I've been walking... lots, actually - camping is like that.
Today 3 miles although it seemed like I only walked a bit... along the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
... if at all possible, plan the trip in advance - this last minute stuff is brutal and, as the film pointed out, it takes months to get physically fit enough to be up to what the GC demands of even the casual visitor - after all, this place is HUGE (the only tourist attraction that can be seen from an orbiting space shuttle).
... never try to "do" the Grand Canyon, even minimally, in half a day -- yes, once you've looked over the rim three times it all looks the same... until the light changes - in two hours everything changes totally!
... book your stay at the GC (not in Flagstaff, for instance) because one day is NOT enough, and book your hotel/campsite INSIDE the park - everything is cheaper there than in Tusayan (even if you do have to get your reservations six months in advance) plus there are night-time activities (tonight there was free planet/stargazing through large telescopes at the Visitors' Center, which I had to skip because I had to get back to Flagstaff).
... plan to stay at least two days so you won't stay up until midnight typing and downloading photos from your first day's visit because you've got to be out of the hotel and on your way in the morning!
... plan to hike, mule, or otherwise get down into the Canyon - today's experience proved to me that it feels stupid to just stand on the edge and look in!
... avoid the summer months - go for May (can be cold) or September (possible thunderstorms), although anytime of year would be impressive... today it was HOT (90 degrees) on the south rim (12-15 degrees hotter down in the Canyon) - by 5pm you could tell who had been at it all day by their dazed, punchy expressions - and with a breeze blowing the dry, summer dust was like a thin fog, pretty much ruining the view and any photos into the Canyon.
... don't waste your time or money on the National Geographic visitors' center in Tusayan:
-- the IMAX film was good, but was $14 for 1/2 hour (buying the DVD - "not available anywhere else" - for my brother was $35+tax) - inside the Park the FREE twenty minute film (three years in the making and only out four weeks now) at the GC Visitors' Center was waaaay better and far, far more inspiring (buying the DVD for my brother - 3 hours worth of film - was $20 no tax);
-- the gift shop is pure garbage you could get at most gas station gift shops (a ho-hum, paper-thin, el crud quality t-shirt that wouldn't survive three washings was $44.95+tax - in the GC Park Bookstore a beautiful ladies' organic cotton t-shirt was $19.95 no tax);
-- the bathroom was FILTHY (and they keep the door propped open, you can see right in to the stalls);
-- a cup of pudding was $4.19+tax, a chicken breast sandwich with cheese and salsa on a bun was $9.39+tax - I had a sizable pot roast dinner with baked potato, mixed vegetables, and a roll for $9.50+tax at the Yavapai Lodge cafeteria in the park;
-- time spent at the yucky National Geographic site was time not spent at the GC (dumb, as it turned out) -- they promote parking at their lot and using their shuttle (you still have to pay the Park entry fee) as a way to save time getting into and trouble finding parking at the Park, but the line to get into the Park was no problem when I got there and there is ample parking in the Park, plus the Park's shuttle buses are free and frequent;
-- NG's tours are expensive and don't offer anything you can't get elsewhere for less or even free (or even necessarily need - the Park's got all the bases covered).
... elk (even tiny little baby elk, as it turns out) don't give a fig if you live or die, pull your car right up next to them, holler for them to look at the camera, or whatever (see next lesson) - they glance at you once (have that camera button READY) then just keep doing whatever already has their attention.
... never try to drive after dusk through elk country, they blend into everything! - after nearly driving UNDER an elk that calmly stood in the middle of the road, apparently confident that I would notice it (thank God for ABS braking systems), I drove 15 miles under the speed limit with the brights on and all senses alert and STILL nearly hit another (smaller, but still huge) elk twenty minutes later.
... copy what you type the first time (fuggedabout texts!) so you can paste it into the various emails, blogs, and other Internet areas you like to keep folks up-to-date with.