The Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular places on earth. The sheer beauty of the rock formations stuns millions of visitors every year. It has been on my bucket list for years and a few years ago, we planned a visit during one of our cross country trips. We booked a lodge in the park through xanterra and the day finally came! We were going to the Grand Canyon! We were so excited to see this natural wonder.
We arrived at the park and proceeded to the check in desk. My husband went to get the keys to the room while I waited in the car with our kids, who were 11 and 8 at the time. After getting the keys, my husband and daughter proceeded to check out the room while I waited with our son. They cam back with tales of a mouse running through the hall. Meanwhile, my son and I had been watching a raccoon wander up and down the steps outside the lodge. But this is part of the “charm” of the grand canyon. Nature is everywhere and the doors to the lodges are kept propped open so that anything can wander in or out. And they don’t trap animals. Why would they, when they are just going to let them roam free anywhere.
We had to decide what to do. The kids didn’t want to stay and sleep with the animals, and quite frankly, neither did we. But it was almost 11:00 pm and we had no other reservations and weren’t sure if we could get a refund on our room and the sunrise tour we had scheduled for the next morning. And if we could get a refund, where were we going to go? So while my husband argued for a refund, I got on the phone and found us a hotel that was 1 1/2 hours away (reminder, it was already 11). So we proceeded to head towards the new hotel, but we didn’t get to see the Grand Canyon. What we did get on our way out was more nature. There was a wildfire that night and the smoke on the sides of the road was thick, at times interfering with our ability to see what was in the road (elk, deer, rabbits, etc). Moral of the story- don’t leave the Grand Canyon at night.
I was on the phone with Xanterra right when they opened and they agreed, after much cajoling, yelling and talking up the chain, to let us come back anytime within the next year. They offered another lodge in the park, but we weren’t going that route again. A year later, we were ready to come back to the Grand Canyon.
We chose the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon in Tusayan. It is a mile from the park entrance and “nicer” than the lodges. We booked a sunset tour, instead of a Sunrise tour and it was worth it! The Grand Canyon is something everyone should see, no matter how long it takes you to get there.