Monday, February 28, 2011

Grand [Canyon] Adventures!!

Soooooooooooo this last weekend Jack and I vacayed in the...... GRAND CANYON!!! :) It.was.awesome. (For all pictures, feel free to click on them to enlarge them to see it better. Sorry this post turned out to be so long!!)

We left Friday night after Jack came home from work and gave ourselves a 30 minute window to pack and hit the road...we almost made that goal :) We swung down through Albuquerque and picked up some Chick-fil-a (a must if we are in the vicinity) and then we were off to AZ!! We arrived in Flagstaff around 11 and checked into our hotel room. It was cold out but no precipitation had started but as we watched TWC the forecast showed snow was on the way! We woke up Saturday morning to about 5 or 6 inches already on the ground but that didn't deter us!
Aloha snow! :)
We loaded up the Flex and we were off on our adventure. After grabbing and quick lunch at Wendy's and getting gas for $3.92/gal (ugh) in Tusayon, just outside the park, we were off to see the views...or so we thought :) While eating our lunch the snow started to come and come quickly.We ended up getting over 16 inches of snow on the trip!

On our way!
The roads began to get covered very quickly.

And this was our fantastic view the first day! :)

We decided that even though we couldn't really see any views we'd still check out the Canyon Rim Trail that meanders along the top of the canyon.

Jack standing where we suspected there to be a neat view... :)

After we went out for a mile or so we decided to turn back and head back towards the gift shops and whatnot. We enjoyed looking at things in there and checked out one of the lodges. We noticed they had early dinner there so we decided to go back to our room and get ready for an early dinner. It's nice that we could pretty much walk to everything in the Park so we grabbed an early dinner and called it an early night.

That ball of ice fell out of the bottom of my ski pants when we got back from our hike!

The next morning we decided to go for a drive around the park in hopes that we could see something fun/interesting. We were hopeful because the forecast called for partly cloudy skies so we thought maybe we'd get a glimpse of the canyon!

We walked over and got this...still no major view but we could see a bit more!

But we're good sports so we took a picture in front of it anyways.

Then on our way back to the car (because we wanted to drive around a bit) we saw this... :)

So we went driving and took a picture of the train and El Tover.

We enjoyed this because it reminded us of our Flex!

Then as we were driving down the road Jack hit the breaks and yelled out, "LOOK!" And there she way!

So we literally ran out to the overlook scared that the clouds would come back before we could get pictures!

It was gorgeous!
After snapping some pics at the overlook we decided we would head back to the lodge and get changed in order to attempt the Canyon Rim Trail again. We decided, no matter what, we would hike it out for a ways and stay out until sunset in hopes of getting some good pictures. We dressed really warmly, took extra clothes, food and water and off we went.

View from the trail. The clouds rolled back in but we weren't deterred!

Off he goes :) It was a winter wonderland!

At times the snow was up to our knees. Talk about a workout!

And BAM, the clouds rolled away... for a while :)

So we snapped pictures as fast as we could.

And loved the views that would come in and out of focus.

This was at Mojave point, we stayed here about an hour taking was COLD and WINDY!!

Love that you can see for so far away and see the CO River.

Then the clouds rolled back in, but that was ok, we were gonna stick it out.

This view was from Hopi Point, one of the best sunset spots on the Southern Rim.

We loved the shadows and the colors.

One of my favorite pictures, I love how it's blue. Almost looks fake to me.

We tried to capture as much as we could before the snow and clouds would come back through. This was before a larger front came through before sunset.

Snooooooow! We toughed it out quite a bit. Snow, sun, snow, sun, snow, sun...etc, and wind!

One last glimpse at Hopi Point before we called it a day and started back toward the lodge.

The beautiful sunset covered in clouds, it was still gorgeous.

We saw these guys on our way back to the lodge :)

So after a full day and a bit over 8 mile hike we decided we'd head back to the hotel and make some dinner reservations. We decided to live it up on our last night there and had dinner at El Tovar. We both enjoyed the Filet Mignon and it was amazing! It was probably the thickest cut filet I have ever eaten before and it tasted soooo good! We decided the next morning we would get up early and head out to get pictures of the sunrise. Since one of the best locations for pictures was on our way out of the Park we packed up and headed out really early.

On the drive to the lookout of my favorites :)

The moon was still up and the sun hadn't started rising quite yet.

First peak of the sun hitting the tops of the canyon.

Jack trying to stay warm. We stood out there for a couple of hours and it was about 13*!

More sun hitting the tops. We it was beautiful.

The watchtower.

Jack really loved the pinks and blues. It was so pretty!

One of my favorite things was seeing the clouds cascade over the canyon rim!

The sun was really starting to rise and cast some pretty cool shadows!

Our new Argentine friends snapped this one for us :)

Trying to keep warm!!

These little guys sure were fun to watch :)
After snapping quite a few pictures of the sunrise we finally decided to make our way out of the Park and head back to Santa Fe. On our way back though we decided to grab lunch at Joe & Aggie's Cafe in Holbrook, AZ. It was used for inspiration for the movie Cars (the animated movie). We enjoyed some down home cookin' and then we were back on the road to see the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert.

Located on Historic Route 66.

Standing in front of some painted desert and petrified forest!

It was so beautiful. And no civilization as far as the eye could see!

These were called the Teepees.

Loved the train, Jack sped so I could hop out and get this picture. It went through the heart of the Park.

This old car is sitting on pavement from the old Route 66.

The Painted Desert. It was gorgeous!! :)
After we took in all the sights it was back on the road to Santa Fe. Jack conked as soon as I started driving (before I had even made it on the highway!) and slept for a majority of the drive back. It was a pretty drive. We are very thankful to be living in such a neat area of the country. We're also thankful that the Grand Canyon is just a half day drive from our house! Awesome!

For the full Facebook album if you aren't on FB. This is only a portion of all we actually took!