Then in 2009, I took a helicopter tour of the canyon from Las Vegas. After that trip, I knew I had to come back and bring Mary along, too. I hoped she was as inspired by this incredible American landscape as I was - and that's how things turned out.
Mary and I took the walk along the Rim Trail over to the village, had some lunch, and then walked back. There were plenty of park facilities to check out along this 5-mile round trip, including a geology museum, art galleries, and souvenir shops. For the first half mile or so, you're wading through bus tourists, but after that, the touring crowd thins out into smaller groups enjoying the incredible views in a fairly remote and undisturbed atmosphere.
Since we had arrived just before mid-day, we made our trek along the trail immediately, arriving at El Tovar lodge just before 2pm. We had a great lunch over there, with a window seat that allowed us to enjoy the scenery and incredible Grand Canyon weather - warm but not hot, and wonderfully sunny.