Monday, July 24, 2017

The Wanderlust Goes West to the Canyons

We set out on the road three days later than planned. We were able to land a site in Amarillo at the campground we canceled on and missed one national park stop (Petrified Forest NP). We squeezed in a few roadside America stops. First we revisited The Groom Cross (D was not with us on our first visit)
 and by "standing on the corner of Winslow, AZ." Completed only by a loud speaker blasting The Eagles tunes, of which we gals sang along to. 

We managed to get back on schedule and celebrated the Fourth of July at the Grand Canyon. No there weren't  fireworks, but there burgers on the grill and potato salad...and old fashion sister silliness. 

The next morning we woke early to beat the summer heat and afternoon monsoon rain to hike the South Rim Trail. 

(Hopipoint Overlook) 

We agreed that hiking into the canyon was priority. So we woke the at 3:30am to hit the Bright Angel Trail into the canyon. We knew we could only hike three miles in due to increasing summer heat and afternoon storms. We needed to be out of the canyon by 10am, per the park ranger. As we descended into the canyon we all began to realize how insignificant we are in this world. 
M and D were a few steps ahead when they were greeted by a long horn sheep. King Ralph and I quickly reminded M of the trick we learned in Glacier--clap your hands and the big horn will move along. So we all clapped and he scurried down the cliff's edge. 
Seeing animals in their natural habitat is one of the coolest things to experience while hiking! 

Just as instructed we were out of the canyon by 10am...with five minutes to spare. 

Hiking always offers some good footwear watching. People confuse hiking with park strolls. Bright Angel is a steep switch back trail. Good hiking shoes are a necessity! I'm not even sure I'd wear tennis shoes. But I'd take those over the German visitor in leather dress Oxfords. And the oxfords over the German woman in her one dollar Old Navy flip flops. The oxfords needed a good polish at the end of the hike. I'm glad I didn't have to see the flip flop gal ascend from the canyon...not to mention she started her poor footwear trek at the time they warned to be out of the canyon. 

On our final day at the Grand Canyon we woke early (again) to hike a small portion of the South Kaibab Trail. This is the trail M coined our canyon hiking motto: down like a beer, up like a hangover. Kaibab is STEEP!

We watched the sunrise that morning over the South Kaibab. 
The view at oohaah point was spectacular! 

We finished the day with a drive over to see the Desert View Watchtower. Climbing to the top creeped me out! I called it quits one floor from the top. The family trudged on up and I happily descended back to ground. Oh my God was it HOT at Desertview! Beautiful area, but super hot!! 

Then it was off to the visitors center to claim a prize. The first of the trip's Jr. Ranger badges. It's a quest that started at ages six and four, and continues at 24 and 22 years old. 

Then it was time to pack up The Wanderlust...moving along to find new territory to explore. 

PS It was a stiff bodied ride for me. The Kaibab kicked my arse! 

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