Biking at the Grand Canyon

At Sunday I get up and start driving around 4am again. I don’t feel like leaving here yet, but I want to be at the Grand Canyon before the crowds get there and it’s about two hours driving from Sedona. Just as on any road trip, there are drives to get somewhere and there are drives on which you really enjoy the ride. This morning is one of the latter and I’m really taking in the moments. I’m thankful that I can be here in this beautiful country. I’m driving with some relaxed music on while I enjoy the scenery. Slowly, but steady it gets light outside and when I’m at a perfect spot with a wide view of the mountains the sun comes up. It’s a perfect drive this morning and I think to myself how moments like these make the long workdays of the past year totally worth it.
When I arrive at the Grand Canyon there is still no one at the gates and no lines, so I can continue driving into the park without waiting. Better than last year when there were long lines of cars entering the park. I want to ride a bicycle today at the Grand Canyon, something I haven’t done before. The bike rental place opens at 8am, so I still have enough time for a relaxed breakfast and to apply sunscreen. It promises to be a hot day again. Just before eight o’clock I get my bike and ride to west side of the canyon. The biking path starts easy, but quickly turn into several hills to climb and go down from. It’s a good workout and I’m happy that I’m so early here, because it’s not too hot yet. I stop at several points to be mesmerized by the amazing views of the canyon. Biking here is a new and different experience than just walking along the rim, because it’s easier to go a lot further. It’s a great way to see more. After about three hours I’m back at the center. Even though I have the bike available for two more hours, I decide to return it now, because it gets way too hot outside. I drive to one of the lodges I know from previous trips to get a snack and a cold drink and enjoy some reading time. There are many rocking chairs and two swing benches, a perfect place to relax.
Since it’s about 37° Celsius / 100° Fahrenheit outside, I’m not gonna do many active things anymore and decide to continue driving in the direction of Telluride, Colorado where I’m meeting a travel friend Ana whom I know from a previous road trip. We’re planning to celebrate the 4th of July together. I make a few more stops at viewing points while driving to the east entrance of the park. Of course a visit to the Grand Canyon is not complete for me without sitting at the edge for a moment and I’m lucky that there is another cool guy named Shaun who wants to take some pictures.
After I leave the Grand Canyon, I take a scenic route via Monument Valley, a famous view that can be seen in many western movies. It’s nice to drive in an area that I often see on pictures on social media and stop to take some pictures myself as well.
When I see that I’m getting closer to Colorado I call Ana to ask if it’s okay if I arrive a day earlier and she replies happily that that is fine and tells me that two more friends are coming. The last two hours of the drive the landscape changes dramatically and the red rocks of Arizona are exchanged by the green mountains of Colorado. When I’m close to Telluride the mountain views are very impressive. They call this area the Switzerland of Colorado and indeed it reminds me of the Alps in Europa. Just before it’s dark I arrive at my friend’s house and it’s great to see each other again after five years. She hasn’t changed a bit and even still has the same car in which she lived for many years. Now she has a house to stay at, which is also nice for a change of course. We catch up a bit and then I’m going to sleep, because I’m tired from the long drive. In just four days I’ve already driven 1250 miles / 2000 kilometers and I’m a bit ahead of schedule which I like. Tomorrow Ana has got to work so I might also do some work and discover the town of Telluride by myself. The ride has gone quite fast so far, but I’m making sure to enjoy the moments fully and I’m happy with all the great experiences I’m having.


Riding the Grand Canyon train

It’s nice to sleep in a bed and have a shower again. I don’t sleep in though, because I’ve got some work to do this morning. I wake up early to work and hope I’ll have time to also hit the gym. Unfortunately when I’m finished with the things I had to do, it’s time for breakfast already. I pack my bags and walk to the same restaurant as last night. There is a big breakfast buffet with yoghurt, fruit, pancakes, eggs and bacon and a lot more. I eat it all in that order and talk with some people.

After breakfast it’s time to go outside where there is a cowboy show before we get on the train. It’s very funny and we laugh a lot. Just before I get on the train I run back to my car to exchange my shorts for my jeans, because it’s much colder today. I run back to the train and go aboard.


Back at the Grand Canyon

In Arizona it’s one hour earlier, so I wake up somewhere in the middle of the night again. I try to go back to sleep, but I can’t and so I get dressed and start driving. Driving at night is peaceful, because you’re alone at the road. You also have to stay alert though, for deer and other animals. After about three hours driving I arrive at the Grand Canyon. For a moment I’m afraid that my expectations are so high from the last time that it might disappoint, but that is absolutely not the case. As soon as I see the canyon, I’m blown away again. The view of the Grand Canyon is so spectacular, you have to see it yourself.

When I arrive at the first view point there is only one guy there. His name is Mike and he came here hitchhiking. We talk with each other and then get the idea to do some rock climbing to the edge. Of course we are very careful.