I’d never seen the Grand Canyon close up. I flew over it once in a small plane – something like 30 years ago – but I’d never stood on the edge and gazed.
Now I have. It was amazing. Overpowering.
We drove up from the Phoenix area on the scenic route that goes through the red rock hills of Sedona, which are pretty amazing themselves.
It was a bit of a whirlwind trip – we arrived in the evening on a Wednesday, so stuck to the fairly crowded viewing sites around the main visitor’s center for that evening. The next day, after an overnight in a motel in Williams, AZ, which prides itself on being a stop on the famous Route 66 highway, we went back and spent the full day exploring along the southern rim.
We started by hiking down into the canyon on the Bright Angel trail. We did only a very small segment, just the first mile or so, because I kept reminding my sister and children that there was a very real possibility they would have to carry me out – an easy downhill makes for a very difficult, steep, upward climb on the return trip. Signs the park has posted included illustrations of people throwing up, overcome by the climb out. No one wanted that!
This is a partial view of the part that we walked, along with a lot of other people. Mules had left a lot of clear signs that they also used the trail, which we carefully maneuvered around.
This is more of the trail, showing where I called a halt – we stopped at the top of the extreme switchbacks that you see starting there. Overall, we spent about two hours going down and up. Enough to get a sense of the ambition and endurance of those who hike all the way down – it is a two day trip to get to the river and back out again by foot.
There is a very helpful shuttle bus system set up along the rim that we used for the rest of the day. It is a hop-on-hop-off system stopping at a multitude of overlooks. The further out we got, the fewer the people, so there was a chance to stop and really look out over the canyon and think about how amazing nature’s processes are.
We went full tourist at one point and faked some falling-from-the-edge shots to freak out the Grandmas on Facebook.
Some grew a little weary of looking at scenic rocks.
We met elk and learned that they eat pine needles. A hard way to make a living.
But mostly we just looked, and looked, and looked. I just couldn’t have imagined how impressed I was going to be.
The next morning we had to head back to Grandma’s, but we are already in family discussions about signing up for a hiking/rafting/mule trip in the future for the extended family.
Sad as we were to leave the Grand Canyon, the return to the pool was very welcome.
And, because this is supposed to be a craft blog, not a family vacation blog, I’ll sneak in a picture of the mini-quilt that I made my mom a while back, that hangs on her hall wall:
This was my first use of beads on a quilt. I’m really itching to embroider some more cacti as well after all that time in Arizona, so we’ll see where that takes me in the near future.