Toronto – Ontario Road Trip 2009 (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Ontario 2009

This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In 2009, Ken and I took a week long road trip to Ontario, Canada. We drove from our home in Northern Virginia to Niagara Falls, where we spent four nights, followed by three nights in Toronto.

After our time in Niagara Falls, we drove about 80 miles to Toronto, where we planned to spend three nights.

Floral Clock

But, on the way, we made two stops. First was a relatively quick stop at the Floral Clock. It’s a working clock that is surrounded by flowers and other greenery. It was pretty cool, and worth the stop, especially since it was on the way.

Floral clock near Niagara Falls Clock on the way to Toronoto

Riverside Cellars

Our second stop on the drive from Niagara Falls was at a winery. I had learned that Ontario had great wine country! There were many options to try, but we opted for a wine tasting and vineyard tour at Riverview Estate.

Front of Riverview Cellars Winery in Niagara Falls

The tour was fantastic. I learned a lot about the winemaking process, and how Ontario’s famous “Ice Wine” is made.

Riverview Vineyard tour Wine barrels at Riverview Estates Winery Wine making equipment on winery tour in Niagara Falls | Riverview Estate Vineyard at Riverview Cellars | Winery near Niagara Falls Grapes on the vines at winery tour

Inside, the tasting was lovely, and it was accompanied by crackers, cheese, and fruit.

Wine tasting at Riverview Cellars Wine and cheese tasting near Niagara Falls Wines for sale in Niagara Falls

We even got to taste Ice Wine, which is so exceptionally sweet! We purchased a few bottles of wine (including one Ice Wine bottle), and we continued our drive to Toronto.

Ice Wine tasting

CN Tower in Toronto

Our first stop in Toronto was the CN Tower.. I had been there once before when I was just 13 or 14. And my goodness is it a tall structure!

CN Tower in Toronto from Highway CN Tower CN Tower in Toronto

The views of Toronto from the tower observation decks are truly phenomenal!

View of Toronto from CN Tower View of Toronto from CN Tower View of Toronto from CN Tower

We walked around the Observation Deck for quite a while.

Inside the observation deck at the CN Tower

We eventually meandered over to the Glass Floor. Now, I remember being terrified of standing on that floor when I was 13 or 14, but I eventually worked up the courage. It didn’t take Ken nearly as long!

Glass floor at CN Tower Glass floor at CN Tower

But eventually I convinced myself to stand on it for a few seconds. I realize that there’s no risk of the floor breaking, it’s more just the weird sensation of standing on something so clear and being able to see straight down. It makes my stomach do flip flops!

Standing on the glass floor at CN Tower

Then we took another elevator to the “Sky Pod,” an even higher observation deck, 147 stories in the air! It was close and cramped, much like the 102nd floor option at the Empire State Building that we saw in 2013.

Skypod at CN Tower

The windows were smaller, but it was insane to see the tiny “dots” of buildings beneath us from so high up in the air!

People taking photographs in the skypod Windows in Skypod at CN Tower View of Toronto from CN Tower Skypod View from top deck of CN Tower Skypod at CN Tower View of water from CN Tower

Steam Whistle Brewery Tour

After the CN Tower and a quick lunch, we walked to the nearby Steam Whistle Brewery for a tour. I had never been on a brewery tour, so I was pretty excited!

Steam Whistle sign

But first, of cours, I had a few tastes!

Steam whistle tasting Tasting Steam Whistle Beer before tour

The actual tour was very informative and the guide was fantastic. We were able to see so many of the steps of brewing a commercial beer!

Steam Whistle Brewery Tour Steam Whistle Brewery Tour Steam Whistle Brewery Tour Steam Whistle Brewery Tour So many kegs of beer! Boxes of Steam Whistle Beer

And also very fun was the ingredients for beer set out on a table, so we could smell the individual ingredients to see how they each make up beer!

Beer ingredients on table during Steam Whistle Brewery tour in Toronto

Ferry Boat to Centre Island

Another stop for us in Toronto was Centre Island. It was gorgeous, but wow, was it empty. I guess not many folks go there in October. It wasn’t terribly cold or anything, but I’m guessing it must be just a bigger summer destination.

The ferry ride to Centre Island gave fantastic views of the Toronto skyline.

Views of Toronto skyline from ferry to Centre Island

There were stunning parts of Centre Island, like these:

Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto

And then there were times that the area just seemed so empty, like it was abandoned or something! But really, we found it charming and peaceful!

Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto Centre Island Toronto

We planned on having one more full day in Toronto, but the next day, it was just pouring down rain, and it was forecast to continue to rain the rest of the day. So, we called the hotel front desk, and were were able to check out a day early, penalty free.

We began our long drive home to Northern Virginia. Luckily the rain subsided as drove farther south.

Rainy drive in Ontario

We had a blast on our Ontario Road Trip! Have you been to Niagara Falls or Toronto? What did you think?


Niagara Falls 2009 (Ontario Road Trip), Part 2 – Blast from the Past

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Ontario 2009

This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In 2009, Ken and I took a week long road trip to Ontario, Canada. We drove from our home in Northern Virginia to Niagara Falls, where we spent four nights, followed by three nights in Toronto.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour

When researching what to do in Niagara Falls, I came across this tour. Ken and I opted for the tamer “covered” boat rapids tour, mostly because it was October and the weather was already quite cool in Ontario. Some of the reviews mentioned that you sit essentially hip deep in water after going through the rapids, and that sounded pretty chilly! At the time, we also didn’t have a waterproof camera, and we wanted to get some decent shots of the rapids.

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour (covered boat)

The pictures just can’t convey how cool this tour was. The boat windows would open during the tamer parts of the river, and then close when going through the rapids. This boat ride was truly fantastic!

View from closed windows on Whirlpool Jet tour in Niagara Falls View of a Lewiston Queenston during Whirlpool Jet boat tour

We were all given headsets to wear so we could hear the guide explain the surroundings, as well as hear guidance when entering a rapid.

Ken wearing headset on boat tour View of Rapids from Whirlpoll Jet Boat tour View of Rapids from Whirlpoll Jet Boat tour

In addition to going through the rapids, the boat did some other fun maneuvers, which resulted in a lot of splashing water up on the sides.

Whirlpool Jet boat tour

And, along the boat ride, you also got to see very cool sights, like bridges, dams, and lighthouses.

Lighthouse as seen from Whirlpool jet boat tour t Scenes along river during boat tour

This is definitely something we recommend if you visit the Niagara Falls area!

Niagara on the Lake

The area that the boat tour departed from was called Niagara on the Lake. Before the tour, we enjoyed the sights and walked around, and then we enjoyed a lovely lunch afterwards. Niagara on the Lake was incredibly picturesque!

Niagara on the Lake Niagara on the Lake Niagara on the Lake

And there was a huge Christmas store in Niagara on the Lake. As Ken can attest, I am a huge sucker for Christmas stores. I bought several Christmas ornaments from that store, both for us and our families!

Christmas store in Niagara on the Lake

White Water Walk

We also visited White Water Walk, an area not far from the actual falls. It is a path and platform along the Ontario River that you can walk along and take in the gorgeous sights!

Platform at White Water Walk in Niagara Falls White Water walk in Niagara Falls View of River from white water walk White Water Walk in Niagara Falls White Water Walk in Niagara Falls White Water Walk in Niagara Falls White Water Walk in Niagara Falls

White Water Walk was also home to a nasty gum wall. I wonder how often they clean this off?

Gum wall at White Water Walk

Walking along the Falls “path” on the Canadian side

There are so many fantastic views of the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side. We spent lots of time walking the pedestrian path viewpoints.

View from the top of Horseshoe Falls Rainbow at Horseshoe Falls

About one minute after the following photo photo, Ken’s camera just stopped working. Completely. Wouldn’t turn on or anything. We figured it had gotten too wet on the Maid of the Mist and Journey behind the falls. (This was only like the second day of our trip). Later that night we drove back to the American side to buy a new one since all hope seemed to be lost. But luckily the next morning, it started working again and lasted the whole rest of the trip!

Ken taking pictures at top of HOrseshoe Falls View of the Maid of the Mist boat from the Canadian side Ken and I at Niagara Falls Flowers in foreground near Niagara Falls

Skywheel and Around Clifton Hill

A few months ago, I was reading a thread on Reddit about disappointing travel destinations. Niagara Falls was mentioned a few times as being tacky and overly touristy. So, about that thread, maybe I just have low standards, but I disagreed with pretty much every posting about a city/place I had familiarity with. Seriously, how could anybody find the Giza Pyramids disappointing?

Anyway, I will warn you, that the Clifton Hill area of Niagara Falls is quite touristy and tacky. Does that mean you shouldn’t visit it? No, of course not!

Clifton Hill sign at Niagara Falls Skywheel at night at Niagara Falls Clifton Hill area at night at Niagara Falls Clifton Hill

We did take a skywheel ride. I will say that it was fairly overpriced for what it was, but it did give some decent, even higher views of the falls. Plus we had the entire compartment to ourselves.

Niagara Falls Ferris Wheel | Skywheel Skywheel at Niagara Falls View of American Falls from Skywheel View of Horseshoe Falls from Skywheel

And, in case you needed a reminder about appropriate behavior on the Skywheel:

Funny sign on skywheel.

That was it for our time in Niagara Falls! We headed out for Toronto the next morning!


Niagara Falls 2009 (Ontario Road Trip) – Blast from the Past Post

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Ontario 2009

This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In 2009, Ken and I took a week long road trip to Ontario, Canada. We drove from our home in Northern Virginia to Niagara Falls, where we spent four nights, followed by three nights in Toronto. This post covers part 1 of our trip to Niagara Falls!


We left our home in Northern Virginia and began our drive to Niagara Falls. We attempted to avoid interstates and drive some “scenic” roads. We thought there might be some lovely fall foliage since it was early October. And we were right!

Fall foliage on our drive up to Niagara Falls

We crossed into Canada via the Peace Bridge near Buffalo, NY. The line was pretty long to get into Canada, although this may be more streamlined now. This was still fairly close to the time when passports became required to cross into Canada. (And there are other options now too, like Passport Cards).

Crossing into Canada

By the time we arrived in Niagara Falls, it was late evening, and we checked into our hotel, grabbed some dinner, and rested after our long drive. By the way, we stayed at the Sheraton on the Falls. We had some fantastic views from our hotel room!

View from the Sheraton on the Falls View from our hotel room at Sheraton on the Falls View of Rainbow Bridge from Sheraton on the Falls

Maid of the Mist

We started our Niagara Falls trip in classic fashion. The Maid of the Mist. I had been to Niagara Falls a couple of times when I was a kid, but we never went on the Maid of the Mist. Ken went to Niagara Falls as a toddler, and actually has home movie-film footage of him crying his eyes out on the Maid of the Mist. To be fair, it is quite loud and wet!

Maid of the Mist sign

As you stood in line to board the boat, everybody looked the same in their blue ponchos!

People wearing blue ponchos waiting in line for the Maid of the Mist

Even standing in line, there was some lovely scenery of the dock area along the Niagara River!

View of the Niagara River while waiting in line for the Maid of the Mist View of the Niagara River while waiting in line for the Maid of the Mist

We boarded the Maid of the Mist and we were on our way!

American Falls from the Maid of the Mist Getting up close to the American Falls

It was getting difficult to see with all the, well, mist! So we just kind of held up our cameras, snapped photos, and hoped for the best! We got some close up photos of the base of the American Falls. The birds certainly didn’t seem to mind the mist!

Birds standing at the base of the American Falls Base of the American Falls Base of the American Falls

From the Maid of the Mist, we also saw people on the platforms for something called “Cave of the Winds” We’d do that a few days later!

People at Cave of the Winds as seen from the Maid of the Mist

The rest of the boat ride to the Horseshoe Falls (also called the Canadian side), was wet, loud, and amazing!

Riding the Maid of the Mist Riding the Maid of the Mist Riding the Maid of the Mist Riding the Maid of the Mist

Even with our ponchos, we were soaked!

Ken and I on the Maid of the Mist

And with that, the Maid of the Mist turned around and we were docked!

End of the maid of the mist ride - at the dock

Journey Behind the Falls

After drying off from the Maid of the Mist, we just got soaked all over again at Journey Behind the Falls. We bought our tickets, took the elevator down the base of Horseshoe Falls 13 stories below, and walked “behind” the falls!

View of Horseshoe Falls from Journey behind the falls

There were cave-like tunnels connecting the different lookout points, and there were some small areas to get a view of the water coming down in front of you.

Tunnel view of Horseshoe Falls from Journey Behind the Falls

 

Tunnel view of Horseshoe Falls from Journey Behind the Falls

It was wet! Mostly from the falls, but also because it was a fairly overcast and rainy day too!

Journey Behind the Falls Journey Behind the Falls Journey Behind the Falls Journey Behind the Falls

Journey Behind the Falls gets mixed reviews online, and I’m not sure why! I thought it was fantastic, and relatively reasonably priced compared to other attractions in Niagara Falls.

Views of Niagara Falls at Night

Niagara Falls lights up in stunning fashion at night! We walked around with our tripod for a long time taking some shots of Niagara Falls!

View of Niagara Falls (American Falls) at night View of Niagara Falls (American Falls) at night View of Niagara Falls (American Falls) at night View of Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, at night View of Niagara Falls (American Falls) at night Ken and I at Niagara Falls at Night

Cave of the Winds and the American Side of Niagara Falls

Cave of the Winds is on the American side of the falls (meaning we had to cross the border), and gives you the opportunity to view the view the American Falls at the base! We also walked around top of the Falls!

View of the American Falls View of the American Falls

There is an elevator you can take to the base (different from Cave of the Winds), which we did. We’re not sure how we missed them handing out ponchos!

Base of elevator you can take to the bottom of the American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls

Once again, we were soaked. Are you sensing a theme from this trip at all?

Ken and I at base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls Walking around the base of American Falls

Next, we made our way to Cave of the Winds. Not only were we provided ponchos this time, but sandals also!

Sandals provided at Cave of the Winds Ken in his poncho at Cave of the Winds

Cave of the Winds consists of a number of wooden platforms right next to the American Falls. You can get so up close!

Cave of the Winds - Niagara Falls Cave of the Winds - Niagara Falls Cave of the Winds - Niagara Falls Cave of the Winds - Niagara Falls

Water sloshes over the sides, and the constant moisture makes the steps kinda grimy!

Water coming over platforms at Cave of the Winds Green grime on platforms at Cave of the Winds

I was happy to have the sandals! But man, that water was COLD!

Wearing sandals on a cold day at Cave of the Winds View of the Base of the American Falls from Cave of the Winds

Just in case you could manage to light a cigarette in the insanely wet and windy conditions, just remember, no smoking!

No smoking sign at Cave of the Winds

The “Hurricane Deck” is kind of the grand finale of your walk. I think it gets you closest to the falls. It is crazy fun! Again it’s one of those, “I can’t see anything, so I’m just going to hold up my camera and hope for the best!” spots.

Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds

After we were done at Cave of the Winds, I took this picture of my jeans. I was soaked. You can see the wet/dry line. I definitely recommend wearing some sort of weatherproof pants, or bringing your own heavy duty poncho.

Wet jeans after Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls

Wearing wet clothes is a huge annoyance to me. Seriously, I was one of those kids that would bring three changes of clothes to an amusement park in case I got wet on a ride. I checked the gift shop after Cave of the Winds, but they didn’t have a single pair of sweatpants or any other type of pant that I could buy. So, we just walked around for a little bit more until I started whining enough to go back to the hotel so I could change my clothes.

Here are some photos looking from the top of the American falls down onto the Cave of the Winds platforms.

View of Cave of the Winds from the top of the American Falls View of Cave of the Winds from the top of the American Falls View of Cave of the Winds from the top of the American Falls

And we just took a few additional photos from the American side.

American Side of Niagara Falls American Side of Niagara Falls American Side of Niagara Falls

Whew, we did a lot more in Niagara Falls than I remember! There’s more, so I guess I’ll split this into a two-part series! I’ll post about part two of our trip to Niagara Falls next week!


Las Vegas, NV – Southwest USA Road Trip (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Southwest USA Road Trip 2012


This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In October 2012, Ken and I took a two week road trip around the Southwestern United States.  We flew to Albuquerque, NM and then drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico >Canyon de Chelly, Arizona > Moab, Utah > Monument Valley, Utah > Lake Powell, Arizona > Grand Canyon (South Rim) > Las Vegas

We ended our Southwest USA Road Trip in Las Vegas, NV. It was pretty crazy. Since leaving Albuquerque about 10 days earlier, we constantly felt like we were in “the middle of nowhere.” Alien landscapes of the Southwestern USA, two lane roads, and charming small towns. And then BOOM. Civilization. Vegas.

Las Vegas is literally one of my favorite vacation destinations in the entire world. This was Ken and I’s third visit to Vegas in recent years. Once in 2008 (Ken’s first trip ever to Vegas!) and once in 2011 for our minimoon. Since we’d only be in Vegas for one night, and since we had just been there less than a year earlier, we weren’t planning on doing much, and that’s how it worked out.

Outside the Mirage in Las Vegas

We stayed at the Mirage, and after getting checked in, we went to the Lobby to see if there were any tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s performance of “Love” (A Beatles music performance). Love’s theater is at the Mirage, and since we were guests there, we got to bypass the LONG lines at the ticket office and got priority seating and a discount for a show that was starting in just a few hours. Score!

Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show

We’ve now seen three Cirque du Soleil show’s in Vegas: Ka, O, and Love. And I really think that Love had been my favorite!

Lobby of Love Theater at Mirage

The next day, we just walked up and down the Strip a bit, and stopped by the Bellagio. I love visiting the Conservatory at the Bellagio. They change it nearly every month! It was decked out in autumn scenes.

Conservatory at the Bellagio Conservatory at the Bellagio Conservatory at the Bellagio

And that was pretty much it! Our flight was leaving in the afternoon, so we walked back to the Mirage, organized all our belongings from our two week road trip, and headed to the airport.

When we returned the rental car, I snapped a photograph of our mileage. We drove 1656.1 miles in the past two weeks. Not too shabby!

Southwestern USA road trip mileage driven

Grand Canyon – Southwest USA Road Trip (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Southwest USA Road Trip 2012


This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.  

In October 2012, Ken and I took a two week road trip around the Southwestern United States.  We flew to Albuquerque, NM and then drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico >Canyon de Chelly, Arizona > Moab, Utah > Monument Valley, Utah > Lake Powell, Arizona > Grand Canyon (South Rim).

The last “big” stop of our Southwest USA Road Trip was the Grand Canyon. Our trip would officially end with one night in Las Vegas, but since we’d both been there twice in the last several years, we weren’t planning on much for our one night there.

We stayed on Grand Canyon property for all three nights. Specifically, we stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge, which I had booked nearly a year in advance. If you want to stay within the Grand Canyon grounds, you MUST book far in advance! By the time I had booked, the El Tovar, the hotel I preferred, was already completely sold out! I was actually quite impressed by the Thunderbird Lodge though, and we even had a partial canyon view!

View from Thunderbird Lodge at Grand Canyon Thunderbird Lodge - Grand Canyon Hotels

On our first evening, we walked around the South Rim, near the hotels.

Sunset at the Grand Canyon Folks standing near the edge of the grand canyon viewing cameras at the grand canyon

Later that evening, after we had gone to dinner at a neighboring Grand Canyon hotel, I had to go to our parked car to pick up a few things. As I walked back to the hotel, I looked up and said to myself, “Wow, I don’t remember seeing that elk (or whatever) statue when we first got here.” Then the damn thing MOVED. I yelped, not quietly, drawing the attention of folks down the walkway. I just calmly said, “Oops, sorry. Nothing to be concerned about. I was just startled by this GIANT ANIMAL.”  Nice going Melissa.  Being startled by nature WHILE IN NATURE.

Elk at Grand Canyon

Sunrise at the Grand Canyon

The next morning, we woke up early to enjoy sunrise at the Grand Canyon.

Sunrise at the Grand Canyon Sunrise at the Grand Canyon Sunrise at the Grand Canyon Sunrise at the Grand Canyon

South Rim Trail

After some breakfast, we started on a few of the very easy trail hikes on the South Rim. We took the Grand Canyon shuttle bus to Mather Point, and began the three mile hile back to Grand Canyon Village, where our hotel was.

Mather Point at the Grand Canyon View of the Grand Canyon from Mather Point

There were a few signs at Mather point telling visitors not to throw coins in the canyon.

Coins Can Kill - Grand Canyon

The next viewpoint on the trail was Yavapai Point.

Yavapai Point at the Grand Canyon View from Yavapai Point

At Yavapai point, there was an indoor science building explaining the history and geology of the canyon. There were also binoculars available for visitors to use.

Using binoculars at Yavapai point Graphical depictions of the Grand Canyon Graphical depictions of the Grand Canyon

Along the trail, there are pieces of stone and rock from each time period layer of the Grand Canyon. Here’s one of the newer ones at 1.190 million years old

Grand Canyon Supergroup Bass Limestone

Hermits Rest Trail

After our three mile easy hike along the South Rim Trail, we rested our legs at the hotel room, and then took a shuttle bus to the very end of the Hermit’s Rest Trail. We then took the shuttle to each lookout point along the trail. There is an option to hike the entire trail, but it is very long, and unfortunately we didn’t have the time.

View from Hermits Rest Trail at the Grand Canyon

Some folks liked getting really close to the edge. Ken and I were not among those people.

People standing close to edge of Hermits Rest Trail Lookout points along Hermits Rest Trail Lookout points along Hermits Rest Trail Lookout points along Hermits Rest Trail

At one of the lookouts along Hermits Rest, there were National Park Rangers investigating reports of individuals hunting or otherwise using guns inside the Canyon, which is a big no no. They were radioing down to Rangers stationed inside the Canyon once they pinpointed their location.

Park rangers at Grand Canyon Park Rangers looking for illegal activity at Grand Canyon

We finished up all the lookout points along Hermit’s Rest.

View of Grand Canyon from Hermits Rest trail lookout View of Grand Canyon from Hermits Rest trail lookout View of Grand Canyon from Hermits Rest trail lookout View of Grand Canyon from Hermits Rest trail lookout

We could even spot the Colorado river and some rapids all the way from the rim!

View of Colorado River from South Rim of Grand Canyon along Hermits Rest Trail View of Colorado River from South Rim of Grand Canyon along Hermits Rest Trail

After the slightly unnevering experience of seeing those giant elk in front of our hotel the night before, what did we see the next night when we went to the hotel next door to go to dinner. EVEN BIGGER ELK, this time males. Look at those antlers!

Elk at Grand Canyon Elk outside Thunderbird Lodge at Grand Canyon

When we went to dinner, we told the waiter about the sighting. He said that the Elk LOVE that grassy area in front of the Thunderbird Lodge, because it is one of the few irrigated areas along the canyon rim. So they love the refreshing watered grass!

Bright Angel Trail

The next day, we decided to try a small segment of the Bright Angel Trail. For those not familiar, Bright Angel Trail is one of the two trails that will take you all the way to the canyon floor. There are MANY signs warning you not to hike down and back in the same day. Our goal was the reach the first “rest house” and then turn around and hike back up to the rim. We didn’t make it to the rest house (we’re THAT out of shape), but it was still nice to descend into the Grand Canyon, even if just for a little bit.

Bright Angel Trail sign Instructions for what to do if you see a group on mules Hiking down the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon Hiking down the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon

And we spotted these fools way beyond the dangerous overlook sign.

Danger signs along Bright Angel Trail Danger signs along Bright Angel Trail

There are mule ride options down Bright Angel trail. Maybe on a future trip, we can do that!

XX

I must say, the trail was very well maintained, and there was very little to trip on, which is always a relief to my klutzy self! I’m not terribly afraid of heights, so the steep cliffs didn’t bother me too much, but it helped that the trail was nice and wide so you never had to get too close to the edge.

Ken hiking along the Bright Angel Trail

After we hiked back up to the rim, we basically took it easy the rest of the day. We always seem to peter out on the last one or two days of a vacation. We hit up some gift shops at the Grand Canyon, had some dinner, and that was it!

If you go to the Grand Canyon, I definitely recommend staying on Grand Canyon property! We literally went three full days without having to leave Grand Canyon grounds, which is a good thing, because it was probably a 20 mile drive just to EXIT the park. Everything you could possibly need is available at the Grand Canyon. Yes, there is a bit of a price premium, but it’s not that bad. Heck, even their bottled beers were six bucks, which is cheaper than you can get a beer at a restaurant here in the DC area! Restaurants, hotels, gift shops, and even a small grocery and general store is available.

Have you visited the Grand Canyon?  What did you think?