Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Break!

HEY! So much has happened since I last posted. As I described in a few posts already I am in school still (still working on that bachelor's of science in Mechanical Engineering) which means I recently had Spring Break!

Chris decided to plan a wonderful camping trip to the Grand Canyon. We had a great time starting March 26th when we left for the campgrounds. It took us approximately 7 hours to get to the Grand Canyon which felt like much more to our ears since we were driving in a very loud Jeep wrangler. Chris fortunately put on the full cloth top instead of the half top that he usually has on the Jeep. The cloth though is really not that great for driving at high speeds (like on the freeway...which just so happened to be the entire trip there), but we made it with the help of a pair or noise canceling headphones and our good sense of humor (as seen in the picture below).

I absolutely HAD to take pictures of all of the cool signs we saw like "Historic Route 66" and the signs saying we were getting close to the Grand Canyon.

Despite the noise in the Jeep, we made it and set up camp around 5 or 6 pm. We realized we had forgotten a few necessary things like bowls...and shampoo. Not that those relate to each other but food and cleanliness are pretty important. Luckily the little Grand Canyon store down the street had all of this. We were absolutely exhausted after a full day of driving and setting up, so we started a fire, ate, cleaned up, and went to sleep.

The first night, I HATED camping. I had never really been camping before (well once, but I wouldn't really call it camping) and even though I had a sleeping bag that was rated for 20 degree weather, my feet were painfully cold in the 30-40 degree weather there at night. Luckily Chris had brought his emergency thermal blanket which he searched for at 2 or 3 in the morning for me to wrap around my feet. I was good for the rest of the trip :-). The first day we decided to get an early start to see the Canyon since I had never been! We drove to the canyon and realized it was only about a mile away from our campgrounds (very convenient). I was absolutely amazed when I first saw it! I have never seen something so incredibly vast and beautiful. We first went to Yavapai which is one of the main overlooks. We then proceeded to take a .6 mile walk around the edge to the other observation area "Mather's Point." They were both amazing.

I was reluctant to stand near the edge at first since I highly value my life and just could picture my body plummeting to the bottom of a canyon while my husband watched in horror. That fear was quickly forced out of me since Chris wanted to stand on the I made him hold my hand in a death grip. Once I stood there on the edge (at some points with no bars) I really felt super small.
The next few days we continued to seek out other little overlooks that would give us a great view of the canyon. We even decided to take a steep hike down the canyon wall. I recommend the going-down-the-canyon part but highly discourage the walking-back-up-the-canyon part..even though that is the only way to get back to the top where civilization is :-D. Once the long and strenuous hike back up the canyon was done we just took the next day easy and hung out. We saw some deer and elk but the sign "it is illegal to feed or approach the wildlife" kept me from trying to pet the deer. Each night at the Grand Canyon the temperature dropped down to around freezing and during the daytime the temperature would get up in the 60's. Our second night it even snowed!

We had a great 3 and a half days at the Grand Canyon and then decided to head Northwest to the great Zion National Park in Utah. It took us about 5 hours to get to the Park where we promptly set up our tent. It was much warmer at Zion (I'm not sure if this was because we were at the bottom of the Canyon this time), but the daily temperature got up to about 80 and the nightly temperatures were a comfortable 50-60. At Zion we took a few hikes around the river that flows through the canyon (which if I recall correctly it is the virgin river) and spent the day "ooh-ing" and "aah-ing" at the rock formations and crazy awesome views that Zion has. We spent a day at Zion and decided we should head home a little early so I could get some homework done before Spring Break ended.Overall 3 days at the Grand Canyon, 2 days at Zion, freezing feet at night, 2 showers during the whole trip, a really noisy Jeep, and amazing views that I will never forget, it was SO worth it! I will go back to those places eventually, they are just the most amazing things to see.