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Published: October 27th 2013
Driving to the Grand Canyon
The canyon is in the distance, but you can't tell. Note the gentle undulations of the road...fun.
There is a family story I want to share. When Josh was little, and we would put him to bed, we'd kiss and say, "I Love You." He replied, "Too Wow." We think it meant 'me too'. It became a pet phrase. When Kim came along, she picked it up from her brother and used it. Then we went to Washington, DC, on a trip (Kim was about 15 months old and just starting to talk) and as we walked through the city, she would look up from her stroller and smile and say "Too wow". Then we turned a corner, saw the Washington Monument and Kim looked and said excitedly, "BIG wow!" We laughed and that has become a family catch phrase for anything really impressive...Big Wow. You can see where this is going....
We had reservations for 3 nights at the Trailer Village in Grand Canyon National Park. The ride there was wonderful and after passing through the gates with our Senior Pass (affectionately called our 'Older than Dirt' card since it has a picture of a cactus in the dirt), we arrived at the campground, checked in, and went and set up camp. It was still early
so we caught a shuttle bus to the Visitors Center. The NPS had natural gas city buses running all over the park providing pollution free transportation and helping reduce overall carbon emissions. And all shuttle buses are FREE. We got to the visitor's center, saw the movie on the Grand Canyon, then toured the exhibits and learned of the history and geology. Next we hit the bookstore and bought plenty of Christmas presents and remembrances. Then we headed for Mather Point and our first view of the rim.
We both had a catch in our voices and tears in our eyes. I'm sure if you have been there, you recall the feeling and emotion. It is absolutely overwhelming. As we stood in silence and awe, we heard others approaching for the first time and what can best be described as an utterance that was a cross between an oath and a prayer..."Oh My God!!", then silence. It was so vast, so big, so beautiful, so mind-numbingly wonderful that you are left without adequate words of appreciation, wonder or amazement. It just is.
For three days we took the shuttle to different parts of the
south rim and saw the canyon in various light hues. We shopped till we dropped (or ran the card too high--Christmas will be Southwest oriented this year) and marveled at the wonder in front of us. We took picture after picture and in reviewing them, I realize it is hard to get a BAD picture of this wonder. Some are better than others, but short of putting a finger over the lens, the Canyon is too wonderful to be spoiled by amateurs like us.
We spent one day in the Grand Canyon village learning the history of the area and that is marvelous. For instance, we learned that there is a school in the village with over 800 students, K-12. How cool is that? And we learned of the architect for many of the building, Mary Coulter, a woman today's young girls should study and use as a model for independence and perseverance.
Another day we took a shuttle bus to the west end, to Hermit's Rest. Different topography and view. We also learned from one driver, that this was the time of year when tarantulas migrate. Thought he was being funny. Nope--the males go in search of
We obviously missed the snowfall, but found evidence at the visitor's center. Three days after this shot, there was still some snow on the ground.
females and can be seen crossing roads, wandering through the sand, all looking for a female to mate with. Females (who are larger) stay in their den and wait for an appropriate male to come along then they proceed to procreate. Definitely don't want to get in the way of a determined male on the prowl.
On the way back that day from the west end, we saw a large herd of elk, including several large bull elks, grazing right along the road near the ranger headquarters. Couldn't get the camera out fast enough so missed the shot. Instead, we went back to Mather Point since they were reportedly there the past 3 nights. Guess they had moved on.
When we finally left, we exited the Desert View road and stopped further along the rim for new and different views of the wonder. This was a remarkable journey and we were and are still in awe. Instead of trying to inadequately describe what we saw, I have opted to just post a number of photos with a few words of explanation on some.
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