Better than the real thing, baby
It's odd, but despite its wonder-of-the-world status, I'd never felt a particular pull to visit the Grand Canyon. I think I feared its very grandness. I'm partly talking the 277 mile length and the 10 mile width that make it one of the biggest tourist magnets around. But also the fact that its sheer immensity makes it hard to absorb as a mere visitor. Just as the Paris of Vegas is better than the real thing (see DJ's earlier blog posting), so too is the GC of coffee table books. Somehow those stupendous views need the arbitrary frame of a camera lens to become fathomable. To this tired Mom at least. Luckily the wonders of digital photography and DJ's click-happy finger mean we have our own photo library of images to help me compute the canyon's vastness.
This being America, I was also a bit worried that the canyon, which celebrated its 90th birthday as a national park on Thursday, might have been Disneyfied. And there was something of the national-park-as-theme-park about the place: that you could drive the length of the rim taking in the vistas from the numerous viewpoints without ever leaving your SUV made it a little like the Great Outdoors for the physically challenged. (Overheard in one car park: large American man says to equally large American wife, "Just one more in-and-out and we're done.") But for stroller toting parents, the GC was fabulous. A wide, paved pathway along the rim edge made it the perfect baby-friendly destination. Who knew?