Grand Canyon in December 

This past December, while in Las Vegas, we went on an overnight getaway from our Las Vegas getaway to the Grand Canyon.  A few days before we were scheduled to drive to the Grand Canyon, it snowed. We were worried that it would snow while we were driving there as we are not experienced snow drivers, but the weather was beautiful on our drive to the Arizona. It was cold and sunny.  Perfect weather for us Hilo visitors.

We left Las Vegas at around 10:30 a.m. and headed straight to the canyon. It was a pretty easy drive–especially since I was not the driver. We made it to Tusayan, right outside the Grand Canyon, around 3:30 p.m. We stopped at McDonald’s (kids were happy to connect to wifi) for a quick snack before heading into the national park.img_2664As we drove around, we noticed that it was very busy in the park. I did not expect to see crowds since I had read that winter is one of the slowest times of the year for the Grand Canyon. We found parking, made our way to the Thunderbird Lodge, and dropped our overnight bags in our partial canyon view room.  We loved being able to see the canyon from the window of our room. Right away, we headed to the canyon just a few feet away, right outside of our room to take in the grandeur that was before us.  Snow was on the ground, the weather was perfect, the sun was beginning to set, and the lighting was beautiful.

We explored the visitor center, lodges, and shops in our area.  Even after the sun went down and it was cold and dark, we continued to explore.img_2697My daughter enjoyed her time in the snow. We had reservations for dinner at the El Tovar dining room. We had high hopes for a delicious dinner.

The service was fine and the ambiance was pleasant, but we all felt that the food was just ok. I think that the next time we visit the canyon, we will be trying another restaurant for dinner.img_2708The next day, we got up early and looked outside our window and we watched for signs of the sun coming up. We got dressed and my son jogged and I “wogged” from the Thunderbird Lodge to the main visitor center–about two miles.  (Since my son is still training for his running events, he ran faster and much farther than I did.) We enjoyed the views and saw a few other people getting in some exercise.  Most of the people we saw were bundled up and walking rather than jogging since it was in the 30-degree range. Since I was being active, athletic leggings, a long sleeve shirt, and a light jacket were just right, even in the chilly weather.img_2755We did have to watch out for the slippery, icy sections of the path. After hanging out at the main visitor center, we caught the shuttle bus from the main visitor center back to the Thunderbird Lodge and got ready to check out of our room and drive back to Las Vegas.img_2682On our way back, we stopped to check out the amazing Hoover Dam.

It was too late to take a tour of the dam, but we were at least able to walk and admire the awesome view.img_2812Before our final stop at our Las Vegas hotel, we stopped in Henderson and visited with my brother and his family. We met at Island Sushi and Grill and had a nice time together. It was my first time to Island Sushi and Grill, a restaurant that has Hilo connections.

Hilo boy Randy Hatada who is married to one of my dear former students is one of the owners of the restaurant and I was happy to have had the chance to eat there. I think Randy and Teri Jaye were visiting Hilo while I was visiting their restaurant in Las Vegas.

What a great adventure we had.  The next time we go to the Grand Canyon, we would like to stay there for at least two nights so that we can have a full day and do an awesome hike into the canyon. If you have tips for making my next trip to the Grand Canyon awesome, please send them my way!


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