I have been putting this post off because I just really didn’t know where to begin. This is by far the most grand place we have been so far on this journey. I asked Marcus and Caroline where I should start. They decided I should start with the Haiku that they each wrote for their Junior Ranger book.
The big Grand Canyon Grand Canyon is grand.
Many colors make it grand. The Grand Canyon is awesome.
Orange, red, yellow. Grand Canyon is great.
By Marcus By Caroline
We were not sure if we should go to the Grand Canyon this time of year or wait until it was warmer, but Marc made the call and we were on our way. It was only about two hours from Sedona. We decided to stay right in the Grand Canyon National Park in Trailer Village. We saw elk near Mather’s Point and deer right in our campground.
Our first stop was the visitor center to get our Junior Ranger Programs. We all learn so much from doing this program. We watched a short film about the canyon at the visitor center and then headed out to take our first glimpse of the canyon. Just as others have said it is an amazing moment when you first see what God has created.
My fear in coming here when it was colder was that I wouldn’t feel connected to what I was seeing. For me this trip isn’t just about seeing this beautiful country, but feeling connected to what I see. Understanding its importance. Well after we saw the film and looked over the rim on our first day, we decided we would like to take a walk on the Bright Angel trail the next day. That evening we worked on our Junior Ranger books and read “Who pooped in the Park” and coloring books Grammy Red brought us when she visited the Grand Canyon a couple of years ago.
The next morning we packed our lunch and hopped on the bus(the bus from the visitor center or the campground or many other places in the park is free.) At first we thought we would go to the 1 1/2 mile rest stop (3 miles round trip) or maybe the 3 mile rest stop (six miles round trip.) We began our decent down the snow covered trail.
When we reached the 3 mile point we decided we could make it to the Indian Garden which was another 1 1/2 miles. So that is how we ended up 4.5 miles down in the Grand Canyon. As we approached 3000 feet down from the south rim it started to get warmer, the snow disappeared, mud then dry ground was under our feet.
Over the past month that we have been in Arizona we have been hiking a lot (more than 40 miles.) I think all that hiking was preparing us for this important trek. We reached the primitive campground at Indian Garden. There were many different plants and animals at this elevation.
We had a snack and filled up our water bottles and began our hike to the top. At first we walked through loose dry sand, as we climbed higher we encountered red sticky mud. When we reached higher we were in the snow again. It was difficult to walk up in the snow and packed ice. Caroline said every step she took she felt like she slide back half a step. I am sure at some point each of us wished we had only gone to that 3mile rest stop, but less than 6 hours after we began our decent we emerged from the canyon. I am so proud of Marcus and Caroline for making this climb with out any complaining. It was a real challenge for all of us.
When we were visiting the state Capitol in Phoenix, we had read about how tourism in the Grand Canyon had played an important role in the history of the state. We had seen pictures of the El Tovar hotel on the rim of the canyon. El Tovar has hosted Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Western author Zane Grey, and many others. It was built in 1905 in conjunction with the Santa Fe railway. We had a wonderful lunch and the price was very reasonable for such a fancy place. The kids meals were around $5. What a nice treat after our long hike the day before.
We walked along the canyon and stopped at the Geology Museum. We attended a presentation held along the rim describing the formation. We learned how this amazingly beautiful miracle was formed. We decided God knew this was the perfect time for us to visit. It was much less crowded than at most other times and it was perfect hiking weather.