“Go west young man, go west!”
I’m not sure who said it and from what I can gather on the internet no one else does either, but that is what we did.
We headed out west and did a grand loop starting out in Arizona and then hit a multitude of National Parks, passing through eight different states and driving through uncountable National Forests.
Did y’all know that by my count there are 142 National Forests in the United States? However the US Forest Service says there are 155 National Forests and 20 National Grasslands. All total there are about 193 million acres of forest and grassland in the United States.
I’d call that a BIG WOW!
We did not drive through all 193 million but it seemed like it.
As vacations go this on was one for the books.
It was not a sit on the beach with a frozen Margarita kinda trips, I did partake of one margarita over dinner one night in Denver but that somehow doesn't count as rest and relaxation in my book.
All kidding aside, this trip will be remembered as one of the most amazing trips we have ever taken.
Each day we were surrounded by God’s amazing creation and each day I was re-impressed by just how awesome God really is.
My DD commented to me almost every day that I needed to find a new adjective as the word “IMPRESSIVE” kept popping out of my mouth at every turn.
It was to date our longest vacation ever! Ten days, but we took full advantage of every minute!
We flew out on Saturday, June 19 to Phoenix. We have family there and they were kind enough to open their home to us upon our arrival. We spent Saturday evening and all day Sunday with them and then picked up our rental car on Monday morning and pointed it in the direction of the Grand Canyon. We flew back home on Friday, July2 and have spent the last two days recouping from our trip.
I cooked last night for the first time in nearly two weeks and I have managed to get though almost all the laundry and have restocked the pantry and we now have food to eat.
I kept my journal close at hand and managed to dash off small observational notes for myself as we drove. It is amazing at the small strange oddities that you notice as you cruise down the road.
We don’t have roads named “Horse Thief Basin Road” or “Bloody Basin Road” or water ways called “Big Bug Creek” in our neck of the woods. As we passed these places I just had to wonder how big the bugs are at “Big Bug Creek”. I also don't think I want to know where the name ‘Bloody Basin” came from either!
As I said earlier I took over 1376 images and I will refrain from sharing each and every one with you, I will try to pare it down to a select few.
So her we go with the GRAND WESTERN LOOP of the SUMMER of 2010!
Leaving Arizona the landscape is dotted with these amazing cacti! Y’all I don't think I could take the heat. In the few days that we were in Arizona the thermometer topped out at 115 degrees! It was like walking around in an oven.
Being advised by the cashier at a local diner, Chase’s Diner, where we had breakfast on Sunday morning that a stop in Sedona was a must on the way to the Grand Canyon. Well since it was in fact on the way we made a slight detour in our itinerary!
It did not disappoint!
The Red Rock formations were simply breathtaking!
I am not sure what I was expecting, but it was defiantly an experience visiting the Grand Canyon.
I had this immediate sense of shock and awe as I tentatively stepped off the asphalt path to approach a bit closer to the edge. Maybe about six inches off the asphalt path as my anxiety over high places was in overdrive.
The best way I can describe the experience is this. My heart was pounding! I had an irrational fear of being propelled by unseen forces to leap out over the edge (like that was gonna happen) or the even more irrational fear of the ground was simply going to crumble away beneath my feet.
My very first thought as I pushed my heart back down my throat as I caught my first sight of the Grand Canyon was “This must be only a fraction of what it will be like to stand before God on the day of my judgment.”
My physical and emotional state was a jumble of feelings. I was mixed with a profound fear and unexplainable awe all at the same time.
My rational mind told me that I was not going to go temporarily insane and fling myself from the edge, but the thought of falling off the edge was making my heart race and my pulse pound. My eyes even watered and I thought I was going to burst into tears. But not wanting to look like an idiot I manages to get myself under control.
As we walked down the path along the South Rim of the canyon my thoughts could not help but fall on our AWESOME creator. I began to wonder exactly what it is about some people that make it so difficult to believe in a Supreme Creator of all things.
How could you not acknowledge His POWER when you approach something so majestic. I walked away for the experience simply amazed that some people choose to see only the scientific and fail to recognize the divine inspiration God has chosen to share with us.
It was beyond description.
One of my less majestic observation were these folks pictured below, who clearly had “LOST THEIR MIND’S”, and had ventured out well beyond the safety of the solid foundation of the asphalt paths. I quickly averted my eyes in the event that one of these mentally ill persons should unexpectedly plunge to their death.
There was also an insane Asian woman who was allowing her toddler free reign as we strolled along the wide open gapping expanse that about sent me over the edge as well. I can safely say that there is no way in “y’all know what” that I would ever venture to the Grand Canyon with an unpredictable toddler in tow unless said toddler was safely attached to me with a heavy duty tether.
Having never been to the Grand Canyon, as I said before, I am not sure what I was expecting. It was much more developed that I anticipated. I am told that the North Rim is a bit more pristine, but as we were on a somewhat tight schedule we did not have time to venture over to the other side of the canyon.
We parked just outside of the park and availed ourselves of the shuttle busses that ran through out the park on a regular basis. The busses were a bit on the slow side and we did find ourselves waiting a bit for the next one to arrive but given the number of people who were at the park on that day it probably would have been just as problematic looking for an available parking place.
The instruction that the Park Ranger gave us as we traveled into the park about encountering any possible wild life was fairly specific. Her instruction were simple and straight forward. If you could take your arm and extend it full length from your body and place your thumb out and cover the animal up with your thumb then you were at a safe distance from said animal. She cautioned us that approaching any wild animal no matter how docile they may appear was strongly cautioned against.
Well as we stepped off the shuttle bus and headed for the main path to the South Rim we see up on a hill by one of the establishments this fine specimen of Elk (I think is was an Elk anyway) and as he was casually lounging under the shade of a stand of pine trees less that three feet away. As I held out my arm and tried to blot this great big Cervus canadensis with my thumb, well it just wasn’t happening.
As we quietly eased past him as he amiably chewed on his cud we felt relatively safe that we were in no danger for being gored by his sweet little fuzzy antlers.
We left the Grand Canyon at about 7:00 PM just as the sun was setting.
One day I hope to get back to the park to experience seeing the sun set over the Grand Canyon, I am adding that to my Bucket List! However with time being a finite kinda thing we had to keep moving.
I settled for this which was pretty cool I thought!
As it was it was past 11:00PM when we finally deposited our suit cases in our hotel room in Las Vegas.
We fell into bed and went straight to sleep!
Stay tuned for Hoover Dam and the Las Vegas Strip!
Robin A.K.A Really Glad To Be Home!
I’ll be back to my normal posting for Project 365, Random Dozen and Friday Flashback’s and other various life observations after I’m done with my Vacation Wrap Up!