Homeschooling on the Road-Grand CanyonJul 11th, 2009 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Homeschooling Road Trip 2009
Instead, we drove through green meadows that stretched peacefully to a forest of both evergreen and deciduous trees. We longed to stop and hike across the meadows and into the trees to see what lay behind, but the anticipation of the canyon drove us on.
When we arrived, the girls were disappointed that they could not see the river from the edge of the parking lot. They stood as close to the edge as they dared and strained to see the bottom but saw only canyon walls. As we hiked along the edge, we tried to provide some perspective on just how deep one mile looks (not realizing that we were looking over a part of the canyon where we would not see the river anyway) and how many miles across the various widths can be.
From the North Rim, the views are incredible. You can see far across the canyon in all directions and the different color lines of canyon walls is amazing. Because the older two girls were feeling sick, we hiked a short trail called Bright Angel Point Trail, which led out to a spectacular overlook with views of both the Transept and Bright Angel canyons. We could faintly hear the roar of the Roaring Springs, which are apparently the water source for both the South and North Rims of the canyon. Unfortunately, we could not see the springs nor the river from our vantage point but the views were incredible.
My daring husband followed a few hikers up to the top of rock outcropping that rose above the trail and dropped off on all four sides. I was unable to capture the picture from where I stood, but we were fortunate to meet a man who had snapped a photo while he was standing at the top of the world. What a gorgeous view!
From the point, we gazed out over the canyon and hypothesized about just how it was really formed. I was impressed with the girls creativity and application of all of the things we had already discussed in other parks along the way. As we talked we saw what we think was a California Condor fly overhead just a short stone’s throw from where we stood! Once again our camera just did not do the work for us, but our new photographer friend sent us a copy of the shots he took.
From the North Rim, you can actually hike to the bottom of the canyon and stay at the Phantom Ridge for the night before heading back out the next day. Although we were game to do it, there were no vacancies at Phantom Ridge and we were not equipped with camping equipment that we could carry on our backs (our only other option). Although the adults were disappointed, the girls were relieved. Perhaps another time.
We spent only about 9 hours at the canyon but enjoyed the views and the fact that there it was not packed with people. Although I have never seen the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I am convinced that the combination of the beautiful drive, the green forest and the gorgeous views could not possibly be better from the more desert-like side.
If we visit here again, we will bring a four-wheel drive and venture into the undeveloped and remote Toroweap Overlook.
But for now, our hiking and camping adventure has come to a close. We will travel to San Diego to visit with family, then head home for the rest of the summer. All in all, it has been a wonderful trip. Amazing to spend 24/7 with all of us together and to enjoy the dynamics of Dad and his adventurous spirit all day every day. What fun we could have all year long if this could be our routine.
Whether you are a homeschooler or a family looking for an extended vacation idea, I highly recommend a road trip through God’s incredible creation. My only regret–not having a week to spend at every stop.