Alicia Anderson shares her recent Grand Canyon vacation.
A visit to the Grand Canyon offers a diverse and rich vacation experience with unlimited chances to explore. I was lucky enough to have shared this great adventure with my friend Will before he says ‘good-bye’ to Los Angeles to start his work internship in San Francisco. Coming from Los Angeles, we had several options to do this trip. We could drive (500 miles) to the Grand Canyon National Park, we could fly into Flagstaff, AZ, and rent a car to drive to the Grand Canyon, or we could drive to Las Vegas, spend a couple of days in Sin City and then continue our trip from there. We decided to fly into Flagstaff, rent a car, and drive to the South Rim Grand Canyon. We booked early since Grand Canyon tours are very popular and sell out quickly. We treated ourselves to a 7-day whitewater rafting adventure.
The interesting part about our trip was that we made it a point to ignore our cell phones while on vacation. In fact, I often deliberately pick places with really bad cell phone reception. I like to get away from it all, far away, physically and mentally.
I recently read that fewer and fewer workers manage to do that. Consider: A 2012 survey of 1,094 full-time employees revealed that 52% of employed Americans anticipated to work during their vacations. This year, the figure is at 61%. Of those, about 40% said they’d be anticipating phone calls and texts from the office, and reading work-related emails. Not exactly a vacation.
Whenever I go on a relaxing vacation the first couple of days are hard. But after the initial withdrawal from the digital world, life feels great and peaceful. There’s no phone or distraction that enables me to stop what I’m doing and shift my focus. I suddenly become aware of everything around me.
iPhone-less free, our adventure began at 5:30 a.m. with a nearly 10 mile hike down the Bright Angel Trail. The Grand Canyon hike was long and strenuous. It took nearly six hours. You need to be in good physical condition since the extra weight of your daypack significantly increases the stress and amount of effort exerted. We met at the river and then climbed in our boats to immediately conquer some of the biggest whitewater. We had no set itinerary, but some of our rafting adventures included a 100-foot drop and the blue-green pools of Havasu Canyon. On our way we were mesmerized by the rock formations and majestic colors of the canyon as we floated through this breathtakingly beautiful landscape. We traveled in a 17-foot hard-hulled boat that held up to four passengers. These handcrafted vessels were elegant and provided a responsive and exciting ride. The intensity of all rapids depends on the water level. Our last night was spent camping in the Hurricane fault zone before we headed to Diamond Creek.
Each day we hiked along the river. On an average we spent four hours rafting, the remainder of the time exploring and hiking the canyon, eating, or relaxing back at camp. Some hikes are more strenuous than others, but all are optional and you can opt to relax and read a novel instead.
River rafting is quite an experience, but this has exceeded all my expectations. The canyon is simply breathtaking. Images and movies can never live up to the real deal. The bottom line is that you can travel the world and live a nomad lifestyle; however, if you still have a smart phone in your hand, you’ve escaped nothing.
Now it’s up to you to ditch your phone while on vacation. The Grand Canyon is calling – will you asnwer?