Tag Archives: Grand Canyon National Park

Heat Wave

Monday – June 29

Day 25:

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FullSizeRender 162 FullSizeRender 151Out West, if you don’t like the scenery, keep driving.  It will probably change within the hour.  Today is travel day and we have a modest drive to Virgin, UT.  To get there, we must go to Flagstaff, and head North, around the Grand Canyon, and up through the bottom of Utah.  First, I was pretty surprised by the terrain in Arizona.  Northern Arizona is cooler (higher altitude), and quite a bit of greenery to be seen.  As we drove around the Eastern portion of the Grand Canyon, we could tell it was getting lower, hotter, and more arid.  I was really excited that we got to see the Vermilion Cliffs.  They were beautiful red cliffs that showed layer upon layer of ancient history.  But as we climbed out of them, the scenery changed.  We started seeing scrub pine and small bushes – then larger pine.  The pine was thin enough that it looked as if someone had sprinkled them out on the hillside with a pepper shaker.  And suddenly, I felt as if I were back in the black hills.  At the bottom of the climb we were at 100.  At the top, where the Kaibab Forest is and the Northern entrance to Grand Canyon, we were in the 80s.  Then as suddenly as the pine appeared, they thinned to nothing and we were back in an arid dry landscape.  One of my favorite things about this trip is seeing how the climate changes from mile to mile.  It is an impressive site.

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There are more National Monuments and Parks than I realized.  When you go into your first National Park, you have to visit the Visitor’s Center and pick up a Passbook.  From then on, every time you visit a monument or park, you can purchase a sticker to put in the book and stamp it like a passport.  Driving 89A we came around a curve, descended a bit, and found this beautiful bridge spanning Marble Canyon what I think is the beginning of the Colorado River.  They had a visitors center and a place to stamp your book!  Plus we saw California Condor #54.

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“It’s just a dry heat,” is a load of crap!  HOT IS HOT!  Imagine walking outside and having a hair dryer blown in your face, and on your head, and on your body.  I’ve never felt heat like this before.


Rivers cool the heat!  Thank goodness we are camping on a river!

Route: Williams, AZ to Virgin, UT via Hwy 89A

CampgroundZion River Resort 

Time: Left 9:00 Standard MT.  Arrived 4:00 MT DST 6 HRS

Tuesday – June 30

Day 26:

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Zion is like the desert version of Yosemite.  It has its own huge named peaks and rock faces.  Zion is beautiful.  It is a beauty you can’t find anywhere else.

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For some reason, Zion NP doesn’t believe in air conditioning.  Its the hottest park so far and none of the buses have AC.  The Visitors Center is actually cooled through natural cooling towers.  Have no idea how its works, but it does.  If only the buses had cooling towers.

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Water is life.  We hiked to the Lower Emerald Pool and made sure to drench ourselves in the falls.  Then we ate lunch and soaked ourselves in the Virgin River.  It is an oasis in the desert.

Itinerary: Lower Emerald Pool

Light Show

Saturday – June 27

Day 23:

Guy knows his stuff.  We decided to let the kids play in the pool this morning and take it easy today.  Tonight will be worth the wait.  Until then, we chose Flagstaff and Salsa Bravo for an early dinner.  We saw the place on Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives.  MUY BUENO!!  We had our fill and headed on to the Grand Canyon once again.

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God’s light shows are the best.  My parents really wanted to see the Grand Canyon at sunset.  I’m glad they did!  What a beautiful site!  It seemed that every minute gave you a new portrait to look at.  There was a slight haze in the canyon from a fire, but I think it only added to the scene.  God’s creation truly is a work of art.  If you ever get bogged down in life and forget that God loves you and is looking over you, just take a moment and observe something from creation.  Look at the sunset.  Look at a blade of grass or a leaf on a tree.  Watch a bird care for her chicks.  Then remember that Jesus said He cares for you more than they.  The testimony of God’s creation is that He is mighty and that in His might He loves you.

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Apparently everyone wanted to see the sunset.  The buses were packed with people on the way back to parking.  Debbie didn’t think there would be much of a crowd.  WRONG!  People hanging onto the bars like monkeys, emitting their odor-ific B.O. only added to the ambiance.  That’s my dad’s grey head.  Notice which way he is leaning.  Jennifer and I have a code for body odor (B.O.) – Obi Wan Kenobi.

Itinerary:  Salsa Brava – Flagstaff, AZ; Hopi Point – Grand Canyon

Sunday – June 28

Day 24:

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If you want the oxen, you have to deal with the poop.  Today was repair day.  Jennifer and I went on a walk and on returning we noticed my slide topper had pulled out from the camper in the previous days winds.  I think it was simply bad installation.  So a 30 minute drive to Home Depot, Camping World, and some friendly camping neighbors to borrow some ladders, and the job was done.  Just enough time to walk around downtown Williams and witness another shooting.  Fun place to be.  I’d say I much rather downtown Williams over Flagstaff.  Less of a culture shock for me.  :0)

Itinerary: Downtown Williams


Friday – June 26

Day 22:

In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. – Theodore Roosevelt


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Don’t bring your finger to a gun fight.  What do boys love more than a cowboy gun fight!  Prior to our trip up to the Grand Canyon, we were treated to a cowboy show complete with a gun battle.  The boys loved it.  And even the dead cowboys rose to life and took pictures with the kids.  Is it just me, or does the sheriff look like David Letterman?

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Sometimes it’s nice for someone else to do the driving.  We’ve been driving a long time.  So the thought of a someone else taking care of the transportation is a nice reprieve.  The Grand Canyon Railway takes you from Williams, AZ to the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon, complete with Air Conditioning, and another resurrection of the bad guys from the earlier shoot-out.  They must have nine lives because they robbed the train.

I think Weston is enjoying the train.  This kid has always loved trains.  He has pointed them out every time we see them on the road.  He’s played with them all growing up.  Anytime we can do something like this we do our best to make it happen.  Plus, I didn’t know he could play fiddle!

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The Grand Canyon is certainly GRAND.  Majestic would be another word to describe it.  As would awesome, stupendous, gigantic, ridiculous, ginormous, unfathomable, etc.  When you walk up on the site from below, your heart starts to beat a little faster.  I think that is because your body knows once it sees the view, it’ll stop temporarily, as will your breathing.  It is truly a site.  I will warn you, that you have to get off the main area.  Get away from the village.  The our guide on the train said to avoid the shuttles.  I say take the shuttles.  Get away from the tourist trap.  There is less people and more view if you move to the red line toward Hermits Rest.  I got to hop on and see Maricopa Point and Hopi Point.  Hopi is where you’ll see your first glimpse of the Colorado River.  One day the boys and I are going to raft the Colorado!  Until then Jr. Ranger will have to suffice.

Itinerary: Grand Canyon Railway to Southern Rim