Sunday, October 25, 2009

A “Grand” Adventure!

***Note: After finishing this, I realized that it’s a really long post!  If you don’t want a play by play of the whole trip, just enjoy the pics – but do be sure to read about the time at the Grand Canyon.  It'll be worth your while!***

Globe Schools had their Fall break Oct 12-16, and with funds and time off for Randall being a little tight right now, but still wanting to do something memorable with the kids, Randall and I decided it’s time to make a trip to the Holy Land – Northern AZ!  Just to make it extra memorable and fun, we invited two other families from Globe – the Voelkers and the Hudsons.  Randall joked by saying that we needed a Police Escort!  (Dan is an officer with DPS and Brian is a K9 officer with Globe PD…)  Made sense to me!

We started with Sedona.  (I didn’t think I’d ever been there, but when we came home, my mom informed me that I had… oops…)

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From there, it was on to Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock State Park.  Dallin and Randall kept saying, “Are we back in Oregon?”  Talk about beautiful scenery!!  The trees overhang the roads and with the fall colors they were just GORGEOUS!  Slide Rock was FUN!  When we got there, the ranger said that the water was about 55 degrees, so we figured we’d just try it and see.  It was definitely COLD, but the kids handled it better than they did with swimming lessons… How?  I don’t know…  I realized tht most of my pics there were of Voelkers sliding through the creek. We Gordons were a little skittish with the cold, fast water.  Dallin did go once, but after screaming so much that he had to be pulled out by a random stranger, he promptly informed me that he “almost drowned…”  We really enjoyed ourselves too though – a beautiful place!  I can’t recommend it highly enough!


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After that, we met up with the Hudsons in Flagstaff, had a nice dinner (at IHOP – kids ate free from 4-10 – woo hoo!) hung out in the jacuzzi for a bit, then went to bed.  We stared off the next morning with a great breakfast at Kristin’s favorite place, Galaxy Diner – I’d highly recommend it now as well!  Good stuff!  Then on to the Lava Flow Cave – which I’d never even heard of before that.  It was a little too sketchy to be able to take Emory in (lots of rock climbing in the complete dark… flashlights only), so I stayed outside with Cecilie Hudson and Emory while Randall went down with Dallin.  They were the first to come back, followed a little bit later by  Brian and his youngest, Breanne.  Her feet were hurting.  Everyone came back up saying that it was a great time down there.  We all enjoyed seeing another of AZ’s fantastic holes!


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From the cave, we went on to the biggest hole of all -  The Grand Canyon! Parking at the first lookout was scarce, so we drove on to the next one…

And what a View!!


The last time I was at the Grand Canyon was when I was 10 – and at the time I remember thinking, “wow, it’s pretty, but what’s the big deal…” Well, Big Deal indeed!!  Such a different experience as an adult!!  It just goes on and on!


Now, I also have to clarify that I discovered about 3 years ago that I’m somewhat acrophobic – didn’t know I was afraid of heights before then!  The Grand Canyon with 10 children was a little stressful.  We instituted the “Spank Zone” (Dan’s idea – he was as freaked out about it as I was… real honest-to-goodness anxiety…)  That was the canyon side of the path.  Nothing but a 24 inch rock wall, and that’s only in the places that you might actually fall off the path.  Most places didn’t even have that!  (Apparently, people die there every year.  Last year, I remember on the news about a 4 yr old little girl… *shudder*… it was all I could think about while we were there… Emory never left the stroller until we were safely away from the path.)


So we walked the path for a mile or so, enjoying the sights, then decided to go on to the area where all the old lodges and hotels are. 


On the way there, we ran into a big herd of deer with two bucks.  One of them was rather huge!  Really cool!  It was getting close to sunset, so we went up the path to watch the sun go down over the canyon.


The colors that were so pretty before were really VIBRANT in the setting sun – a truly unforgettable experience!


Going… Going… and then it was gone.

We were in front of the historic El Tovar Lodge, so we sat on the porch and just relaxed and enjoyed the colors that were left behind by the setting sun.  As fun and exciting and really cool as the rest of the trip was – this was BY FAR the best part of the trip.  Brian asked each of us what our favorite part of the day was, and without hearing each other’s answers, we all said “sitting on the porch of the lodge!”  He just nodded.

So after dinner in Flagstaff, the Voelkers and the Hudsons drove straight home, and the Gordons went back to the hotel for one more night.  The rest of our stay just consisted of brunch, and looking at homes in Flagstaff – one of our favorite pastimes.
But this wasn’t quite the end of our trip.  The next day in church, we found out just why Brian nodded so enigmatically when we answered his question about the best part of the day.  He was speaking in Sacrament Meeting!  And I’ll do my best to paraphrase his talk.
He said that our trip to the Grand Canyon was similar to another journey in the Book of Mormon.  There was a path that was clearly marked that would allow us to safely reach our destination – the lodge.  There were lots of distractions along the way – a herd of deer, bighorn sheep, a chipmunk that the kids tried to chase.  There were also people we saw along the way that chose not to stay on the path.  (One guy was sitting – literally! – on a tiny ledge with a 500 ft drop underneath him, his legs swinging in the breeze!)  Why?  The view from that ledge wasn’t any better than our view from the path!  There were a few “casualties” to the Spank Zone, painful reminders to stay where it was safest.  But at the end of the day, we were surrounded by friends and family in a beautiful place with an incredible view, able to enjoy the fruits of our day’s labor.  What more could we want?  And after all that we go through – isn’t that what we really want out of this life? 
I have to say… Brian made an already incredible trip just that much more memorable to me.

1 comment:

Cline Family said...

Northern AZ. I miss it so. I've been in that cave. I tried to take Hyla on a date there once, but I couldn't find it.