Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grand Canyon, AZ

Grand Canyon, AZ

We loved visiting one of the seven wonders of the natural world!

The drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from Williams was just about an hour. But it was a very pretty drive and we were all very excited about going so the time just flew by. We stopped by one of the many observation areas and decided to park there for the day and take a shuttle around the area. Our first stop was the Bright Angle trailhead. This is the hike Lloyd and I had done years ago, and I thought the kids would really enjoy it. It’s a fairly steep climb and the views of the canyon are stunning! We saw lots of people going down on mules, and when a mule passes, you have to hug the side of the rocks to give the mules room to pass. While it’s a nicely maintained trail, when a mule passes, it pretty much takes up the trail!

We hike a mile and ½ down and stopped for a snack and water. Garrett and I were up for going further, but Nicholas was afraid going back would “take too long” (what time schedule he was on is a mystery to me) so we started heading back up the canyon. Let me tell you, going up is MUCH HARDER than going down!! The weather was slightly cool and a bit overcast on the way down. On the way up, it got sunny and hot! We were dripping with sweat! And then… a thunderstorm. The temp dropped 20 degrees, we froze and got even wetter (if that’s possible). But we made it to the top and with the little energy we had left, we made our way back to the shuttle bus.

Unfortunately, we weren’t paying much attention to the stops and we got off at the wrong place. After a short 2 -mile hike along the rim, we made it back to the car for lunch. Peanut butter and jelly has never tasted so good!!

With renewed energy, we hiked back to a ranger station to attend a program about California Condors (giant, nearly-extinct vultures). The kids really enjoyed it. I think I fell asleep on a rock for most of it.

The coolest part was probably talking to the hikers who were hiking back up the Bright Angle Trail after doing the full canyon hike. It’s basically 10 miles down to the Colorado River. At the bottom is the Phantom Ranch and a walking bridge across the river. Some people had gone down on mules, some just hiked, and some went down yesterday and came back up today! That’s twenty strenuous miles in 2 days! We are soooo doing this next time!!!!

IMAX: While Lloyd was with us, we saw the IMAX Grand Canyon movie (narrated by Robert Redford with music by the Dave Matthews Band) about rafting the Colorado River and taking care of our water resources. This was the most we saw of the Colorado because we just couldn’t see it from any of the overlooks we visited. Maybe it was the cloud cover, or maybe we just didn’t hit the right place. Yet one more reason to come back here!

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