Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Land of No

After two nights in Santa Fe, we headed for Arizona. Because there is no way we could drive to the West Coast without seeing the Grand Canyon!

First though, we made a stop for the night in Radiator Springs...

The Wigwam Motel in Holbrook was adorable. I couldn't believe there was a Safeway across the street. We picked up some supplies and had dinner in our wigwam. Perfect for a one night stop over.

Then we woke up early to catch a Grand Canyon Railway train. Oliver has been obsessed with trains since he was two years old, so this was on our "have to" list.

We opted to ride in the Pullman car because I thought it would be fun to experience train travel like they did in "the olden days" with the windows open (i.e. no AC). Also because those were the cheapest tickets. Aside from begging my sons to keep their arms and heads inside the train for two hours straight, it was a relaxing change of pace from all of the time I've spent driving.

The Grand Canyon Railway schedule is one train in and one train out per day. So if we did a day trip, we would have only had four hours there (11:30 a.m. arrival and 3:30 p.m. departure). I booked a room for the night so we would have plenty of time to get lost and wander aimlessly like we do.

After checking our bags at the hotel, we made our way to the rim. And that's when I realized that "the rim" means an actual ledge where children can fall into a city size hole in the ground. Our conversations on the rim went something like this:

Kids: Can we...?

Me: No.

Kids: But those people are...

Me: No.

Kids: Why do they get to...?

Me: No.

Who ARE these fearless people who sit with legs carelessly dangling into the abyss? And why do they make it look so fun? OH - let's get a selfie! Just a liiiiitle further back...just a liiiiittle closer to death by plummeting...that's perfect! Now everyone smile!


I told my children that they had to stay on the path or we would spend the rest of the day locked in our hotel room. Eleanor told me I was acting like Grug from The Croods. Apparently we both have very strong feelings about what doesn't look safe.

We all survived our our first stroll around the rim, and even went back for the sunset.

On the second day, I had planned for us to get up early and do some hiking before it got too hot. This did not happen due to amateur hour decisions made by me and a series of mishaps - all of which are too boring to detail. Let's just say that by noon when the sun had officially reached "searing" status, I was beside myself with despair over all of the hours wasted. This may be why I lightened up a bit on the "STAY ON THE PATH! THE PATH IS YOUR FRIEND!" ranting, and gave the kids a little space to explore.

We walked along a very crowded stretch of the rim and ducked into Lookout Studio and Kolb Studio for views and air conditioning (respectively). Then we made our way down Bright Angel Trail for a bit. That's when my children became the naysayers...

Me: Let's go down a little further...

Kids: No.

Me: Everyone stand right there! Let me get my camera...

Kids: No.

Me: Pick up the pace, we need to...

Kids: No.

I practically had to drag them back up the trail. Like they thought lying down and wishing themselves to the top was a option or something. As for getting a good picture, there didn't seem to be any angle where the sun wasn't in their eyes. So much for a Grand Canyon themed holiday card.

Aside from the threat of heat stroke (mostly my kids), stretches of grumpiness (mostly me) and fear of death by plummeting (100% me), we were all blown away by the majesty (there really isn't a better word) of the Grand Canyon. I wish we could have stayed a longer and seen more of it. Even at the risk of death by plummeting.

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