Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 12: Phoenix, AZ to the Grand Canyon, AZ

Day 12, Thursday: Phoenix, AZ to the Grand Canyon, AZ
KM start:160,033 Km
Trip Meter: 3,576 km
Time Driven: 1:30pm - 6pm

We got to sleep in at Wes and Carol's and that was very much needed since we knew the next morning we'd be up early to watch a sunrise at the Grand Canyon. Then we got up and ate breakfast with Wes (Carol had headed out of town that morning to visit her sister). As we hung around the house various family members came by to meet us - between the evening before and the morning we met quite a few family members - Including Frankie and Emory (Wes' sister and her husband) and one set of their kids, Paul and Judy. We met Wes' other sister Mary and her sweet grand daughter. And as I mentioned before I got to meet Nancy's brother Jeff and his wife Tammy. It was a lot of people, but it was great. We loved it. 

Paul and Judy wanted to take us to a mexican grocery store near by to experience all that it had to offer and to pick up some more roasted hatch chilies for Paul. It was so different from a normal american grocery store - much more colorful! We also got some Mexican Soda's - I picked the non-alcoholic Sangria flavor and loved it - I wish we had that back home!

We then grabbed some groceries at a local american grocery store for our nights camping and then we headed out to drive around Glendale for a bit. 

Then we went out for some Mexican food with Wes. 
Oh man, do we like Mexican food, especially great Mexican food.

Paul's lunch was HUGE and awesome looking

My flauta's were wonderful.

Wes and Paul at lunch

The Morgan's at lunch!
Paul very happy to be full with Mexican food

We then began the drive to the Grand Canyon; we wanted to find camping right up at the rim before it got dark, and hopefully in time to catch sunset. (Spoiler alert, we did both!)

There were many cool side areas to look at, like these random animals

It was getting rainier and rainier as we drove - it was definitely feeling like home in the pacific northwest.
And reminded me of Scotland at times.

It got very rainy...but the landscape was beautiful in the rain.

Then we made it to Flagstaff, the nearest city to the Grand Canyon.
We stopped in for a bit and were quite impressed with the area.

Then we continued our trek to the Grand Canyon.
Right through Bear Country, or "BeArizona" as the signs say

We got into Tusayan, AZ which is a little town outside of the GC and bought a tarp for under and over our tent in case of more rain. We debated hotelling it but not only was it SUPER pricey, but we really really wanted to at least try to camp. So we bought our souvenirs and then headed deeper towards the Grand Canyon.

And finally we were here!

We drove through into the Park (only a $25 park entrance fee for two and a car) and the helpful ranger there directed us towards the camping spots, which we feared might be full. At this stage we had no idea where we'd be sleeping, but since we were only going to be there for one night, we were hoping for the best. 
And we got it. 

Mathers Campground, right in the Park. Great looking location. The sign said they were full. When we pulled up we asked if they were full, they said they were. We asked where we could find camping for one night and they said they had a spot. Wahoo. We have learned thus far that even if it says full, ALWAYS ask. Always. Especially if you only need one night. Camping was $18 for the night (great price). 

We set up our new tent (since ours was left in Canada) for our first night of Camping since the badlands. Our tent cost us $35 at Academy in Texas and we are officially in love with it. We used our old covering from our last tent on top, our tarp on the bottom and felt very safe in case of rain (which ended up not being an issue at all). We set up my new cot (to finally do away with air mattresses for good) and Paul's bed on the floor and then headed out to see the Grand Canyon and the sunset. We were pumped.

We found a place to park and then started the hike to the canyon. And by hike I mean walk. And by walk I mean Paul walking quickly and me jogging with my short legs to keep up. Yikes.

And there she was! The Canyon.
It was every bit as Grand as the name suggests.

We weren't speechless (because really, it's Paul and Tara) but we were impressed and awed.

There is a little house/studio overlooking this section of the Canyon.
Can you imagine that view?

Also, I love the flag there - so majestic and patriotic

The sunset began, and oh my word.

We were so happy.
In awe, in love, and feeling so amazingly blessed.

According to the pictures above only one us can actually look at the camera at a time

One last look at the Canyon and we realized we should start heading back to cook before it was too dark, since we wanted to get early for sunrise.

On our way we found a shot with a low door. 
This was Paul at the door.

This was me.

That made us laugh a lot.
Though to be fair, we were pretty easily made to laugh this summer.
Being footloose and fancy free and all that.

We got back and I "made" us dinner...
Chicken sausages on the grill
(This picture isn't that appetizing, I know)

Caesar Salad and the aforementioned Chicken Sausages.
It was tasty and warm and we were very glad for the veggies of the salad.

After we ate (and Paul did the dishes) we stayed up for a beer as we let the lantern light our little corner of the forest and chatted until we got sleepy.
It was lovely.
That may be the sort of moment I miss most of all back in real life - moments of pure bliss, relaxation, together...with a beer. 

And then it was off to bed by 9pm because the 6:20am sunrise was going to come early, especially with needing to wake up, eat, drive and find a good viewing spot.
Ugh 5:30am is so early.
Though, Sunrise at the Grand Canyon is totally worth it.
More on that to come tomorrow.

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