Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Grand Canyon

Two weekends ago the four of us went to the Grand Canyon. We had been cooped up too long with the summer heat. Michael came home early from work on Friday and packed the car. We picked the boys up from school and hit the road. The freeways were so jammed that it took over an hour to get out of the city.

We arrived at the campground without a reservation and got lucky. The weekend before Labor Day weekend was not booked solid. Michael and I pitched the tent in darkness, silent as ninjas, (almost) with our solar lanterns barely keeping us from tripping and falling on our faces.

The four of us were cozy in our snug little nest of a tent. The temps were warm at night and chilly in the early morning.

The next morning I watched my youngest son's face to see his expression at the first glimpse of the canyon. He was placid, and not amazed like I expected. He just said it didn't look real. He was right. It was so beautiful it was like we were looking at an illusion. Even though it was slightly hazy from the Los Angeles fire, it seemed hard to believe that anything so beautiful could be real. The child took it in stride, as if he could not be surprised by anything delivered by nature. Of course it's beautiful. What else would it be?

We spent Saturday and Sunday exploring the south rim, trying to see as many of the points of interest as we could. We didn't hike much due to the heat, but we went on a few easy walks and wore the kids (and ourselves) out.

Saturday afternoon we found some piles of wood for the taking where the forest was tidied to prevent forest fire, and we strapped some to the top of the car and took them back to the campsite. When we arrived, mule deer were calmly grazing through the campground, each casually keeping one eye on the campers who stood stock-still to watch them, mouths open in amazement. When the deer were about thirty feet away from our campsite, our youngest made a sudden dash to the car to get the camera, spooking the deer and sending them into a lightening quick flight. But they soon stopped again, as though nothing had happened, and let the child get close enough to take photos.

That night we placed the largest log we had found on the campfire, which was silly because it would have burned all night, while we unfortunately could not do anything but sleep. On Sunday morning when we broke camp, my dear husband strapped the remaining pieces on the car along with our gear. He knows me well. Wood found this way makes the best Yule logs.

We keep talking about the day when we can take the boys on a real backpacking trip, but for now these easy trail walks are sheer bliss.

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