Okay so where was I? Oh I know….
So we headed north on US 89 towards Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument only to sit and wait on an almost gravel road for about 15 minutes due to road construction. We finally decided to just try on the way back and bolted out of there. We continued north and left the wooded area of the Coconino National Forest and drove along side Navajo and Hopi land, what seemed to be almost baron land until driving past a quaint little village complete with school and small businesses. Very much a low income area. They seem to survive though. It seemed most of their income came from the white people that stole their land from them. We made the left turn down Navahopi Rd which eventually turned into Rim Rd and then there it was. In all its glory. The sign I’d drove near 1200 miles to see. It was the Grand Canyon National Park sign. We were no more in the dusty desert anymore, we were back in what seemed to be forest. Forest? Hmm. I could have swore from the pictures I had seen that the canyon was nowhere near trees. We took the obligatory sign photo and pressed on. Some miles ahead we reached the entrance gate and payed our 25 sheckles for the next three days and parked near the Watchtower. We unloaded Zoe and proceeded towards a rest room, then set off for the view I’d also driven 1200 miles to see. Magnificent. Spectacular. The reds, browns, yellows, oranges and everything in between were vibrant and breathtaking. The Colorado River could be seen greatly from here. We fiddled around here for a bit and then piled back into the car only to find out we still had 20 miles to go. Twenty miles from the east entrance to the west entrance. Steve and Carol, Stephanie’s parents, had arrived the night before and were staying in what was called Trailer Village. The name says it all. So we drove the next twenty miles stopped at almost every pull off, getting out and taking in more breathtaking views. Zoe was extremely excited to see here Poppy and Gram. She had not seem them for almost 2 weeks. We got situated and unloaded a few things from the tin can, otherwise known as Lisa. We ate dinner and made a trip to one of a few stores nearby. I had needed to buy a map since Steve and I were planning on doing some hiking the following day.
We got up early and made our way to another lot and parked Steve’s truck and proceeded down the Bright Angel Trail. The trail goes all the way to the bottom of the canyon and makes it way to the North Rim, totaling out about 24 miles or so. We stopped at 4.8 miles, Indian Garden campground. Most of our adventure can be seen in the videos below. Going down we did the mileage in 2 hours. Going up in about 4. It was hot, hot, hot. There were some points I had been walking in the sun/heat for so long felt as I wasn’t going to make it. Steve ended up being about 15 to 30 minutes ahead of me between stops. We would stop at the three mile rest house and then at the mile and a half rest house. At the points there was running water, a crapper (sorry mom, they were not of the flushing type), and a covered shelter to get out of the sun. I had brought enough water with me to supply probably three people, but I just really didn’t want to get caught out there and be up a creek without a paddle. In 2004, a Boston Marathon runner had died of dehydration and I really didn’t want that to happen to me. I carried somewhere around 15 pounds of water. Roughly seven quarts of water. I drank from three, refilling along the way. Steve carried just 100 ounces from the Camelbak, refilling twice. All I know is that I was clear and copious. The hike wore me out. Dad and I had done a 14er a month earlier and this was probably just a bit harder on the joints. Stephanie and I caught sunset later that night and just people watched. If America has a capital for most languages spoke, it has to be the Grand Canyon. We heard German, French, English, Spanish (from Spain, not Mexico), and probably some Dutch and a few Asian languages as well. The most being German.
Friday, Stephanie and I left Zoe behind and took a bus to a few scenic stops and then down to Hermits Rest. We really just relaxed and spent the day enjoyed the peace and stillness of the canyon. The weather(not in the canyon) was beautiful. We spent the rest of the day back at camp hanging with Stephanie’s parents before we all left on Saturday. Steve talked about how the rest of their trip through Colorado had been. I was really dreading Saturday. We left Steve and Carol and made our way for Albuquerque. If we made it, we made it. If not, we had to places to stop before hand. I knew Stephanie and I could make it. Zoe was another story. Alas, tortoise and hare style, we made it too Albuquerque after getting passed by the in-laws, then passing them, then then passing us again. We met up and had dinner before they made their way south to Ruidoso.
The rest of the trip back was mediocre. Zoe fussed. Zoe slept. The wind howled. The car rolled. We passed the Caddy’s again and before you knew it we were back in Amarillo. Spent the night and made the rest of the way back to Fort Worth. I would much rather live in Amarillo as the weather there was much nicer than here.
All in all, a trip well worth it. I can’t wait to do it again. But next time though, perhaps, past Flagstaff, through the Mojave desert and to L.A., but not before making a detour to the Hoover Dam and viva Las Vegas baby. I love traveling by car. It’s so much more fun than by plane.