Monday, July 31, 2017

Recap: Spring Break--Arizona!

I know it's been a while, but there has been so much (great) stuff going on that I haven't had the time or energy to write about it. So, here I am, trying to recap the important bits (4 months late!). Pretend it's April!

For Spring Break we headed with family out west--to Sedona, Arizona! The weather was beautiful, and both kids and adults enjoyed the natural beauty and fresh air. The kids love to travel, and they were pretty well behaved during the plane and long car trip.

The elevation change was noticeable in both temperature and vegetation.

We stopped on the way to Sedona from the airport to because of this incredible field of wildflowers!

Our big destination was the Grand Canyon. But before that, we took a few hikes! The sun was brutal; it's very easy to get a sunburn, even though the temperature can be cool. Elena's longest trek was 45 minutes--through a dry riverbed (read: ROCKS!), as we headed to the energy vortex at the end of the hike.

Great Attitude, Difficult Terrain

Sedona is truly beautiful. I wish we could have stayed longer, and that I could have gone longer on hikes. It was hard to do with a sore knee (still not fully recovered!) and kids who needed sun breaks--we'll have to go back!

Morning Hike with Viv and Grandpa

 We had a guided tour of the nearby scenery with Pink Jeep Tours. We headed out to a favorite watering hole for all sorts of animals. Although this area is heaven for hikers, we didn't do much walking--rocks and sun made short trips/motorized vehicles the best option for us.

I have to find sunglasses for Elena...

 On our drive to the Grand Canyon we stopped at a few overlooks. Truly breathtaking!

Family photo, grandparents edition!

Volcanic land looks like another planet

The Grand Canyon was spectacular! I had read that it was handicapped accessible, but I was pretty impressed with our experience. There was bus service all around the canyon, where you can get out and look. There are considerable crowds that wait for buses; handicapped people have priority access, but there may still be a wait. A lot of the viewing road is paved, with benches to sit and rest in the shade. There are air conditioned park centers along the canyon.

What a view!

Hermit's Rest

Canyon Girls

Once on a trail, we were on our own. Meaning, it's very possible to fall to one's death. I was nervous about my kids (Elena, especially) getting too close to an edge and tripping on a rock, so there was a lot of hand-holding and chastising for safety. Elena did hike part of the Bright Angel Trail (the most popular trail, the "easiest", and quite simply, terrifying for me as a parent). We went about 1/4 mile, down to the first arch. It was HARD--steep, rocky, without safety boundary, very crowded and sometimes only "two-people wide", and with people hiking with all their camping gear on their backs. (These people are near the end of a difficult 10-mile hike to the top, and still graciously giving us way as we try our best to navigate. THANK YOU SO MUCH HIKERS!)

E and Jason on the Bright Angel Trail

We have had a few experiences in National Parks, so much that we've been inspired to try to visit as many as we can. Thank you so much to the knowledgeable bus drivers, park staff, hikers, and especially our parents for helping make this trip so enjoyable!