Thursday, April 14, 2011
It is with sadness that we packed up yesterday and left the Grand Canyon area. It was quite an adventure since the day we left (Sat.) our destination of Flagstaff got a blizzard and connecting flights out of Phoenix were all cancelled and the interstate was closed. We stayed the night in Phoenix and flew out early the next morning. Now, I am in a panic because we are a day behind and will have to cut down on our plans!
After giving myself a lecture about relaxing and enjoying instead of trying to fit in too much we revamped our plans.
First stop was meteor crater. Amazing to see and learn about meteors and see such a huge impact site. Learned that the second largest site in the US is actually in my home state of Iowa! Ha, who knew! They have a nice guided hike around the crater for about 45 minutes that is not very strenuous. Night was falling so it was off to the hotel to check in.
Day two was still a bit chilly so we decided to head south to Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona and Red Rock State Park. We did some excellent hikes in these areas that were a bit more climbing and strenuous. Really enjoyed the diverse colors of the area. Saw some interesting fossils that prove the area used to be very close to the equator! As much as we could we tried to take a guided tour in the area and then strike off on our own so that we learned as well as just enjoyed the hikes. We reluctantly drove north feeling we did not see all we wanted of the Red Rock area.
Day three was the Grand Canyon at last. It was still a bit chilly and there was snow on the south rim paths yet. Once you got moving though, it was actually a wonderful temperature to hike. Now faced with only one day in the Canyon we were not able to hike the Bright Angel trail all the way down and back as planned if we were to see more of the Canyon. We decided to hike half way down and back. It was a soupy mess due to the snow and melting and we passed many a hiker that had slipped along the way. Luckily we stayed surefooted like the mules, which by the way passed us a few times and they were not breathing as hard as we were!! The view as you travel down into the Canyon is so beautiful. The colors change from a sandstone yellow to salmon, red, green, black and every shade between. When we got back to the top, we decided to walk the south rim instead of traveling by shuttle from look out to lookout. It took quite a while but was definitely worth it and as we were coming back from the last point the sun was setting in the Canyon. It is an amazing display of light and color as you watch the shadows move and disappear into the Canyon for the night. Yes, I cried. It was so moving and so much bigger than ourselves. It makes you feel the creative power of God and how truly small we are in the big picture.
My calves are screaming and I walk like am 90 yrs old today. But, I am so happy that I am fit enough to enjoy such an active vacation. We didn't get to see as much as we had planned but we loved everything we did and saw and plan to return in the future and take other trails.
Live Life and always enjoy!