Monday, January 17, 2011

Half a canyon

Yesterday I had the following conversation with a friend:

Friend: It's free to go to national parks this weekend.

Me: Why is that?

Friend: They waived the entrance fees for Martin Luther King Day.

Me: But, that wasn't part of his dream.

Friend: No, it was. They just shot him before he could say it.

That conversation reminded me that I meant to blog about my last trip to a national park, which only lasted for about thirty minutes.

I left my parents' house the day before New Year's Eve to take my kids home after having them for Christmas. We decided on the way up that, weather permitting, we'd take the slightly longer way back to Arizona and stop at the Grand Canyon. I'll let you be the judge if the weather was really cooperating with us. Here are a few pictures of the roads we drove on for the first five hours or so of the trip:

They got slightly better after that, but only for a short time until we got caught in the second wave of the storm system for another hour or so.

We did make it to the Grand Canyon though. When we got there it was freeeeeeeeeeezing (yes, that many Es). It was seventeen degrees, with a heavy wind blowing. The park ranger at the gate acted like we were crazy for trying to visit the park on such a crappy day. I told him we just wanted to go to an overlook real quick, see the canyon, then continue on our way. He said that was good, and to go to the first overlook, because that was the only one we'd be able to see anything from anyway.

He was right. I took this picture a couple hundred yards from the overlook. You can't even see the canyon yet.

My kids are geniuses and only had sweatshirts on, so they were freezing, but I still made them "pose" for this picture:

Obviously not the best picture I've ever taken of them, but it really was too cold for me to feel good about asking them to stand there long enough for me to take a second one. (You know, one without my shadow obscuring their faces, and without wind blowing Tortellini's hair every which way.) Immediately after I snapped that shot they ran to warm up in the gift shop that was nearby, at the base of a watchtower:

I stayed out for a few minutes longer to see if I could take some better pictures.

(I couldn't really.)

(What's so "grand" about it anyway?)

I'm glad we went, even if it was the shortest trip I've ever had to a national park. Next time though, I'm definitely going when it's warmer.


nobich said...

I like the second to the last picture that you posted- scary!! Anyway the pictures are just supposed to remind you of the day & it looked like the kids enjoyed it...

Troll said...

A termite walks into a tavern, sits down, and asks: "Is the bar tender here?"

Boxer said...

stunning pictures. I've never been to the Grand Canyon and I'm not happy about that. I've been close several times, but this year I've decided is the year I'm going to visit. But not when it's cold.

Dee Ice Hole said...

This will be one of the trips they never forget---when they see the photo they will remember how cold they were.

PsychDoctor said...

I need to go this summer...

Bill From Gainesville said...

Love the Canyon.. Used to live in Flagstaff for 4 years in the early 80's and went a couple of times a year -- It is beautiful with the snow. (not that its not always beautiful, just particularly with the snow)

Michele1L said...

Those stark roads scare the crap out of me! I can't wait to go there someday.