Grand Canyon: Day 4

Departure Day.

The view out of our hotel window.  It was another snowy morning and Northern Arizona was under a severe winter weather storm warning.  


We had some breakfast and things started to brighten up so we visited the geology museum and walked along the rim.  It was still a little bit snow.  There is an awesome rim trail that runs 20+ miles along the rim. 



The Geology Museum was placed where it is because it is thought to capture the most diversity and beauty of the Grand Canyon and I agree that it was one of my favorite spots.   And this is one of my favorite pictures of the canyon.  The colors, shadows, clouds, vastness.  So beautiful!



While Don collected a geocache I got my one and only bear picture!


The Grand Canyon is about a 90 minute drive back to Flagstaff and because of the Winter Weather Warning we decided to get an early start and hit the road around noon.  Sure enough we drove through some areas where the road was completed covered with snow and visibility was bad.

Our train was scheduled to leave at 10 pm so we found a cheap hotel near the train station to spend our day.  We got checked in and Don returned the car to the airport. 

A look at one of the snowy Flagstaff streets.


At 10 pm we caught the train back to LA.  The only disappointing part of the train ride was that we only traveled at night.  But it was a great trip and we plan to train it elsewhere in the near future!


Grand Canyon: Day 3

I was super excited about sunrise and sunset photography at the Grand Canyon.  Sunrise wasn't until 7:15 am so it was totally doable.  

I got up early to catch this beautiful sunrise.  


(To give a little perspective, this was the view the previous afternoon. )


It was really cold and the snow was coming down!


Fortunately the weather changes quickly and by 8:30 am there were blue skies!


We were scheduled for a 10 am helicopter tour but the bad weather was grounding all the tours.  So we went to the visitors center, watched the introductory movie and checked out the view from there.



One crazy good and bad thing about the Grand Canyon is that most of it is just a drop off with no railing.  And it was snowy and icy.  I'm not sure how many people we saw standing on the edge for the perfect picture.  You can see all the footprints leading to the edge.


A look towards the visitors center.  The people give a little perspective on the HUGENESS of the Grand Canyon.



Quinn was really freaked out about us getting close to the edge, like in the picture above.  In the picture below Quinn was trying to get to firmer ground.



We had rebooked our helicopter tour for 1 pm.   They weighed each of us to determine where we would sit so the weight would be distributed.   Quinn and I got front row seats next to the pilot!


After we took off, we traveled over the Kaibab Forest to get to the canyon.


All the passengers had headsets and the moment we crossed over the rim you could hear everyone oooh and aahh and omg!  It was mind blowing.




Quinn was pretty pleased.



What a view we had!



The tour was about 45 minutes and then we headed back to the little airport.


They didn't give us much time to get pictures on the ground but here's Quinn and Don exiting the helicopter.


We stopped to get this shot on our way back into the park.


That afternoon we had planned to hike down in to the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail.  But it was very snowy and icy and Quinn and I weren't feeling so comfortable with it.  So we sent Don down the trail and we headed back towards the hotel.   Just having a great time!


I had scoped out some spots to get a good sunset picture.   Hopi Point is one of the most popular places and we were going to keep driving to a less popular area but we found a perfect parking spot.

It was really cold and I staked out my spot about 45 minutes before the sun actually set.  When the sun is peaking out from a cloud, you can get a really great starburst.  This was at 5:18 pm.


I captured another starburst just as the sun was setting around 6 pm.  By this point I was frozen.  But so worth it!!


Grand Canyon: Day 2

The train was running very late and ended up arriving in Flagstaff around 7:30 am.  But we enjoyed having breakfast on the train before departing.  

We caught a cab to the airport where the friendliest man ever got us in our rental car and provided us with lots of great information on getting to the Grand Canyon.  

It was about 9 am by the time we hit the road.   

We made our first detour at Sunset Crater Volcano.  Did you know that Arizona is covered in volcanoes that erupted about 1,000 years ago?








Next stop Wukoki.  This pueblo rises above the desert and can be seen from miles. 




Next stop, Little Columbia River Gorge.  Pictures just don't do it justice.    It was a long, long way down.  Quinn was a little freaked out by it and didn't want to get too close. 


A pretty amazing sight.


We approached the Grand Canyon from the eastern side at Desert View as we knew we would be spending most of our time on the Western end of the canyon.  Our hotel was Thunderbird Lodge in the Village which is about 25 miles from Desert View. 


First view of the canyon and the Colorado River.  Wowza!




The Desert View Watchtower.  We climbed to the top.  I thanked Don for wearing that red pop-of-color coat!


We made several stops along the way towards our hotel and the Grand Canyon Village. 


Quinn had jumped out of his bunk this morning around 5 am when he heard his dad going to breakfast because he wanted to have breakfast on the train too.  He was zonked out at 3 pm. 


This is a view of the canyon right in front of our hotel.  By traveling to the Grand Canyon in February we were able to get a hotel right in the park and right on the rim. 

You can see the Bright Angel Hiking Trail that leads to the end of the plateau.  Easier to get down than up.  There is a camp group in the group of trees in the middle of the trail. 


We were pretty tired by the time we checked in to our room around 4 pm so we took a nap.  I woke up around 6 pm and looked out the window and rushed out with my camera.

This is about the same spot as the picture above taken at 6 pm. 


The sky and the canyon just kept on changing colors and did not disappoint.  6:15 pm