Sunday, April 3, 2016

Our Grand Canyon

Well. After a very tough week, we used this weekend to come up for air. March as a whole honestly kicked our butts. We lost a special member of the family, we had to take Marshall to the ER for the first time

(he's totally fine, just needed a breathing treatment for a bad cough that gave him some shallow breathing), we got a flat tire that delayed our drive home from the Grand Canyon by more than two hours, and I got some sort of stomach bug or food poisoning this week that absolutely knocked me off my feet for two days. I can't tell you what a relief it was Friday morning to wake up to a new month and start fresh.

Now that spring has sprung, we're fully embracing the warmer weather and extended daylight. Lots of walks outside, transitioning to spring foods (I am especially excited for asparagus this year for some reason), and spring cleaning (although, to be honest, we're slacking a little on the deep cleaning and focusing more on decluttering the house). It's a fun time of year!

And now for some photos from our trip!

It was a long drive...about 8 or 9 hours total each way (longer on the way back if you get a flat tire, FYI). But the roads were gorgeous! Lots of mountains, clear skies, pretty colors in the rocks.

And finally we arrived! We pulled into the park, checked into Yavapai Lodge (located inside the park, so we had easy access to everything all weekend), and headed to an early dinner at Bright Angel Restaurant (no photo, but I had fajitas, and they hit the spot after the long travel day).

That evening after dinner we raced out in the last moments of sunlight to catch our first glimpse of the Canyon and to see the end of the sunset. Not a bad way to start our trip!

Saturday morning we set our alarms for 5:30 (because we're crazy), woke up Marshall, and drove up to Yavapai Point to see the sunrise.

Despite the freezing temperatures, we enjoyed the gorgeous morning and quickly headed back in to the same restaurant as the last night's dinner for a warm breakfast. I got the veggie scramble, which filled me up for a long day ahead.

Then we headed out for our big adventure of the day: a hike! The ONE thing I wanted to do on our vacation was hike into the canyon a mile or two, so we chose South Kaibab trail because it looked doable with a toddler (in the Ergo on Terry's back). Well, if I may offer one piece of advice: Try to avoid having just ONE thing you want to do on a vacation, because...Murphy's Law is alive and well, friends. We noticed high winds, but as soon as we started hiking, we knew we weren't going to make it. Marshall was in tears within a few minutes, with dirt getting kicked into our eyes, and I felt too nervous to get too far into the hike with our little one without a plan for getting back out. So we turned back after only a few minutes and took some time to regroup.

(So cold!)

Luckily, the day was still gorgeous, and we were dressed warmly, so we  hopped on the free shuttle and enjoyed a few sights in lower wind areas.

Later in the day, we set out on a long walk (so I got my hike, just not into the Canyon!) on Rim Trail, which lines the rim of the Canyon. We walked a couple miles before grabbing sandwiches at the General Store for lunch back in the room.

I doubt I need to say it, but the Canyon is incredible. It's astonishingly big, but also peaceful and calming. I loved all the colors of the rocks, the way the light at different times of day hit the layers of rocks to change the whole atmosphere. And I was surprised at how much forest surrounds the Canyon! I expected desert everywhere, but nope--tons and tons of green forests!

Another fun sighting: elk! Everywhere! We must have seen 30 by the end of the weekend!

Saturday afternoon, we attempted to go to another lookout point, but the long lines convinced us to try again the next day. We got to see the train and more elk, and then we hit up an early (disappointing) dinner at Bright Angel Restaurant (which, to that point, had been an excellent option, so I supposed it's hit-or-miss) before running out once more for another sunset. We clocked 17,000 steps that day! Then we headed back to the room early to get a good night of sleep before our last morning--Easter!

Marshall got a little Easter basket with two new books and a banana (what? he loves bananas!), and we held a mini-egg hunt in the room. So cute.

Breakfast Sunday morning was a fancy one! We went to El Tovar Restaurant, which has stunning views of the Canyon and truly awesome food. I had an omelet (ham, cheese, and spinach), Terry got Sonoran eggs with chorizo, and we all split a giant cinnamon roll. Marshall had a little bit of everything.

Then we took the shuttle up a little way and hiked back about a mile. The trail along Hermit's Rest is so beautiful, and we happened to hit a particularly quiet day, so the whole walk we were on our own and felt very peaceful. On our ride out, the shuttle announcement mentioned the hike wasn't for anyone afraid of heights, so I was a bit nervous, but it wasn't bad at all, and there were always options to walk along the road away from the rim.

Finally, a view of the river!

And then we grabbed our gear, stopped for a hot chocolate, and headed back home. We chatted most of the way about our favorite parts of the Canyon and what we're looking forward to on our next visit.

But then...

Yeah. Flat tire. Terry changed it right away, but our spare was flat, too, so we still had to call AAA, and then we had to wait for a second AAA vehicle that was big enough to fit the car seat so they could tow us off the freeway to inflate the tire. Poor Marshall was past his bedtime by that point and was SUCH a champ. He made the whole event so easy on us and barely fussed or complained a bit! And finally, as they finished filling the tire, he dozed off, so we transitioned him back to our car and hit the road again, driving under 50 mph the whole way home. It was a long, long night--12 hours from the Grand Canyon to our door, and we were exhausted.

Still, the trip was absolutely worth it. We loved the gorgeous Canyon, the time together, the fresh air, and the exercise. I am so thrilled we went! 

Here's hoping April brings us a better month. Wishing you a lovely start to the week!

1 comment:

  1. Oh goodness, it sounds like you've had a seriously rough week - but a few awesome highlights too! I definitely think you have to have an awesome month in store!