In my opinion, there is no doubt that Thelma & Louise is a great movie and the fact that it stars a young (and seriously gorgeous) Brad Pitt makes it pretty unforgettable. But the most memorable scene from the movie comes at the end when Thelma and Louise, not wanting to get caught, decide to ‘keep going’ and leave a posse of police in a cloud of dust as they drive their green Ford Thunderbird into the Grand Canyon while holding hands and smiling. Ever since watching that scene, well over a decade ago, I’ve wanted to see the Grand Canyon and finally, a few weeks ago, I ticked that item off my bucket list.
We flew into Phoenix, rented a car and set off early on Saturday morning for the Grand Canyon National Park. A number of people had recommended that we stop in Sedona, which is famous for the red-rock formations that surround it, on our way to (or from) the Grand Canyon National Park so we made a detour and stopped at Creekside for breakfast. As we were leaving, my husband spotted a sign that read ‘We Rent Fun’ with a space age looking three wheel vehicle parked in front. Having had quite enough of driving the boring rental car I had arranged (you see, when it comes to cars, for me cost efficiency and practicality are key but for my husband it’s more about speed and sound) and being suitably impressed with the specs, my husband rented the Polaris Slingshot. After spending most of the afternoon speeding around Sedona admiring all of the red-rock formations, driving up what we were told is one of the best driving roads in the US (the 89A alongside Oak Creek and up towards Oak Creek Canyon) and stopping at Indian Gardens for a late lunch and drink, we got back in the boring rental car and ‘put foot’ hoping to make it to the Grand Canyon before sunset.
We stayed at Yavapai Lodge, which is nothing special, but it is located inside the Grand Canyon National Park and steps from the South Rim. As we walked towards the rim (beer and wine in hand ready for sundowners), I literally got goosebumps. Given its sheer size, you expect to be able to see the Grand Canyon from miles away but it’s not until you’re a few feet from the rim and can see over the edge that you truly understand what all the fuss is about – it is immense and completely out of this world! The first person to have stumbled across the Grand Canyon must have thought that they feel off the edge of the world and landed on another planet.
As expected, there were plenty of people taking in the views but thanks to the advice of the friendly gentleman at the check in desk, we knew exactly where to find the best seats for sunset – a secluded spot just off the beaten track and right on the edge of the rim. We sat at the edge of the rim for hours chatting and laughing and watching the sun sink and light up the canyon and the rain fall in the distance over different parts of the canyon. As the sky changed color so did the canyon (from red to blue and everything in between) which made it feel as if the canyon itself was alive. Unfortunately our photography skills are not nearly good enough to truly capture the magic of this place or the sunset but it was by far one of the most incredible sunsets I have ever seen and generally just one of the most memorable evenings.
We finally ran out of beer and wine and so decided to head back for dinner. Unfortunately though, we couldn’t find anywhere for a nice meal so grabbed some cheese and (more) wine and had a relaxing evening.
The next morning we woke up bright and early wanting to catch sunrise. This time the recommendation of the friendly gentleman at the check in desk let us down as the preferred spot for sunrise, the Yavapai Point and Geology Museum, was teaming with tourists all trying to get the best view. It was also freezing (and exceptionally early) so we stayed just long enough to catch a glimpse of the sun above the canyon before deciding to climb back into bed for a few hours and then starting our journey back home.