THE grand canyon.

we were SUPPOSED to go to the grand canyon for a week after our time in zion in november. but some camper repairs came up and it was a long detour on our way to vegas, where we were meeting family, so we skipped it. then, when we started making our arizona plans for the winter, we weren’t exactly sure the weather would cooperate, so we decided to book a weekend trip to an actual lodge and make it a mini vacation from our regular, well, extended vacation. we left our camper in cottonwood and made the 2.5 hour trip to the grandest canyon of them all.

upon arrival, we quickly found our way to an overlook. here’s the kiddos first glimpse.

i won’t lie. i don’t think they were THAT impressed. we have seen some pretty amazing stuff in the last year or so. and they agreed it was a little bit cooler than that stuff, i’m afraid we have maybe started to take this life for granted. but i also think there’s a slight aspect of not even being able to wrap your brain around the vastness of the canyon. it’s a mile down. and ten-ish miles across, give or take. and 277 miles in length.

also. even though its the off season. i was overwhelmed with people. people with selfie sticks.

we wandered around to different overlooks, taking what felt like different pictures, but now that i’m posting, they all seem alike. 🙂

sidewalk lunch break.

canyon selfie.

more photo shoots.

we visited the geology museum and found out there was a junior ranger program about to start shortly, so the kiddos worked on their books while we waited for it to start.

after the program, we checked into our lodge. it had already been a long day at that point, but we decided to head back out to catch the sunset at one of the points where the ranger had told us was a prime sunset view location. (yavapai overlook in this case). the girls captured their own images.

a pretty cool swirly cloud was in the sky and as the sun set, it changed various shades of yellow and orange.

we brought food for breakfasts and lunches, but needed to find some dinner, so we drove to the nearest town, to hit up wendy’s for cheap. or so we thought. derek and i only got sandwiches. the girls split 10 nuggets. and ike got a combo for everyone to share some fries. and it was like $37. so. not very cheap. after further research, we established that eating at the grand canyon is extremely expensive, no matter where you go.

anyhow. enough about that. on day two, our only full day in the park, we planned to hike into the canyon a bit. but it was super crazy windy. and cold. so we were nervous. but we planned to bundle up in multiple layers and head to the bright angel trail and make the call when we got there. it was windy and cold at the top, but after two or three switchbacks and less than 100 yards, the air was perfectly still.

the views seemed to change dramatically, just a few hundred feet in, once we dipped below the rim.

derek. looking thoughtful. and adventurous.

the signs on the way in were foreboding. we obeyed. but the path was very wide and we didn’t encounter any packs of mules, so it was smooth sailing.

more canyon views. sorry.

my favorite sign. it was less funny on the way back up. but it was a good warning. going down was very easy.

we stopped at this sunny spot to have a snack and work on ranger books. also, we peeled off most of our layers, because when not in the wind or the shade, it was actually sort of warm.

we made a plan to continue to the next switchback/overlook area. and see how we felt at that point.

once we were there, we decided that i would continue a bit further with the big kids and derek would start back up with hazel. while we were making this decision, i overheard isaac tell some other hikers that “he wanted to go further, but his family didn’t want to”. punk.

on we went. our goal was “the second tunnel”. as we descended to it, i noticed it was much steeper than it had been leading up to that point. and people that we were crossing paths with looked dog tired. (one guy had hiked from the south rim to the north and was hiking back to the south again. insane.).

the second tunnel!! i can see it!!

obligatory second tunnel progress pic. (it’s about 0.8 miles in, and 500 feet down).

the view from the tunnel. seems familiar.

and then we started back up. ugh. lots of breaks. and tired legs. and sucking air.

we shuffled our way back to the top, where we met derek and hazel. derek reported that hazel never had to be carried or complained, which is not her default mode. lately, she has hated hiking and whines most of the way. so, that was pretty awesome. especially considering we have a lot of parks on tap for 2018 and she’s getting heavy.

we had some lunch and sped off to the desert view watch tower on the east end of the park. we stopped at overlooks along the way and took some more photos that are virtually indistinguishable from one another but i’m still going to post several.

we DID finally get a decent view of the colorado river. also, we got to see several dummy tourists posing for dangerous pictures in the extremely strong winds. so that was fun.

window views from the watch tower.

colorado river.

inside the watch tower looking up into the ceiling.

while the kiddos worked on their ranger books for a bit with derek, i strolled outside to get some shots of the outside of the watch tower. i had to wait a long time to get a shot with no stragglers, but it was worth it.

on our way back, we stopped at the tusayan ruins, so the kids could get their junior ranger badges. it was a bit of a fiasco, because of tired kids and whiny kids and kids who didn’t want to finish up their books under pressure, but it saved us a trip to a visitor center in the morning before we left.

we pretty much crashed immediately and awoke slowly the next morning. as we were cleaning and packing up, we had a pleasant surprise when several elk passed by right outside our window.

we decided we were all adventured out and just wanted to get back to our camper, but first one last viewing of the canyon (and a quick trip to a gift shop so i could get a t-shirt i had been considering).

One Reply to “THE grand canyon.”

  1. Grand Canyon IS pretty awesome! Glad the weather cooperated.

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