Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend at the Grand Canyon: Day 1

Friday, April 24, 2015
Tucson to Tusayan 
The Grand Canyon

In our year and a half of living in Arizona, we've traveled all over the state and explored in many beautiful and scenic places. We made it our goal shortly after moving here to make the most of our time here, and now in the final stretch, we're remembering all of our adventures and are so thankful that we took the time to do this. We've hiked hundreds of miles in this state, up mountains, through canyons, in deserts and forests. Our "Arizona Bucket List" is nearly finished...there was only one hike we really needed to do before moving. One more attraction to visit together. It happens to be the most popular attraction in Arizona, so how could we not go?! 

Yes, I'm talking about the Grand Canyon! Technically, we did hike it last fall during our Supai adventure, but we decided we still needed to do a hike in the National Park. Curtis and I had both visited it on our own family vacations before getting married, but hadn't done much hiking during our visits. We also needed to see it together. We decided that when we did go see it, we needed to hike it down and up in a day. Our friend Mitchell had done it before, so we knew it was possible as long as we stayed in shape. And after our Spring Break trip in Utah, we knew we were ready, so we planned this trip!

We were excited to share this adventure with our friends Mitchell & Julianna. Charlotte was equally excited to enjoy a weekend with her boyfriend, Max. A HUGE thank you to Austin and Seneca for watching the puppies for us...we hope the dinners and dessert were enough to make up for any trouble they caused. ;) We met at Mitch's on Friday morning, packed up his car, and were on the road by 10:30. Next stop...Flagstaff!

Whenever we go to Flagstaff with Mitch, eating at Mama Burger is always a given. It's a hole in the wall burgers & fries restaurant and is actually delicious! I'm always kind of a skeptic when it comes to small local restaurants, and so I would usually just order sweet potato fries, but today was the first day that I finally gave in and tried a burger, and I was not disappointed! 

I had the Kaluah burger, with peppers, lettuce, swiss cheese, and pineapple. We all split the Boatloads of tater tots and sweet potato fries, and Curtis and I split the Black Forest milkshake, which was chocolate with cherries. 

If you've been reading this blog for long and have seen pictures of Curtis and I hiking, you might have noticed that he sometimes wears a Mama Burger shirt. Yes, it's from this restaurant, and we're happy to recommend it. Curtis once shared a moment with some guy at the visitor's center in Joshua Tree National Park over that shirt.

So yes, I guess you could say we recommend this place if you're ever in Flagstaff!

As we prepared for this weekend, the one thing that was concerning us was the weather. We were all watching the forecast as the day drew nearer, and it seemed to get worse and worse. A chance of rain, 90% chance of rain, chance of thunderstorms, lows in the 20s, chance of snow. We really didn't have much of a choice though - this was really the best weekend for all of us, and we already had reservations. I decided to accept the fact that we could very well be wet, freezing, and miserable for the entire hike. If that's what you expect, then there's no way you can be disappointed!

It rained on us for parts of the drive up and was mostly cloudy, but once we were past Flagstaff it stayed dry for the rest of the day. I think that's because we stopped to buy umbrellas. ;)

We even got to see a rainbow as we drove! 

We reached Tusayan at 5:30, checked in to our hotel, and then drove to the national park. Julianna had never been here before, so Mitchell had her close her eyes as he drove us to Grandview Point. He then guided her to a great scenic point, while Curtis and I played paparazzi to catch her reaction. :)

BAM! What more can I say? Grandview Point at sunset. Here's a picture overload for you:

The Colorado River in the distance

First time here together!

After I remembered he was wearing my pink hat, I yanked it off for a "good picture" :)

Mitch & Julianna :)

The guys had planned a secret dinner for us on the rim. It was cold and windy, but we held out for as long as we could to watch the sun go down. Mitch made delicious chicken fajita -style quesadillas with guacamole for dinner, and we had a prime location to sit and take in the views. It was a gorgeous night. :)

We saw several elk during our trip, but this is the only picture I got. They are all over this area!

We returned to our hotel and enjoyed apple pie pizza and wine. We went to bed early to be ready for our 4:30 alarm!

This picture was specifically requested by Mitchell: Our toilet paper heart. :)

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