So, you'd like to work at the Grand Canyon. Really, it's not that difficult to get a job in the park. Of course, most positions are entry level, and you'll have to work your way up to higher paying, more responsible positions. The company that owns the concession at Grand Canyon National Park is Xanterra, doing business as Grand Canyon National Park Lodges.
You can fill out an employment application online: http://jobs.xanterra.com/recruit/servlet/com.lawson.ijob.QuickCandidate?vendor=223. You need to be 18 years old to work in the park, and willing to live in an employee dormitory at the cost of $16 per week. You also need to be willing to pay for meals in an employee cafeteria, and work in positions such as dishwasher, guest room attendant, or retail clerk.
You'll also need to undergo a background check and be open to random drug testing. Working at the Grand Canyon is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You'll work hard, but you'll also have a national park as your very own backyard, and that's a pretty awesome fringe benefit.
It's not unusual to hear a tourist say, "I only have one hour to spend at the Grand Canyon – what should I see." If you only have an hour to spend, don't plan on seeing more than a viewpoint or two. The canyon is a big place, and an hour is barely enough time to get from the entrance station to the visitor center and Mather Point.
Instead of rushing around the canyon for an hour or two, give yourself several days to really explore and experience the canyon. The view from each vista is different, and so is the same view at different parts of the day. In the early morning and evening, when the sun is low, the canyon's rich colorations really come through. At high noon, the canyon appears hazy and less detailed. Colors seem to change minute by minute as the light changes, which is why the canyon is often called "the house of stone and light."
Take your visit to the canyon slowly, and savor all you can of the park. It is a treasure, and any treasure is worth saving up for and relishing, rather than rushing though it to get to the next destination. Slow down, and enjoy all the views.
Have you ever smelled a pine tree? When you visit the Grand Canyon, make some time to seek out a stately Ponderosa Pine. They are tall, elegant pine trees with long needles, small cones, and a reddish, rough bark.
Walk up to one of these trees, and bury your nose in any cleft in the bark. That's right! You'll discover the rich scent of vanilla when you get close enough. The scent is even more pronounced on a warm summer day.
We always urged tourists to stop and smell the trees during their visit. Some thought we were crazy, but when they discovered the smell, they thought otherwise. To this day, I can't open a bottle of rich-scented vanilla without closing my eyes and thinking of Ponderosa pines.
One of the finest ways to enjoy the rim walk is to follow it from the park headquarters to the village on a moonlight night. It's easy to see the walk as it winds thorough the pinyon forest of the rim, while the canyon is bathed in shadow and light.
If you're lucky, you can see a lightening storm on the North Rim on your walk. Watching the lighting hit its target without the sound of booming thunder is an eerie and yet magical way to spend an evening.
You don't have to disappear inside when the sun goes down. Take a moonlit walk on a warm summer evening and you'll discover a whole other side to the Grand Canyon.
The Hopi House, designed by Mary E. J. Colter, is another one of the oldest buildings in the park, in fact, it's the oldest curio shop at the canyon, it opened its doors in 1904. Colter designed the building to resemble the pueblo-type homes of the Hopi Tribe, who live east of the Grand Canyon in their ancestral homes located on top of three mesas.
The building still contains a curio shop, and the upper floor has been open to the public since 1995, when the building was renovated and added to the National Register of Historic Places. The upper floor carries museum quality Native American artwork, while the lower floor deals in more traditional Native American arts and crafts.
Outside, the Hopi House is totally authentic to its roots in the Hopi Mesa homes, complete with the ladders used to reach each level, the native stone used for construction, and the terraced levels allowing for outdoor living and meal preparation. Interestingly, several Hopi craftspeople worked on the restoration of the building in 1995, which strived to keep the historic integrity of the building intact.
The Grand Canyon Village Historic District stretches from Verkamps Curio Shop in the east to the Kolb Studio in the west. Most all the buildings in this district were constructed at the turn of the 20th century, even before the canyon became a park in 1919.
You can drive most of the district on the Village Loop Road, and along that road, you'll also see many other native stone buildings that house park operations and staff. The large, native stone buildings with the green barn-like roofs and the pens outside are mule barns, used to house the mules that tackle the trails of the canyon every day.
You can't tell, but sprinkled in among these buildings are dorms for seasonal workers and side streets that lead to some of the residential areas of the village. Most of the people who work at the canyon live right here in the village, and if you explore some of the back roads, you'll see Park Service and concessionaire neighborhoods that look just like your own neighborhood back home.