Are National Parks Overpopulated by Humans?
I have always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon since I was a little kid learning about the states in an elementary school classroom. Lance tried to manage my expectations leading up to it, and I tried to not get too excited. It was amazingly beautiful. I truly had never experienced the word “dizzying” before but looking down into the depths of the canyon made me wobbly.
We decided to see the town of Williams, Arizona, where Route 66 continued to from Albuquerque (Blog link here). We even went to where 66 crosses 66. You know, where Bugs Bunny always took the wrong turn? It is at Central Avenue and Fourth Street in downtown Albuquerque.
Grand Canyon Coffee and Café
We had a terrible experience with a restaurant giving us trouble for our service dog. So we went down the street to Grand Canyon Coffee and Café. We told the waitress, who happened to be the owner, about our experience and she was empathetic.
At the Grand Canyon Cafe, we had amazing food, great conversation, and will absolutely go back here if ever we are in Williams, Arizona again. This was the kind of café that locals frequented for breakfast. It had a very small town feeling where everybody knew everybody else and they were extremely friendly.
Grand Canyon Railway RV Park
The only reason we ended up staying at a campsite rather than boondocking was because of the snowstorm that hit. I would much rather plug in my electric fireplace than use all our battery power running the propane furnace. Passport America to the rescue!
Grand Canyon Railway RV Park is a great campground for train aficionados. You will get to hear them all night long. Initially, I thought the train was just a tourist attraction that took people up to the Grand Canyon. While that does happen, the tracks are shared with freight trains. Live and learn, right?
The Grand Canyon Brewery and Distillery was right across the street. We did venture over there to enjoy a delicious beer and appetizers.
Soak These Tired Bones
Since we boondock often, showers are quite the luxury. Not only did this campground have a bathhouse, but they also gave campers access to the hotel pool and hot tub across the street. I was beyond excited about this. I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I soaked in a hot tub. We called the hotel shuttle, which comes directly to your campsite, and off we went. When I happily skipped through the doors I saw the “Hot Tub Closed” sign. My heart sank. Lance laughed. It’s funny now, but at the time I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more than to thaw in hot water.
Lance had done his best to manage my expectations of the Grand Canyon National Park by telling me how crowded and commercialized it was. I tried to control my eagerness, but this has been a place on my bucket list since I was a little kid.
When we got there, I understood what he meant. It reminded me of the desert version of Whistler; a beautiful nature scape, completely overwhelmed by places to spend your money.
Yes, the Grand Canyon is beautiful. We went in late spring so there was a lot of greenery adding to the beautiful reds and browns of the canyon. And like Zion, we got there early in the morning; we have found this to be our best defense against crowds, get in early and leave before the tour buses arrive.
We drove around the park and I couldn’t wait to hop out at every turnout. Every single view if the canyon was amazing and I found myself in awe, staring for a long time taking it all in.
We did find that people were more than willing to take our picture and we returned the favor. We even got our favorite family picture below.
The fashion show that was happening at the Grand Canyon was a good one. Everybody was decked out in hundreds of dollar’s worth of REI/North Face/ “Insert catchy brand name here” gear and were judging me up and down for wearing my snowboarding coat, jeans, and hiking boots.
They were huffing and puffing as they walked up and down the trail and I was just fine. Thank you, to our amazing coach Benny. If you are looking to get fit or stay fit on the road, check him out on Instagram. We have also been working with Jordan of Gut Happy Mama on a nutrition plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road.
I did have fleece lined leggings to keep me warm, thanks to my sister. Lance loves the super sexy control top. Hahaha!
This excursion made me realize I have a hatred of popular attractions. I hadn’t noticed it so much before usually, I would just shrug and chalk people’s unawareness up to them being in a new place and being excited.
I believe that every American should spend time in our national parks. They are some of the most beautiful places our country has to offer. I am learning to take my patience with me and not let people bug me. I have also found that the less popular attractions are like hidden gems. Not many people flock to them so you really get to enjoy nature without tripping over other people. What is your favorite hidden nature gem? Please leave a comment below.
Are animals fleeing national parks due to the overpopulation of humans?