We awoke the next morning eager to see the Canyon. None of us Massaros had ever been there before so even the quick visit was enough to excite us. We enjoyed a yummy breafast buffet at the hotel and set off...
The line to get into the National Park area was long; we felt as if we were in line at Disneyland! The passes are 7 day passes, no cheaper option for a single day but well worth the price nonetheless. We drove through some curvy streets and parked in one of the first lots. We snapped a few pics under the Vistors Center sign and headed up the trail. I took a few shots of our march, I breathed in the mountainous air, I anticipated.
O.M.G! The canyon is literally breathtaking! It almost looks fake- like a backdrop hung across the sky. It's not at all like I imagined but it is even more grand. What an amazing God I serve! As we stood there gawking, my heart rate soared. I was kind of a mess. My poor kids heard no end of my rants- "Don't do that! Sheesh! Don't get so close! Oh, stop stop! I'm serious! You're freaking me out!" Sigh. I knew I was overreacting but there was no reasoning with my pulse. You cannot see your children in front of the Grand Canyon and be totally comfortable. You just can't. There are no rails, no safety measures of any kind, it's just a huge drop. There were moments I thought I might actually get sick. Luckily I didn't.
We continued to wind up the trail and stop now and again to gaze in wonder at the magnificence of God's hand. The layers, the cutouts, the obvious evidence of massive flooding. Why anyone would believe a little water and a lot of time over a lot of water and a little time, I don't understand. It was like viewing history. Soon the distant thunder suggested we might want to head back to the car and move on.
We were right.
The trail back down wasn't that long. But as the sprinkles gave way to large (and I mean HUGE) drops we began looking at each other in that "can you believe this?" way. The thunder was closer, it was louder, it dropped more rain on our heads. We giggled at the absurdity of it all. Nobody had an umbrella and we were getting pummeled. The rain steadily increased as we made our way back down to the Center and by the time we reached it we were drenched! We were laughing, almost to tears, and nobody was cold so it was actually pretty fun and one of my fondest memories of the trip.
We hung out in the Vistor Center for awhile hoping to ride out the storm. We listened to a crazy, bearded evolutionist (seriously, this guy was crazy/silly as can be) tell the crowd how many millions of years old the canyon was. We felt stirred to put questions to him but alas, we chickened out. It was not lost on me that another seed had been planted in the minds of the children listening that there is no God who created the world, there is only billions of years and "natural" processes. No purpose to our existence. And we stayed silent, to our shame. We didn't feel ready to speak up. I barely feel ready to speak up here on my own blog. Such is the nature of my humanity. Anyway...
After a while we gave up and ran to our cars and decided to call it quits. The kids got souvenirs, Brandon left with my parents to continue their road trip to Colorado, and the rest of us Massaros headed out of the Park. But first we stopped at another view point which was spectacular! It was even fenced in for my peace of mind- yay! Once out of the Park we went in search of a coffee shop for the long drive ahead.
Okay. No offense to Arizona, really. But why is it that there is absolutely NO Starbucks in a 20 mile radius of Williams? Not just Starbucks, but no coffee shops in general. An employee at a Wendy's told us they served Starbucks coffee at the hotel up the road. So we stopped there and I went inside to get my cup o' joe. (I NEED my cup o' joe!) Nobody was at the coffee shop counter but I was told the souvenir shop girl also would help me with my order. Turns out though, that they don't serve Starbucks coffee there anymore. That's ok, I'm not a Starbucks snob- really, I'm not. What kind of coffee is this blend of yours? "Just regular coffee." Okaayy. Um, is it dark or light? Medium? Bold? "Just regular coffee." Sigh. I guess I really AM a coffee snob. Who knew! I ordered a mocha-something and she took my money at the souvenir counter before heading to the food station. There she opens a fridge and tells me she has no milk. Keep in mind, my family is out in the car and I waited for her for 5-10 minutes already before she would take my order (she was counting money in her drawer). I ask her how long till she gets her milk. She says 5 minutes or so. I decide ya know what? I can't wait that long! My man is getting frustrated with me enough as it is, making him drive all over this city looking for coffee. So I tell her I'm sorry I need to get going. She has to get a manager to get my money back. I ask if there is a Starbucks in the next 20 miles and she tells me no, she doesn't think so. I am very sad. Long story short... I didn't find any coffee in Arizona.
The rest of the drive home was somewhat uneventful. We slept, I read, we watched the same shrubs go by that we saw on the way there. We saw some flares in the night sky that could have looked like UFOs to those inclined to believe in such things. Oh yeah- and we almost ran out of gas! We had zero miles left according to the van's digital gas display. We pulled off the freeway only to find there was no gas station, or anything else, at that exit. We got back on the freeway and took the following exit- amazed we were still moving. Again, no station! Yikes! We finally found gas and praised God we hadn't ended up on the side of the freeway miles from home with no gas for miles around!
We pulled in around midnight and we all hit our pillows with exhaustion and satisfaction. It may have been just 2 days, and most of it may have been spent on the freeway, but it was a great trip! When's the next one?