With Scottsdale’s temps inching up to three digits (in mid-April!), we jumped at the chance to spend a weekend in the mountains with cold air, campfires and a climb into THE canyon with a crew ready to make the most of Earth Week. One thing we didn’t expect: Snow! I’d spent the first two months of the year unsuccessfully chasing fresh powder on the Snowbowl slopes, and yet here we were at the end of the season, blindly making our way through the snow to the outskirts of Flagstaff in search of our weekend rental. Since we arrived in the dark and all sense of direction was lost on the country dirt roads, we had no idea our mysterious five-bedroom mansion was a small slice of heaven until the following morning:
Despite the snow, we didn’t come to Flag to ski. We had our eyes on a far larger (or should I say grander) prize.
The Grand Canyon. We were all pretty tickled to finally take in the monstrosity of a natural wonder that’s but a drive away. And I’m pleasantly surprised to report, the area surrounding the canyon is far less touristy than I expected. No hoards of people lining up for photos, no trinkets being sold at the side of the road, and in most places, no guardrails so you could get as close to the edge as your little heart desires (or your husband allows):
The wildlife in the park threw me for a loop. Muledeer hung out near the parking lots, horses sauntered over when called, and squirrels performed tricks for food. Or in my case, the camera. The animals’ comfort level around humans was the clearest indication that over 200 million people have traipsed through their home over the past decade.
Ah yes, another well-trained species there on the right.
There are tons of options for viewing, hiking, canoeing and camping the canyon from the north and south rims. Since we really only wanted to spend a half day in the park this go around, we drove the hour and a half from Flagstaff to the south rim, snapped a few pics near the Yavapai Museum, and then hopped on the orange bus to the trailhead. We went part of the way down the 7-mile South Kaibab Trail which leads to the base of the canyon, and back up again. (And by part I mean, a mile.) The beauty of this trail is that it’s not terribly difficult but awards you some stunning views, even if you aren’t going all the way down.
See that trail? Not incredibly steep, but a little slippery. Thankfully my ugly yet functional boots saved me from my usual tumbles.
Another trail, another ledge to hover over:
Yea, we just had to. (Literally – our photog insisted on a little romance with the view )
Our last stop-off before heading back up the trail. And with that, I’m fresh out of photos. Thanks to our entire truly awesome group for a magical weekend!