Friday, July 19, 2013

30 Before 30 Update: #4 Completed (Picture Heavy)

 In that brief space between Spring and Summer semesters, David and I took a mini-vacation up to the Grand Canyon.  We seriously hadn't had a vacation for just the two of us since our honeymoon 6 years ago!  It was wonderful to take a few days just for us, and as much as I love seeing friends & family, to not include anyone else for the main part of our trip!

We kicked things off by seeing Fleetwood Mac in Phoenix (which was amazing) and staying the night in the area with some good friends who recently moved up there from Tucson.  I was so excited for getting a bit of an edge on the day's driving by starting off a good 2 hours closer to the Grand Canyon than our house, but we ended up needing to take a detour down to Casa Grande.  I forgot my camera, of all things, and my father-in-law was awesome and met us about halfway between Tucson and Phoenix.  Driving all the way to Tucson and back would have added 4 hours of driving time!!

Anyways, it ended up being for the best, because he gave us a map and tipped us off to some ruins outside of Flagstaff we hadn't been to.  Now, granted, we had a GPS and our phones, but ever since we drove across the country 6 years ago, I've enjoyed having physical maps when travelling.  I think it makes me feel like "a real adult" since I didn't even learn how to read a map until that move.  Anyways,  we made excellent time, stopped in Flagstaff for lunch, visited the Wupatki Ruins, and continued on towards Grand Canyon National Park.

Our first night we are staying inside the park at Maswik Lodge, in one of their cabins.  The stand alone cabins have 4 separately booked rooms, but it really feels like you are in your own little cabin. We grabbed a snack and then headed out on our sunset bus tour I scheduled for us that evening.

It was breathtaking.  I mean, I know its a huge deal and people travel all over the world and yadda yadda yadda, but I guess I still wasn't prepared for how awesome it was?  I think it is good I did not do this when I was younger, because I definitely went through an "I'm too cool to get excited about things" phase and I wouldn't have appreciated what it meant to be at the Grand Canyon.

The next day we took the shuttle bus around the park for a bit.  Since our sunset tour took us along the western part of the south rim, we traveled back east towards where we came in.  After lunch we drove out to the Desert View Watchtower, which had some amazing views as well.

The background doesn't even look real! 

Once we decided we had done as much Grand Canyon sight seeing and picture taking, we headed out of the park and down towards Williams, where we were staying for the night.  We stayed at The Lodge on Route 66, which was an excellent choice.  Comfortable room, right on the edge of Historic Route 66, plenty of dining and touristy things within walking distance.
Patio outside of The Lodge

The next day we headed back to Tucson.  We decided to stop at Montezuma Well, a less well known portion of Montezuma Castle National Monument.  The Well is impressive enough, as it is this amazing blue green color, perfectly still, and just randomly there in the middle of the desert.  But, even more wonderful, a short walk around and behind the well is this amazing oasis!

Montezuma Well

All in all, it was such a restful and rejuvenating mini vacation.  Even though it was only a few days, not only did we get to do a lot of sightseeing and take a tour and walk and take pictures, we also had enough downtime to relax and just enjoy spending some time together.  I can't believe it's taken me this long living in Arizona to go to the Grand Canyon, but definitely looking forward to going back.

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