July 6, 2011
Grand Canyon Adventure
In June our family took a little adventure to the Grand Canyon. A few days before I took a trip down memory lane with my sisters about camping trips of our youth. Funny for us, not so much for my mom, who just shook her head and said "Just wait. Your turn is coming." As my sister often reminds me "You don't get to choose what your children will remember forever." So true.
The kids woke up early to leave on our adventure. I wasn't so ready to get up. Justin came in to get me and tell me to get up as we had things to do. I thought I had things covered pretty well from the night before when he went on to tell me that I had made reservations in the park for the week before, not the week we were living in. (Not the first time I have had reservation issues....) You have to book your camping spot in the Grand Canyon National Park months ahead of time. There was no way we were getting another spot there. Nothing like winging it.
On our way there we stopped on Route 66 at the Grand Canyon Caverns. It's the largest dry cavern in the United States and it was pretty amazing. Especially to my little girl who is obsessed with rocks. If you have the time and money, you can even stay in the little hotel room in the caverns. I am glad we stopped there. It was interesting and we ended up on a private tour.
We went on to William, AZ that night and stayed in a hotel. The kids and Justin went swimming and I went to find dinner. On the way back from getting dinner I was rear-ended by a Russian who spoke very little English driving a Cadillac rental vehicle. Just a little paint transfer, but I did get shaken up a bit. The next morning the check engine light was on. We ventured onward anyway.
We ended up finding a great little first come first serve campground just outside the park entrance called Ten-X. Not a lot in the way of amenities, but good enough for us with spacious campsites and not tons of people, until the weekend. The kids had a great time playing with the rocks, digging in the dirt and stalking mysterious bugs. They mostly had fun getting dirty and taking hikes.
At the Grand Canyon National Park we spent our time taking easy rim hikes, visiting the hot spots, like the train station, hopping on and off of the shuttle buses and generally enjoying the view. We were fortunate to be there during astronomy week where astronomers from all over come to set up their telescopes for people to take a look at the heavens and discuss all things celestial. Adam's first glimpse of the canyon was telling. He turned back around to us and said "The postcards are nothing like this." He is so right. The photos, paintings, poems and other art do nothing to tell you the real soul-stilling beauty of this place. It truly is wondrous.
As I looked at the pictures we took I wonder if the kids saw the same things I did. We gave them a camera and let them take all of the photos they wanted. I looked at lots of pictures of railings, fingers and the ground. A couple of the sky and more than a few blurry photos. I hope what they saw will be important to them in the future and not as blurry as the photos we have as memories.