Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In All It's Grandeur... Visiting The Grand Canyon

Hey you guys! I'm back! I think I've finally kicked my sinus infection and am so excited to be sharing our adventures on the road with you! We drove from California, out to the east coast to drop off our doggies and visit family, before turning around and driving right back! It was such a whirlwind three weeks! There were things I knew I wanted to squeeze in before we left America this summer and The Grand Canyon was one of them!
If I'm being honest, I had rather mixed emotions about seeing The Grand Canyon. Would it be overwhelming? Even worse, what if it was UNDERwhelming?! It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and that fact alone prompted the 100 or so mile detour up to see it! By the time we stopped, it was the THIRD time we'd driven by it! (Of course by "by it" I mean that we were within 300 miles of it twice before.)

A pretty friendly French family of tourists stopped and asked if we wanted our picture taken. Of course, they spoke almost no English and my French is only what I remember from the three years of French 1 I took in middle and high school! The dad motioned to my camera and made the universal "clicking of a camera" gesture as his wife corralled their kids. I gave him a thumbs up and I don't know why, but I bowed to him as I said "thank you" and handed him my camera...as if bowing were the universal thank you gesture. He spoke some French at me and finally my brain triggered to say "Merci!" when I guess his wife instructed him to take more since I announced with a "oui!" that I was a Francophile, or in the very least not a Francophobe!

I honestly don't know if I have words for the overwhelming feeling I got being there on the observation deck, looking out at the canyon beyond. It was eerie and quiet, the sun was setting, and Nature was just at peace. Sure, there were people around vacationing with their families and teenagers taking selfies of themselves kissing their boyfriends, but the majesty of this place- it was awe-insipring and awesome.

You get the impression from movies that it's just going to be this rock formation on the side of the road and if you're passing by and have a minute to stop, eh, go ahead and do it. This place though, this place is magical and magnificent, and every single American should start planning their vacation there if they haven't already been.

We were chasing the setting sun and were not dressed anywhere near warm enough when we got there so we didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked. We rushed to get there before they closed and were thrilled to discover they are open 24 hours! New bucket list item: camp at The Grand Canyon and watch the sunset and the sunrise! There are trails you can hike on if you're brave enough, which I don't know that I am, but Gene and I did go a little bit down before once again asking a stranger to take a picture of us.

It was exhilarating and breathtaking and just absolutely a moment I hope I never forget as long as I live! To feel so small... to know there is so much world out there and we, as human, are just so insignificantly small.

On a side note, let me share my ignorance with you all now. I had no idea The Grand Canyon was on the edge of a National Forest. Like... no clue at all. On our drive back down to Flagstaff we drove through snow capped mountains and hit 8,065 feet of elevation. The temperature dropped to 33*. It was COLD. I always thought The Grand Canyon was deserty and barren. I never in a million years expected to see warning signs for mountain lions! It was such an eye-opening adventure! In his South African episode of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain said:

"So a good friend of mine, a really great travel writer, said something. The more I travel the less I know."
That's how I felt almost this entire trip, but especially at The Grand Canyon, and I'm so happy I took the time to stop and learn!


The Pepplers said...

You hit the nail on the head. I felt the exact same way when I visited the Grand Canyon with my husband. You feel so small and you don't imagine it to be that way. After all, it is just a bunch or rocks. But the colors and the grandeur of it all are amazing. Pictures just can't do it justice. Can't wait to read more about your trip and I hope you are feeling better!


Jasam said...

I have never been to Grand Canyon. Seeing you blog about it today is actually kinda funny because my friends and I were talking about it the other day! hahaha Thanks for blogging about it, and for recommending the place. Now I am all pumped up that I wanna go now! But I can't *sad face* coz I have so many things going on right now. It's sure going to be on my bucket list though!

Rachel said...

Lol! All I could think when I saw your pics was "wow she looks COLD"!!!

Jen said...

I love The Grand Canyon, it is such a remarkable place!

Mrs.B said...

I dreaded going as a teenager with my family then when I got there I was in love. It's such a gorgeous place!

Caitlin | The Siren's Tale said...

This post makes me want to go to the Grand Canyon right now! I've always wondered if it would be a let down, but this post makes me think differently :)

Amanda said...

I've always wanted to visit there. I can't imagine how gorgeous it is. I know what you mean about not knowing what to expect. I felt that very same way when we went to New York City for the first time. No idea what to expect.

Karen said...

I would LOVE to visit the Grand Canyon - it's on my USA bucket list, along with Mount Rushmore and The Alamo. I also didn't know that it was on the edge of a National Forest (but I have a pretty good excuse about that, being Canadian and all lol).

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