Majestic

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

Taking a Break

Wednesday – June 24

Day 20:

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Sometimes kids just need a break.  We told the boys that they could plan the day however they’d like.  They chose swimming practically all day and building legos.  There was an amazing swimming hole at our campground in Three Rivers.  HUGE bullfrog tadpoles made the site home.  The boys spent all day splashing each other and trying to catch tadpoles.  It took me and my hat to get it accomplished.

Day 21:

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Hills don’t bother me, hills and heat do.  Leaving California, South of Bakersfield, you still have to cross the very bottom of the Sierras.  It doesn’t look like the Sierras.  There’s no snow covered mountain tops or alpine meadows.  It’s lower.  And it’s hotter.  We left really early to beat as much of the heat as we could.  It felt like we climbed all day.  Slow stead hills were always ahead of us.  And the Arizona roads felt like moon craters.  Fortunately I have a temp gauge on my transmission and a tire pressure monitor system that also measures my tire temperature.  The good news is we are now heading east!

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Birthdays happen regardless of where you are.  Wyatt turned 8.  I remember the day he was born.  He has grown so much, changed so much, learned so much, and has is becoming a little man.  I am so proud of him.  I hope he remembers this trip forever.

Route: Three Rivers, CA to Williams, AZ

CampgroundGrand Canyon Railway RV Park

Time: Left 6:30AM PT.  Arrived 4:30PM Standard MT.  10 Hrs.  This is really confusing because we thought we’d lose an hour going East.  Not so.  Arizona doesn’t practice day light savings time.

What Goes Down Must Come Up

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark. – John Muir

What I learned, Day 8:

I learned how to embed videos!!  Now you’ll get to see what I’m talking about instead of relying solely on my description.

FullSizeRender 122 What goes down, must come up.  Our first stop of the day was Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  It was probably the one thing I couldn’t wait to see in Yellowstone.  Sure, you can see it from above.  But why when you can see it from below?  So down we went the Brink of Lower Falls Trail.  Here again maps fail you at scale.  The trail didn’t look too bad.  And several times we thought we were nearing the end.  Why not?  The water was right there!  We could hear the falls!  But switchback after switchback down we went…. down down down.  No one warned us about up up up.  They did look winded coming up.  But they were all so unhealthy looking.  Nope.  All of us look unhealthy coming back up.  The air is thinner too so everyone is breathing heard.  Fortunately it was well worth the effort.  It was one of those moments when you get down to the bottom, your knees weaken, you grasp the handrail with white knuckles, and maybe say a choice word in your head.  It was magnificent.  One of my favorite things I’ve done so far. FullSizeRender 127 FullSizeRender 123 IMG_0347 FullSizeRender 124 FullSizeRender 131 FullSizeRender 125 FullSizeRender 130 Yes, it really is that color.  Every time I saw pictures of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, I thought, “Why do they have to put that old timey filter on it?”  It just has an appearance of an old photograph.  But it really is that color!  These photos have no filter.  The whole canyon looks like it is oversaturated, over contrasted, and over the top.  It is breath-taking.  By far the best spot in Yellowstone. FullSizeRender 128 This guy is an idiot.  That’s all I have to say about that. FullSizeRender 120 FullSizeRender 116 The elk don’t care you are there.  These females were just enjoying their morning.  What you can’t see is to the left a baby elk romping around.  The bull we saw at the Canyon.  If you see a traffic jam, its probably elk… or maybe these… FullSizeRender 119 FullSizeRender 118

The bison don’t care you are there either.  Just don’t get too close.  That big one in the picture was grunting a lot as we passed by.  I just figured it was best to keep moving.  I love the candid moment in the video…. “What’s nursing mom?”  Another discussion for another day. FullSizeRender 129 FullSizeRender 117

Blue means hot.  The center of these pools are around 198 degrees.  Some of them can be more acidic that stomach acid.  And they all usually smell.  But they are so beautiful to look at.  Deep blue colors that look like the ocean waters of the caribbean. IMG_0374 IMG_0382 Fishing is good for the soul, even if you don’t catch anything.  A majority of Yellowstone is fly fishing only.  We have spinner rods.  What I learned is that a fly is too light to cast.  That is why fly fishing uses the weight of the line and the whipping action.  So to fix the problem they sell you little clear bobbers.  Worked like a charm…. except we didn’t catch anything. Kids could have cared less.  And I have no idea why Wyatt is ducking.

Route/Itinerary: Yosemite National Park.  West Entrance to Canyon.

  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
    • Inspiration Point
    • Artist Point
    • Brink of Lower Falls
  • Noris Basin