Grand Canyon part 2: The Adventures of the Rest of Us

Please forgive the long break with no new posts. I still have every intention of sharing the remainder of the trip on this blog. I even have a bunch of follow-up posts planned. The pace and intensity of our everyday, not-on-the-road-anymore lives has picked up a bit recently, and often when I find the time to write, I’m just too tired to write it the way I want it to be. But it’s important to me to capture the memories before they fade any more than they have, and so I’m going to try to be a bit more disciplined and a bit less of a perfectionist about blogging.

In our last post, we introduced you to Lukas, who seemed to have a bit of an independent streak during our stay at the Grand Canyon and had some trouble staying with the rest of the family. But the rest of us had a great time at the Grand Canyon too! So at long last we share the adventures of the non-plastic Lindstroms.

The Grand Canyon had always been a dream vacation for me. The one that was always just out of reach. My family planned trips there on more than one occasion when I was growing up, but we just never got there. Staffan got to go once before we were married, and has fun stories to tell about helping a Boy Scout troop with car trouble and eventually getting to camp with them down in the canyon on their permit. Another story for another time (definitely a good one though!) but after his visit this place became the stuff of legend in my imagination. So you can bet I was excited to get there.

We chose to camp at the campground that’s in the national park itself (campground information and review to come in a later post). We arrived there in the early afternoon, checked in and set camp. Then we walked to the visitor center (not a very long walk, but you can also take the shuttle bus) to stamp the kids’ national park passports and get a little more information. And then finally… after all these years… we walked out to the first view point of the canyon itself. It’s hard to say exactly how I felt, but my excitement was mixed with a bit of fear. What if the real thing couldn’t live up to the legend I’d created in my mind? After all of the waiting and longing… what if I was disappointed? I looked hard at the ground and the back of the stroller all the way until I reached the fence. I took a deep breath and raised my eyes. I was not disappointed. If you’ve been there, then you know that it’s the kind of thing that can’t be captured… not with words or with a camera. If you haven’t, the only way I can describe it is that in 20 years of dreaming and imagining, with the help of photographs and paintings, I still hadn’t quite expected the grandeur that was before me. If you haven’t been there, go.

IMG_2641 panorama

Next time we go I want to take another family photo on this rock.
Then maybe frame them side by side! 

IMG_2645 IMG_2656I know it can’t be captured with a camera, but we still had to try

We spent that first afternoon riding the shuttle bus loops, getting off at different viewpoints and just taking it in from some of its many angles before returning to the campground. We had dinner out that night in the Village and spent the evening planning a hiking route for the next day.

IMG_2671

This pose was her idea.
And people complain that I don’t post enough pictures of myself

IMG_2665 cropped

Approaching sunset

Our hiking day in the Grand Canyon proved to be slightly less idyllic than the day before. As is the risk when traveling with small children, Emelie was having a tired and cranky day. It was one of those days when it seems everything is a battle. Everything from wearing pants (it is NOT warm at the Grand Canyon in the end of October!) to not climbing up on the rocks designed to keep people from plummeting down into the canyon (slightly less trivial) seemed to cramp her style and lead to some kind of tantrum. We expected these days would come, and we managed to keep her alive and even enjoy many parts of the day. But it also seems appropriate to issue a formal apology to anyone who may have sought to gaze into the amazing beauty of Creation in silent reverence on that day. I’m sorry that your experience was punctuated, not infrequently, by the screams of a three-year-old. We did our best.

IMG_2678On the trail. Maybe hard to see, but Emelie has Lukas on her shoulders.

IMG_2679

Former Adventure Camp friends… know what those are?
Eating Oreos on mountain peaks is an important tradition to teach your children. Hard to say exactly where the “peak” is when the whole hike is at the top, but that just means you can stop and eat your Oreos anywhere!

We hiked our planned stretch of trail along the South Rim, awestruck again and again by the view. I itched to turn off onto one of the trails that lead down into the canyon, though I knew of course that it would be dangerous to attempt that hike with small children and no camping reservations at the bottom. We had chosen a trail that paralleled one of the shuttle bus routes, so that we could go as far as we wanted and when we were tired, just hop on the shuttle and connect back to the campground. This worked great and allowed us to adjust the length to our needs at the time.

IMG_2654Okay, so I couldn’t resist going down one of those trails just a little!

In the morning it was time to pack up and get back on the road. But not before a stop at the East Entrance visitor center and one last view from the Desert View Watchtower. We will be back, Grand Canyon. With bigger kids and camping permits.

IMG_2717Desert View Watchtower

IMG_2720It’s designed to look like an ancient structure, but it’s really from the 1930’s

IMG_2716Good bye for now, Grand Canyon. We’ll be back when we’re bigger!

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