Westward Wanderers

Since adopting the farm life (rather, the farm life adopting me), I have come to have different appreciations for the different seasons.

With such a busy spring, summer, and fall, winter has become our time to take a step back, recharge, and do something fun together. For the past several years, that has been listening to the ocean waves in the Caribbean. This year, we were looking for something a little more adventurous.

Okay, that statement is a little untrue. Ricky was looking for something a little more adventurous.

I always like the idea of adventure, but have never been an outdoorsy type. I am satisfied with a Pina Colada in one hand and my Kindle, loaded with a good book, in the other, soaking in the warm rays of sun in between my frequent sunscreen ritual.

With the encouragement of those who have gone before me, I tucked away my growing ‘To Read’ list and began shopping for the warm layers I surely needed. The agenda: The Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona.

We started out with a late flight on a Friday afternoon and hit the road Saturday morning, watching the landscape change (and temperature drop) as we ventured north from Phoenix toward the Grand Canyon.

Montezuma’s Castle 

We made a pit stop at Motezuma’s Castle and reached the Grand Canyon in the afternoon. As we scoped out the rim, hikers arriving at the top told us about their trip, and we planned out our first hike.

The next morning, after layering up and buying a pair of crampons to help with traction on the ice at the trailhead, we set off on our ambitious first hike: 3 miles (and 2,000 vertical feet) down to Skeleton Point and back up.

Even though it was snow-covered at the rim, about a mile into the hike it was quite a bit warmer and sunny. And gorgeous.

Grand Canyon
Cedar Ridge, South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon
Cedar Ridge, South Kaibab Trial, Grand Canyon
South Kaibab Trial, Grand Canyon

 

South Kaibab Trial, Grand Canyon

We arrived back at the top 6 hours and 6 miles later, still married. Success!

After our ambitious trek to Skeleton Point, we took it easy on our poor sore legs (I did mention that we RELAX in the winter, right?), and hiked about 1 mile down on Bright Angel trail. After our hike, we drove out, stopping at the various lookout points along the rim.

 

Bright Angel Trial, Grand Canyon
Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon
Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon

 

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

 

The third day, the haze was thick as we ventured east along the rim. The sky brightened and the fog lifted as we drove along the little Colorado, finding some gorgeous views of the smaller offshoots. We stopped at Sunset Crater National Monument and hiked through the snow, a gorgeous view of Flagstaff’s mountains in the distance against the picture perfect blue sky. We made it to Sedona with time for a hike, choosing Cathedral Rock.

Little Colorado
Sunset Crater National Monument
Cathedral Rock
Cathedral Rock

Over the course of the next few days, we did several other hikes around Sedona, taking in the beauty with each step, and surprising myself with the satisfaction I gained from a (somewhat) outdoorsy vacation.

Faye Canyon
Devil’s Bridge
Devil’s Bridge
Doe Mountain

 

Other highlights include the food, of which I have no pictures. After all that hiking, I certainly wasn’t going to let anything get in the way between me and my dinner! I had smoked rack of lamb, smoked elk chops, and an awful lot of ice cream (which I earned!).

Arizona was a lovely change of pace and, I must admit, one of my favorite vacations. I’m sure I’ll get an earful of ‘I told you so’ for years to come, and rightfully so (seriously – did you SEE these photos?!). Living on the farm you appreciate earth for its amazing ability to feed us, but sometimes you overlook the astounding beauty in just being in and experiencing nature.

Now that our winter wandering is done, it’s time to gear up for another season on the farm!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s