Ain’t Life Grand?

It’s all starting to run together now :). Wednesday morning, we saw the sunrise from the Chapel of the Holy Cross. It was pretty chilly and what you don’t see in these pictures are Laura and I bundled up underneath about six layers of clothes and blankets.

Sunrise inside of the Chapel

Sunrise outside of the Chapel

Later that morning we trekked up Bell Rock as planned. It would’ve been amazing to be able to go up the last bit with some rock climbing equipment (and a guide), but the view we got was incredible. It ended up being all of us minus Paul who got a new hip for Christmas. He’s already about two months ahead of schedule recovery-wise, he’s “supposed” to still be using a walker, but instead he’s basically independent of even a cane. It’s a huge achievement to be where he is and doing what he’s doing but climbing up rocks is still a couple months away, so sadly, we had to go without him. If it were me, I’d probably have lazied around, felt sorry for myself and read a book. But, Paul walked a trail near Bell Rock and we were able to spot him from a distance at various points in our climb.

The Sun peeking around Bell Rock on our way up

Laura and Betty from our perch atop of Bell

Insert your own “I’m on top of the world!” caption here

Kristi Leigh and Eric harnessing their Chi on Bell

The view from Bell Rock

After some fantastic sandwiches from a Natural Foods store in town (Sedona is extremely veggie-friendly) we hiked a nice little trail called Soldier’s Pass. The story behind this photo is that it nearly didn’t happen. We asked someone else on the trail to take a picture of us, and after getting the camera back from him, we discovered that he hadn’t snapped the picture. Actually, he hadn’t snapped either of them since he took two “just to be sure”. So, we had to repose and ask them to snap it again with Paul politely suggesting, “maybe your wife could take it.” Classic.

And now the main event. Thursday morning, we skipped sunrises all together and made the two-hour drive north to yet another large hole in the ground, the mother of all holes in the ground: the Grand Canyon. When we entered the park and started getting close, I made sure not to look out the window. The reason is that when we got to the first good lookout point and stopped the car, Laura and Betty led me to the railing with my eyes closed. “Alright, open ‘em.” What appeared before me filled my entire range of vision and it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen and it was so much bigger than I was prepared for! Teddy Roosevelt said that the Grand Canyon is “the one great site all Americans should see.” Here, here, Ted. Here, here.

The first day at the Canyon we spent some time walking along the rim and hitting a couple of the lodges and shops. That night, after freezing our buns off watching the sun set on a three million year old Canyon that averages ten miles in width, we went to an hour long program about Geology that one of the Park Rangers presented. It was great because she was so in to it! This woman loved her some Grand Canyon! Or, as she liked to call it, “The Grandest Canyon”, or “a Geological Masterpiece.” There were some incredibly interesting facts that she shared that allowed us to further appreciate what we were seeing and if any of you ever go, seriously, do the educational bit as well because it makes it the experience much richer.

But now, we’re back to the present and this morning the four kids and Betty embarked on a six-mile round-trip down in to the Canyon itself. Six miles in and of itself…yeah, it ain’t much. But you go and add 2,100 feet of elevation change and you’ve got yourself a haul.

Setting out on the trail

Our destination was a lookout point within the Canyon called “Skeleton Point.” We didn’t bother to ask exactly why it’s called that before we took off, but I just told myself that maybe there was a trilobite fossil somewhere nearby and that settled my stomach. The trail was called Kaibab and it offered breath-taking views at every single turn.

It took us about two-and-a-half hours to get down with a lot of stopping to take it all in.

Skeleton Point

When we made it to Skeleton Point we enjoyed the view for a while and then turned around and jogged back up to the top. And by jogged I mean nearly suffered multiple heart attacks. Seriously, there was talk of splitting the cost on one of those Search and Rescue Helicopter rides.

Before leaving the park for good, we drove along the rim and took in a couple more views. On the way out, we saw this guy on the side of the road looking like he owned the place.

Now we’re back in Sedona and I’m looking to take a bath in Icy Hot. Tomorrow night we’ll celebrate the New Year, get a handful of hours worth of sleep and then get on the road that leads to Texas.

Happy New Year!

5 thoughts on “Ain’t Life Grand?”

  1. Absolutely beautiful photos!!! Can’t even imagine some of the sites you are witnessing. Take it all in & remember it for a lifetime. God has provided such an incredible piece of art for generations before us and now it is our turn to enjoy it. I just hope I get to see it in person sometime. Lovya loads and Happy New Year!!!

  2. Sounds like you did alot and enjoyed yourself quite a bit. It truely is an amazing sight and feeling and let me just let everyone know on your behalf that the pictures do not do this place justice at all.
    Me and Kari both were awestruck as we drove past trees and more trees and desert and trees and finally saw this masterpiece of geological evolution. While we meandered through the country to Seattle. As we stopped every once in a while to take in some breath taking and inspiring locations, another being the Hoover Dam.
    I hope Laura got as much out of it as you did. I’m really glad you guys had such a great time and hope you have a super great New Year!

  3. Well, I flew over that wonderful place you described. It was across the isle from me on the other side of the plane and I was to much of a chicken to unbuckle my seat belt and move over so I could see it. I thought on the way home it would be on my side of the plane. Well we missed it somehow.
    I am glad you all had such a wonderful time. Sorry Paul didn’t get to climb as the rest of you did, but I bet he had a good time also.
    Be very careful on the road back to Texas and a Very Happy New Year to you all. Loads of love.

  4. Hey Guys!
    Love the photos of the trip! Just breathtaking and I’m a little jealous!
    Take care,
    (aka D.J. and Haley’s dad)

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