Into the Earth

Hiking the Grand Canyon with The World Outdoors is an experience I will never forget.

Into the Earth

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Stella on May 2, 2001

Hiking with The World Outdoors was the best way for me, a beginner hiker, to fully experience the canyon. Every flower you see suddenly has a story behind it and every rock, a challenge. ${QuickSuggestions} Be sure to train before any kind of adventure or active vacation. Just increasing your workout time or resistence should prepare you for the trails.${BestWay} Between the lodges and the main trails are free shuttle buses. These are a smart option for hikers and sightseers of all levels.

Once at the trailhead, hike as far down as you are prepared to go or, for children and inactive adults, enjoy the views from the railed lookouts.

Yavapai Lodge East

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Stella on May 3, 2001

The Yavapai Lodge is the largest in the Grand Canyon and a good choice if you are planning to stay for longer than a few days or do not have the equipment to camp. Take the Village Loop shuttle bus to Yavapai or The General Store (a great resource for last minute shopping). You’ll be dropped off in front of the main lodge, which houses the reception desk, cafeteria and gift shop.

The spacious rooms at Yavapai are very comfortable and clean. After a hike in the Grand Canyon you’ll either feel grateful for a hot shower and a soft bed or saddened to suddenly feel so separated from the nature around you…

One thing to keep in mind if you do like to take those hot showers- water conservation at the Canyon is a high priority. Try to re-use towels and use minimal amounts of water.

Breakfasts at the Yavapai lodge are an excellent choice. Choose from cereals, yogurt, scrambled eggs or omelettes, cinnamon buns and hot cereal. Sit in the room on the left of the cashier. Let the sunlight hit your face and wake you up a bit.

At night, take a walk over to the El Tovar hotel for dinner.

Yavapai Lodge/Grand Canyon National Park Lodges
1/2 mile From the Rim
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
(303) 297-2757

The Havasupai Lodge

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Stella on May 3, 2001

The Havasupai Lodge is located at the end of the Havasupai village, against the red rocks of the western Canyon. It is a log cabin with a barbecue and picnic tables to sit around while you enjoy a dish of grilled chicken or a star-filled sky. With local children and dogs running up to you, you’ll feel more than welcomed.

The rooms at Havasupai Lodge are simple; there are two double beds, a mirror, desk, and two roses placed in a plastic cup of water. I slept more comfortably the two nights I was there than during any other night at the Canyon. The sheets were so soft and the pillows had just the right amount of fluff in them.

You will also find the only local crafts and souvenirs for sale in the main lobby. Not a huge selection, but it feels good to support the Havasupai. Again, saving water here is important.

The Havasupai Lodge

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Days Inn I-40

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Stella on May 2, 2001

I arrived at the Days Inn at two in the morning with no toothbrush and no pajamas.

My toiletries, along with all the hiking gear I bought for this trip, were packed in my luggage. And that luggage was sitting somewhere in America West Airlines’ baggage claim center. Or maybe it was on a plane from Las Vegas to Phoenix. Could’a been stuck on the runway. You wouldn’t know since they have no computerized tracking system! Yes, a major airline’s only way of knowing where your bags are is by communicating with "Johnny downstairs" via a walkie-talkie that sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. You hear the word "over" too many times without a response and it gets to ya.

It kind of reminded me of the disbelief I felt this past election when I realized that our voting procedures weren’t exactly efficient. You’d think people would put more thought into something so important. Airlines know lost luggage is a potential problem. In fact, potential is being too easy on them. Definite or common are more on point. But this is supposed to be about the innocent Days Inn…

So I’m exhausted, frustrated and dirty.

I checked in with the guy on the graveyard shift and soon after that, all was well. He gave me a toothbrush and toothpaste, a room key and a smile. So I went upstairs much less annoyed and tried to get a good night’s rest.

My stay was pleasant. The bathrooms were very clean and the bed was big and comfortable. Days Inn offers free shuttle service to the airport and is also the meeting place of The World Outdoors trip. I’d recommend this hotel to someone who needs a clean (and cheap) place to stay.

Days Inn I-40 Flagstaff
2735 S Woodlands Village Blvd
Flagstaff, Arizona, 86001
(928) 779-1575

The Crown Railroad Cafe

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Stella on May 2, 2001

Ask a Flagstaff local where to go for breakfast and they’ll point you to The Crown Railroad Café. Luckily, it’s just across the street from the Inn I-40.

Home of Flagstaff’s famous 66 omelettes and largest operating electric train display, The Crown Railroad Café is a kick back to the times when Route 66 saw a lot more trains, traffic and travelers.

Open the door and you’ll be greeted by crayon drawings of flowers and mountains by local children next to a professional mural of a charging diesel train. Take a booth along the wall, where a miniature scale electric train toots above your head past a general store and saloon painted on the wall, open your menu and get ready for a hearty meal.

For breakfast, there are over 65 varieties of omelettes to try- bacon, spinach, salsa, diced steak, green chili, corned beef hash and chorizo are available to mix in, among other vegetables and even cream cheese and jelly. I suggest ordering your omelette with "those" potatoes (go to the Crown Café and you’ll know what that means), a buttermilk biscuit and a large glass of juice.

Other fun things to try include the Truckers Special- 1/3 pound of ground beef steak with three eggs, hash browns or "those" potatoes, two biscuits and gravy. For light eaters, choose a homemade sweet roll or a bowl of Cream of Wheat from The Side Car. Whatever you decide on, the food is filling, the atmosphere is fun.

When staying at the Days Inn I-40, bypass the Ihop next door and cross the street to The Crown Railroad Café.

The Crown Railroad Cafe
2700 South Woddlands Village Boulevard
Grand Canyon, Arizona

The El Tovar Dining Room

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Stella on May 2, 2001

The El Tovar Dining Room, part of the El Tovar Hotel built in 1905, offers the best dining experience in the Grand Canyon. Its log cabin architecture, stuffed moose, deer and elk heads on the wall and hanging kerosene lanterns give this space a rustic air that compliments the surrounding South Rim area.

When you walk in, the right side of the dining room is closest to the Canyon. Request a table here if you want to watch the sunset during dinner. For appetizers, try the jalapeno fritters. The perfect amount of cream cheese is slipped into the fritter to provide some relief from the hot, yet irresistible, treat. A typical entrée features rainbow trout, wild rice, a selection of bok choi, carrots and other steamed vegetables. And for dessert, the ginger crème brulee is presented with a pastry spoon and fresh whipped cream.

Reservations are recommended if you are planning to dine at The El Tovar Dining Room. The gourmet food and regional specialties prepared have given it a reputation among both travelers and locals.

El Tovar Dining Room
El Tovar Lodge
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
(928) 638-2631

Havasupai Dining

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Stella on May 2, 2001

There is one place to eat in the Havasupai Reservation and its best to get there as early as you can- for both breakfast and dinner- as supplies tend to run short and closing time never lags off schedule. With that said, this is a great place to get a feel for the local culture. Although the Havasupai have their own Community Center, the restaurant offers visitors the opportunity to interact with some of them. There is also a mural on the opposite side of the counter that expresses many of the beliefs of the Havasupai (see Mural entry) just in case no one is in the mood for talking.

The cafeteria-style dining offers mostly Southwestern and Mexican specialties with a few local dishes, like Indian Taco and Fryebread. For breakfast, our guides recommended French toast. I was adventurous and ordered pancakes.

For dinner, the Indian Taco seems to be the best option for those who want a "taste" of what the Havasupai themselves enjoy. It’s basically a round loaf of fryebread topped with refried beans, shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato. It’s basic fare but filling enough to put you right to bed, especially after a long hike.

Other options include a variety of meats, burritos, and sides like French fries and macaroni salad. Walk up to the counter, place your order and enjoy your meal in the outdoor seating area while unleashed dogs wait patiently for any scraps of food or attention.

Havasupai Dining
Havasupai Reservation
Grand Canyon, Arizona

The World Outdoors Picnics

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Stella on May 2, 2001

Although there were many dining options to choose from throughout our visit to the Grand Canyon, our favorite meals by far were the ones prepared for us by The World Outdoors guides.

Each day, while we hiked with just a water bottle, camera and sunscreen, our guides carried all of the ingredients necessary for a tasty and healthy lunch in their oversized backpacks- without a word of complaint.

Once we arrived at our designated lunch spot, Dave and Stephanie lay a green picnic blanket down and got busy slicing and dicing! Each day’s fare was different but always energy-boosting, innovative, fresh and delicious. I’m not allowed to give any recipes away- they’re in such hot demand that The World Outdoors are thinking of making their own recipe book- but I’ll give you a couple of insider ideas:

Dates stuffed with pecans
Pesto pizza
Homemade Tabouleh

Luckily, there was always enough for seconds.

While we were on the trails, we could also choose from an abundance of snacks including Balance and granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, apples, and GORP (good old-fashioned raisins and peanuts). Our guides also made sure we were well supplied with at least two liters of water a day- an important precaution against fatigue and dehydration.

Don’t be surprised if on your last night in the Canyon you find an assortment of cheese, crackers, grapes and wine by your bed- compliments of Dave and Steph. And if you ever find yourself without a reservation at El Tovar, or too late for some Havasupai dining, don’t even think twice about going to bed with an empty stomach. No matter the circumstances, your cooks are always ready and willing to whip something up.

The World Outdoors Picnics
Anywhere, anytime
Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Rim Trail

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Stella on May 11, 2001

The Rim Trail is not so much a trail as it is a paved pathway offering introductory views of the canyon from behind the security of an iron railing. This "trail" is best for children and adults who are not physically prepared for strenuous hikes into the canyon. The shuttle buses that provide transportation to the starting points of the many trails stop at various lookouts along The Rim Trail. From Hermit Road, you can visit Powell Point, a memorial to the civil war veteran John Wesley Powell and a view of one of the remaining mines in the canyon, Orphan Mine.

After a dinner including taco soup and rainbow trout at the Arizona Steakhouse, you can walk back to Yavapai Lodge along some parts of The Rim Trail. Getting lost, however, is likely- those stars are distracting.

Rim Trail
From Yavapai Point to Hermits Rest
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
+1 928 638 7888

Hermit's Trail

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Stella on May 11, 2001

It was best that we hiked Hermit’s Trail on the first day of our trip. It made everything else feel like a breeze.

Hermit’s Trail is a 17-mile round trip trail from the canyon rim to the Colorado River, beginning at Hermit's Rest. It is rocky, steep, slippery and if you choose the 1.5 mile trail variation to Dripping Springs, you’ll be clinging to narrow dirt paths along the edge of the cliff with a drop of 4,000 feet to your right and nothing to grab onto on your left.

Hermit’s Trail was carved by Louis Boucher, a miner who lived in the South Rim of the canyon for over 20 years. I imagine him exploring these ridges on his own, crawling at times to discover Dripping Springs, where we have lunch, or some other side cave, never knowing what dangers or wonders lie around the corner.

Do this trail.

It was the only one where you could sit on a rock and not see another person for at least a half hour. What you would see are baby rattlesnakes, dragonflies, lizards, Indian paintbrush and sage. You’d hear the wind traveling the canyons, feel the sun wrap around you.

Hermit Trail
Trailhead near Hermit's Rest
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
+1 928 638 7888

South Kaibab Trail

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Stella on May 11, 2001

The South Kaibab Trail is the most populated of all the trails in the South Rim- and rightfully so. Following the ridge lines of the canyon, it drops 5,000 feet in just 6 miles. After about seven switchbacks from the rim, the trail extends on a moderate incline.

Halfway down a staircase of red sand and hiking boot-prints you’ll come to Ooh-Aah Point, a collection of boulders sticking off the edge of the trail. From atop these rocks, you’ll look straight into the heart of the canyon.

A day hike to Cedar Ridge, a plateau 1,400 feet from the trailhead with exceptional views of The Bright Angel Trail and surrounding red and beige rock, is a great option if you want a taste of what this trail has to offer and a great place to rest for lunch.

South Kaibab Trail
E. Rim Drive
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 86023

Havasu Canyon

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Stella on May 16, 2001

After a series of switchbacks camouflaged under the rim of Havasu Canyon, you’ll find yourself on the canyon floor, surrounded by rising rock and an insistent heat. Each step into the canyon is one away from the world above. Sand, rock, flowers and animals replace society, technology, culture- even thought. Nothing but you and nature exists in this canyon, and the anticipation of meeting the people who live somewhere within it, the Havasupai.

Once immersed in Havasu Canyon, the views are incredible. This is the Grand Canyon you’ve seen pictures of, heard stories about, dreamed you’d see one day. The colors of the rock, red, orange, rust, brown, and pink, contrast against a cobalt blue sky. And that’s just the beginning. The shapes of the canyon walls are equally stunning, and just as diverse. Some rocks balance on tips of other, looking as if they are just about to topple into the canyon. Others are shocking in their smoothness, sloping and curving like the waves of water that may have shaped them years ago. The trail you walk on will be as soft as sand, it’s pink powder will kick up in clouds around your feet. The purple, orange, red, white and pink wildflowers blooms scent the air with sweet desert syrup.

Most of all, you will notice the silence and the wise messages it whispers to you.

Havasu Canyon
Havasupai Reservation
Grand Canyon, Arizona

Wild Flowers

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Stella on May 7, 2001

"For myself, I hold no preference among flowers as long as they are wild, free, spontaneous." Edward Abbey

There is a poster in an Aveda store that asks, "What miracle bloomed in the desert?" Below are the photos of three "flowers so rare you’ve probably never smelled them before." In the middle of the purple sand verbena and the Joshua tree, there is a photo of the dune primrose, a white wildflower with four heart-shaped petals and a deep yellow center. All new fragrances for purchase…

When hiking the Grand Canyon in late April or May, you’re likely to meet a rainbow of red Indian paintbrush, pink prickly pear blooms and orange globe mallows. You’ll step over the five-petal cinquefoil, little white flowers that grow close to the ground. You’ll try to capture the red penstemon -red bells on a tall stalk- on film when it’s not waving in the dry breeze. And if you’re lucky, you just might bend down and stick your face into a bunch of dune primrose and take a long, deep breath.

Some Notes:
On our way to the Havasupai Reservation, we noticed a ten-foot, asparagus-looking stalk rising from a cactus. One of our guides, Stephanie, explained how the Agave cactus, which takes eight to twenty years to fully mature, holds a special meaning for the Aztec Indians who once lived in the bottom of the canyon. "They’d pry up the plant, cut away the leaves and roast its heart. At the end of the two-day roast, an alcoholic beverage was produced. If an Aztec was caught drinking it more than twice, he was put to death. The Havasupai tribe also enjoyed this fragrant drink. They’d set a rock on the plant before it set up its stalk so that the stalk coiled around it. This made it easier to cook in their stone-lined pits. The Aztecs and Havasupai would eat a lot of plants when crops were bad."

Sage sprouts freely on Hermit’s Trail, and you’ll need it. It’s calming scent, and ability to open respiratory passages, can help you on those narrow turns when there’s nothing to hold onto but your courage and ignorance. The Indians used it before long walks along the canyon’s cliffs.

Ephedra is a very popular desert shrub that can be found in many areas of the canyon. Its silver-green leaves look more like those of the pine and have medicinal properties that can help cure the common cold. The Mormon’s used pieces of its stem to make "Mormon’s Tea," ironically a tea with alcoholic effects.

Black Brush
From the rim of the Canyon, the Tonto Plateau practically looks green with the shrubs of the Black Brush. This hearty shrub sends out a poison to kill all other plants nearby and is consequently spaced evenly on the plateau.

Other Shrubs, Cacti and Flowers
Bring along a guidebook- or a guide- who knows about the local flora. Instead of passing by the shrubs and flowers, you’ll learn their names:
Limber pine

These wildflowers, creeping their way out from the rock and sand of the Grand Canyon, are a testament to the power, fragility and beauty of nature.

And for Aveda: The sweet scent of a wildflower in April is much better out of the bottle.

Tell Me A Story

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Stella on May 10, 2001


When you pay your entrance fee into the Grand Canyon National Park, don’t forget to get your free copy of The Grand Canyon Guide. This newspaper highlights seasonal events, new regulations or happenings and serves as a basic guide to the major sights and trails. Another excellent magazine was provided by the Yavasupai Lodge and is called The Grand Canyon Magazine (the names just keep getting more creative). This publication included a comprehensive guide to all the trails, hotels and restaurants and provided an in-depth history of the canyon and the people who inhabited it.

Chapter One

Dripping Springs
After an adrenaline-rushing hike down Hermit’s Trail, it was time for a rest at Dripping Springs. Sitting in an alcove of the canyon wall, we took off our dusty boots, took a bite of our Mediterranean pita sandwiches, and listened to Dave’s voice and the sound of water dripping into a small pool from above. Reading from letters and diary entries written by Everett Ruess, we imagined a young explorer’s only burro plunging from a trail into the Colorado River and his sufferings from poison ivy without the comforts or medicines of home. Ruess left his family to explore and paint the Grand Canyon before it was even a national park and disappeared there at the age of twenty. Gazing out into the red walls of the canyon, and knowing how treacherous the trails can be, Ruess’s struggle and bravery fascinated us.
Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty by W.L. Rusho

Chapter Two

The Havasupai Lodge
On our last night in the Canyon, we sat under a sky devoid of stars save the Big Dipper. Bats flew, dogs howled. I could barely see the outline of the top of the canyon walls against the night- I closed my eyes. With a flashlight attached to his head, Dave began to read to us, this time from "the bible of the west." After exploring the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion on his own, Edward Abbey recorded his adventures in Desert Solitaire. We listened to the 12 pages of a chapter titled "Havasu."
Abbey got distracted from a trip to Los Angeles by stories he’d heard of the Havasupai Indian reservation and of the beautiful Havasu Falls close to their village. He decided to stay at Havasu, at a little log cabin now called The Havasupai Lodge. We listened as Abbey explored and wandered the canyons, not knowing where he’d end up. He lived dangerously and stared adventure- and death- straight in the face. One night, after barely escaping from the bottom of a side canyon where nothing but sheer, straight rock walls surrounded him, he wrote:
"I stretched out in the coyote den, pillowed my head on my arm and suffered through the long, long night, wet, cold, aching, hungry, wretched, dreaming claustrophobic nightmares. It was one of the happiest nights of my life."
It was as if Abbey was still out there, somewhere beyond the gates of the Havasupai Lodge.
Desert Solitaire, A Season in the Wilderness by Edward Abbey

If Your Luggage Gets

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Stella on May 10, 2001

Packing Essentials

The World Outdoors will mail you a longer packing list before departure day. Here’s everything you need if you like to pack light. Or if your luggage gets stolen, lost, stuck on a flight to Seattle…

One-two pairs of shorts
One pair of lightweight pants
Two t-shirts
One sweater
Socks and undies
Hiking boots or sneakers if you’re really fit
Toothbrush and paste (your hotel will have soap and shampoo)
Water bottle
Camera and film

And that’s all you really need. The rest is just icing on the cake.

The World Outdoors Guides

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Stella on May 10, 2001

Half of the trip to the Grand Canyon was being in the company of The World Outdoors guides and the rest of the group. Although I would have liked to explore and hike the canyon on my own, I wouldn’t have learned as much about the geology, botany or history of the area. And I wouldn’t have made as many friends!

Our group of about 10 had the full attention of two knowledgeable, enthusiastic and patient guides: David and Stephanie. From the first to the last moments of the trip, they had a smile on their face and a helping hand to lend. They each knew so much about each flower, tree, bird and rock. They prepared amazing picnic lunches for us, and didn’t make us feel bad at all if we wanted- or needed- to take our time along the trails.

Here’s some more information about our guides:

Dave is a photographer and daredevil mountain biker. This is the same guy who reads to you and holds your hand as you look over a cliff. He’s got great motivational skills, an excellent knowledge of Indian history and a head of red hair to match his fiery, adventurous spirit. Agile on the rocks and edges of canyon wall, he also guides the Hawaii Multi-Sport Adventures and Fat Tire Fantasies.

Steph was our chef extraordinaire, friend on the trail and role-model superwoman. Any "adrenaline option" there was, she took it. From diving into an icy waterfall to clinging onto a chain ladder over a 1,000-foot drop, she could match anyone in her fearlessness. More than that, though, she was patient and fun. On the last day of the trip, she had the idea to have everyone sign cards to each other, as a memento of our time together.

Havasupai Reservation

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Stella on May 22, 2001

In the bottom of the western Grand Canyon is a Native American community of one hundred Havasupai, or "People of the Blue-Green Waters." My expectations of what an Indian Reservation would be like were met with the realization that the lives of the Indians are a complete mystery to me.

The Havasupai are descendants of a hunter-gather tribe, the Cerbat, who inhabited the canyon in the 1300’s. Today, the Havasupai continue their traditions of farming, forestry and cattle raising with the addition of tourism. Operating a campground at the base of Havasu Falls, a lodge where visitors can stay and a restaurant which serves Indian tacos, Coke and burgers, the Havasupai's lives revolve around the hikers who come to visit and their own friends and family in the community. Although they have access to television, radio, computers and the occasional movie, there is not much to do in the canyon besides exploring and working. Surprisingly, the Havasupai do not swim, or even hike to, Havasu Falls. And although the children have field trips to places like Disney World, it is a four hour hike out of their village.

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