate of $20-$30 to board your animal for the whole day), but I couldn’t ever imagine doing this to my dog, since she understandably hates being left in a strange place without us.
The park rangers give you a map when you enter, and the only place that it says dogs are allowed is the Rim Trail. I think it is easiest to just start from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, where there are multiple parking lots and plenty of bathrooms. We walked from there to a little past the Yavapai Point and Geology Museum. Part of the Rim Trail is dubbed the “Trail of Time” (or something similar), and has plaques that shows you what the canyon looked like at different points in time.
It was pretty hot, so all three of us went through a lot of water on our out-and-back walk. After we got back to the car, we drove to Verkamp’s visitor center, to see other views of the canyon along the way and experience how vastly large it is!
It is a dead-end a little past the visitor center, so you have to loop back. On our way towards the park exit, we saw some deer!
I hope to see the Grand Canyon maybe once more in my life so I can experience it in a different way – perhaps hike it, or raft the river. It is something I definitely recommend seeing because you can really gain an understanding of how powerful taphonomic forces are and it also helps put into perspective how incredibly old the Earth is.
It is just amazing to see evidence that the natural forces we experience today have been shaping the Earth for billions of years, much much longer than humans have been around. I think that, standing on the edge of this gaping hole in the earth, one can gain a necessary reverence for our planet and its life before the existence of our species.