Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Kris and Pebble at the Grand Canyon

Kris and Pebble at the Grand Canyon
Originally uploaded by kristopherjohnson

My stepson was going to spend the week of Christmas with his father in Tucson, so my wife and I decided we would spend the week at the Grand Canyon. It was a wonderful week, basically a second honeymoon.

We didn't do a very good job of planning the trip. We didn't reserve rooms at the hotel until early December. We didn't reserve a room in Flagstaff, where we had planned to spend a night on the way to the GC from Tucson. We didn't check the weather reports. We didn't have a map. We were very lucky that things turned out as well as they did.

We reserved a room at the El Tovar hotel, which is right on the south rim. We had hoped to get a suite, but had to settle for a deluxe room.

We got to Flagstaff early in the afternoon, so decided we'd just go the rest of the way to the park instead of stopping for the evening. Pebble called and eventually got a reservation for a room a day early.

Unfortunately, we had not checked the weather. About twenty miles from the park, we were hit by heavy snowfall and icy roads. We were in a Mazda Miata, which is not exactly an all-terrain vehicle. Faced with the decision to either go back to Flagstaff (an hour behind us) or get to our hotel, we decided to trudge on.

Twenty white-knuckled miles later, just after sunset, we arrived at the hotel. We both needed stiff drinks before going to bed.

The following day (December 24), we ventured outdoors. Pictures of the Grand Canyon really don't do it justice. It's huge. It's beautiful. It makes you feel infinite and infinitesimal at the same time.

Pebble the Nature Photographer
Originally uploaded by kristopherjohnson

Pebble and I each brought a camera, so we had a little photography competition. I'm pretty sure I won, but she disagrees. (Check out my photos on Flickr.)

On Christmas Day, another snowstorm hit. At lunch, we were given seats with "a great view of the canyon", but all we saw was white. We didn't leave the hotel that day, and we wondered whether we'd be able to drive that Miata out of the park when the time came to leave.

Subsequent days had better weather, so we had ample opportunity to visit various points on the South Rim. We decided to extend our stay an extra day, and got to stay in a suite the last night.

We were sorry to leave. This was the first time since our honeymoon that the two of us have been able to just have fun, without worrying about work, the kid, the dog, the house, and all that other stuff. But we do love our kid, dog, and house, so we were happy to be reunited with them for a belated Christmas celebration.

We hope to visit the canyon again during the spring or summer. And we'll definitely stay at the El Tovar again.

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