Friday at 4:30pm, when Mandy got out of work at the Prescott VA, we set the navigation to Grand Canyon Brewing Company. First, we made a pit stop for Mandy to exchange some clothes and get a new dress. Then we were on our way. It was strange in a way; Friday at 5:00pm on a holiday weekend and there was no traffic. It was so nice. And not at all what we're used to, having been in New England since forever. We made decent time and enjoyed the scenery and sunset along the way. We got to bring Loki into the restaurant at the brewery with us which was cool, but short-lived. He wouldn't chill, so Mandy put him in the van and we split a pizza and salad for dinner. It was pretty good food and decent beers although I think we both liked her mixed drink better.
We moved our van just down the street to the Dairy Queen parking lot after dinner for the night. We fell asleep pretty early. Saturday morning, we walked around Williams with Loki for a while. The town was so dead we could walk down the middle of the road for the most part. We put Loki in jail and then hauled him off to the pillory for being a very bad dog. Just kidding he's amazing we just wanted funny pictures.
We found the van again (not Vanagon, that's a Volkswagen) and drove north s'more. We made our way into the Grand Canyon south entrance. A while back, we got an America the Beautiful pass so entry was free. Mandy drove us to Shoshone Trail (the second stop after the entrance) because there was no parking available near Yaki Point (the first stop after the entrance). There were like two other cars near Shoshone Point. We had the trail almost entirely to ourselves.
Shoshone Trail is pretty flat, and pretty short. Our meandering pace got us to the rim after about a half hour. We found a lookout point just before we reached the end of the main trail. We just looked for a while and honestly, I don't know what to write about it here, just as I didn't know what to say while we were there. You look at it and it's unfathomably large and old and it's impossible to capture and relay that feeling. I'm just not that talented. You just had to be there, okay? So get off your butts and go. If you've already gone, you know exactly what I mean.
We made it to the end of the trail which comprises a much more expansive clearing, with a small rocky peninsula for almost-360-degree views of the canyon. This part was a little rough going because there were about a dozen elk lazing about the picnic area and Loki desperately wanted to sniff them. But we didn't want to disturb them, obviously. It's their home and we're the guests. So, we kept our distance and took only photos. We gave them a wide berth on our way to Shoshone Point. We spent a while longer just looking. And feeling small.
We weren't really sure what to do next, or where to go from there. We know there are numerous trails all around, but dogs aren't allowed below the rim of the canyon. And they're not allowed in buildings either. And a lot of stuff was closed for seasonal and/or pandemic reasoning. We decided to head to the visitor's center to figure out what we were allowed to do. But first, we stopped at the rear doors of the van to use our garden hose to wash off all our feet. There was a lot of mud on the trail that we didn't want to bring inside the house. The visitor's center wasn't explicitly closed but you have to set up an appointment for questions. There was a lot of information posted on the billboard which confirmed most of what we'd read.
Although we could have spent days gazing into the canyon from all different angles, we decided to head out to find a campsite early so we could have time to build a fire and cook dinner on it. So, we left and made the short drive to Mather Campground. With only two loops of campsites open for the winter, we were very lucky to snag one of the remaining available sites. We parked immediately and paid the fees. Then, we walked to the general store and back for a bundle of wood. We built a fire and got to cooking as the sun slowly went down through the trees. We had pork chops with asparagus and sweet potatoes. It took a while, but the process was enjoyable, and the results delicious.
After dinner, we chopped up the remaining wood into small bits to finish burning it off because we don't have a good place to keep logs in the van. As the coals burnt down to nearly nothing, we doused them with water and walked over to the closed area of the campground. Here, we looked up for a long time. Till our necks hurt. The night sky here was one of the clearest we've ever seen. The plane of our galaxy was clearly visible with our naked eyes. We tried to take some pictures with our phones, which did exceptionally well, considering. Then, we went to sleep.
We didn't stick around long Sunday morning. But, we didn't hurry either. We left when we were ready, that's all. Our plan for the day was only to explore Grand Canyon village and we pretty much failed miserably, and it worked out beautifully. As we drove to and through the village, we were feeling a bit hungry. Mandy suggested taking Hermit Road as it looked to offer scenic parking where we could make breakfast before exploring the village.
She was not wrong. We drove the road just a few minutes and pulled into the first overlook. We opened up our sliding door almost directly into the canyon. She made us bacon and eggs with sweet potato home fries while Loki and I sat in the sun and chatted with other visitors passing by. After a while, we decided to walk the path a bit that heads back towards the village. We didn't get very far, but we didn't mind. We had a long and lovely conversation with a gentleman who was preparing to hike into the canyon in the coming days. Several people stopped to pat Loki while we were stopped on the side of the path talking. It was nice to feel no pressure to keep moving. But eventually we did.
We drove to the next overlook, at Maricopa Point. We could see the river in several spots here, which was neat. We could finally clearly see how deep the canyon actually goes. It's really far down. We didn't spend a ton of time here, as it was a bit crowded. And we were starting to feel like we were seeing nearly the same thing over and over. So, we left. It almost feels guilty in a way. Like we didn't give it the deserved time. Or attention. But we can't realistically live there for a whole week.
We left and drove straight from the canyon to Flagstaff. We arrived mid-afternoon and went straight to a laundromat. Another laundry day. Exciting stuff. We went across the street afterwards to Target to get a few clothes and groceries. I got some shoes as well. We planned to have tacos, and by the time all that was done we were starving so we cooked right in the parking lot at Target. They were decent, but not our best work. Does anyone cook as well when they're wicked hungry? We're just too much in a rush. Anyway. We read the Home Depot there is friendly to overnight parking, so that's where we slept the night. It's not always scenic.
We had to be driving by 8:00am. It wasn't a hard requirement, I just wanted to get there early. But it was easy to achieve anyways. Just a quick loop around the parking lot with the dog and we were off. We drove across town and up and up and up. Back to Snowbowl. We've already been here once before but it's worth revisiting.
I had reattached my bindings to my skis along the drive, and we had plenty of time before first chair, so I did some stretching. My back was feeling sore, so I spent extra time. Eventually it was time to finish gearing up and head over to the chair. "Ten minutes," the lift operator told me. Since we were parked so close I went back for some ibuprofen, just as a security measure. Still made it back up with zero people in line and a few minutes to go before they'd let me on. It was my first ever ACTUAL first chair, so that was pretty awesome.
Fresh groomers everywhere from the top. There was no wrong move. There was also no ice. I found some moguls and sat on the fence for a few trying to decide. Then I sent it. They weren't icy either, which was awesome. I'm still improving in the bumps so it's fun. I took a bunch more runs all over then went back down for breakfast and more stretching. The soreness wasn't really improving which was unusual. And I hadn't really done anything the day before. But I wasn't ready to call it a day at 10:30am. I took my time and went back up. I stayed off the moguls after the first, and just spent the day cruising. Towards the end of it I went to the small terrain park. I watched a lot of people go through because it's fun to watch. Eventually, I went through and hit all the boxes. They were narrow so it was tricky but I did it and was so pumped. I hit a barrel, but it freaked me out. I can't tell if it's more or less slippery than the snow so the balance is weird. I didn't fall, but it was sloppy. I took a couple more runs and then went back to the van.
Mandy was making a loaf of sourdough, so we hung out in the parking lot for an hour or so while it baked. We made grilled cheeses with it after it had cooled just a bit. Some bacon pepper jelly in there. So delicious. We eat like kings in here sometimes. Not really, I think that refers to like a full blown feast. I just meant in the sense that the food we make in here is really tasty. I was pretty much useless throughout this process because my back was hurting far worse than the start of the day. Far worse than pretty much any day. I laid on the bench all the way back to Prescott. I reserved us a site in White Spar along the way. The least I could do to be helpful. By the time we arrived, only dog of us was hungry. So he ate, and we did the pre-bedtime routine early. All I wanted was to lay down more. We watched The Morning Show and then passed out after that.
6/3/2022 11:07:21 am
Gorgeous night sky! Looks like you guys are really having fun!
10/12/2022 10:19:43 am
Strategy close certain attorney statement. Deal better short generation turn today.
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"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
- Bilbo Baggins
We're just an adventure-loving couple with a puppy looking to share our stories with the world.