The Grand Canyon

I don't think I'll ever get tired of Craig's hat.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Craig’s hat.

One day in Vegas was enough for us, even though we spent 90% of that day in Red Rocks or sleeping. So, when we woke up, we packed our stuff and hit the road for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s a five-hour drive, but we stopped for a leisurely lunch as well as a coffee or two, so we arrived mid-afternoon.

We made the most of the remaining daylight by hiking along the rim until dusk. We managed to make it from Mather Point to the close end of the rim walk and back. We were staying in the park, but at the one hotel not directly located on the South Rim. The room was nice, but the heat didn’t work properly and the promised internet was actually located in a common room in a different building.

No problem. We were still jet-lagged, so we fell asleep shortly after dinner and woke up well before dawn. An hour later, we were at Mather Point ready to watch the sunrise. It was quite peaceful, with only a handful of people there, all silently waiting for the sun to come up. For about five minutes. Then, a tour bus disgorged a load of Koreans who quickly did their best to dispel the quiet as they pushed their way between the safety rails and those of us who had arrived before them, even the ones who had set up tripods. After about 30 seconds, we decided to move a few feet down the trail.

The calm before the storm, moments before being swarmed by Koreans.

The calm before the storm, moments before being swarmed by Koreans.

Korean tour buses, not just for Korean mountains anymore.

Korean tour buses, not just for Korean mountains anymore.

As is usual with Korean tour groups, they stayed together with only one or two following up to find a less crowded spot to enjoy the view. Later in the day, we saw them returning to their hotel, box lunches in hand. I wouldn’t be surprised if their itinerary for the day included the Hoover Dam and Vegas.

Anyway, we walked the South Rim from Mather Point to Hermit’s Rest. Between the two days, we walked the entire South Rim. Along the top, that is. We promised each other about a hundred times that we would be back to hike down to the floor and camp overnight.

We had planned to walk back, but the lure of the shuttle bus was too strong. We rode back to the Visitor Information Center, got some lunch, and were on the road back to LV before 2:00. We felt a little more pressed for time on the drive back, so we wouldn’t be on the road too late, but Craig couldn’t pass up a uniquely American experience along the way: firing a machine gun at a road side cafe.

A quick pit stop to fire off a few rounds, as you do.

A quick pit stop to fire off a few rounds, as you do.

That was that for Vegas. On the way back to Korea, I had about 12 hours in the city, so I was able to meet up with Aaron, a long-time listener of my podcast that I’ve had an online friendship with for a few years now. An awesome end to an amazing trip.

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