Back to our summer road trip!
After spending the night in Jerome, AZ we drove the next morning to Grand Canyon NP to set up camp for a couple of nights. This was an interesting car ride because Alex was sick a lot of the night and we had to make quite a few bathroom stops. Luckily by the afternoon he was well again and ready to see the Grand Canyon. This was an incredibly gorgeous drive through Sedona, which I hadn’t been through before, though once you hit the plateau south of the canyon the view isn’t as nice.
One of the best things about seeing the national parks, at least for us, is the fact that we get a free annual pass for being a military family. This saves us around $75 and gets us a discount on campsites in the parks. We would definitely buy the pass anyway, but the free pass is just an added bonus.
After pulling in there were some elk on the side of the road, which peaked the kids interest and for the next 20 min were happily looking for animals while we tried to find our site.
Setting up with an extra person at the site was so nice, everything went together quickly and no poison oak (unlike this experience). We had dinner and relaxed at the site. Fires were prohibited at the sites because of the dry weather, so we had s’mores over the camp stove. The weather during the day was pretty warm, high 80’s to low 90’s, which is super warm for us coming from about 20 degrees cooler in Monterey. The night brought temps that were just right, nice to sit out and watch the kids play.
Our second day there we headed over to the visitors center, and rim trail. We walked the rim trail a bit and the kids got to scramble over rocks at the top of the rim. We saw a condor, and the kids liked spotting the Colorado River. We then headed back to the campsite for lunch and Alex fell asleep in the car so we drove around the park a bit and got to see the train that comes into the park, which would be really neat to ride in the future.
After Alex woke up we hung around the campsite, played frisbee and balls. The kids also played in the dirt with little construction vehicles I picked up at the Dollar Store to put in Alex’s travel bag. The highlight of the afternoon was the elk that wandered past the campsite for a snack. The kids were so surprised to see one so close. Arabella also climbed her first tree while waiting for dinner, she was so proud.
A couple things we didn’t get to do, but would have liked to and will come back and do once the kids are a bit older are hiking the canyon and the astronomy party. I’ve hiked the canyon a couple times and it’s amazing to see the changes in geology and climate as you travel down into the canyon (plus in the summer it’s almost a billion degrees at the bottom…the best time to hike it is in the winter). The kids still go to bed fairly early, and bedtime is an important time for us to keep consistent because they’re nutso the next day since they still wake up early no matter what time they go to bed so we didn’t get a chance to head to the astronomy party. This only happens once a year, and tons of people come and bring their telescopes for you to look through.
The next morning was our time to pack-up and start driving to Arches. We wanted to get there as early as possible since we only had one night there. We ate, packed up and made a few stops on the eastern border of the park to see some different views and headed out to Arches from there.
Here are a few highlights from Grand Canyon: