June 12, 2007
Our Grand Canyon Trip
Last week we took a few days to get away and enjoy some of Ted's free leave without using it all up doing errands or cleaning the house. If you've been reading our blog awhile, you may remember our trip to the Polar Express, which I blogged about here (but you have to scroll down to find it--I can't seem to figure out how to link to only one post instead of a whole month's worth). Anyway, our Grand Canyon trip was through the same company, the Grand Canyon Railway.
We left Monday after lunch. Our hope of leaving earlier was shot after Arden managed to dribble fabric paint from Charis's craft kit all over the living room carpet on Sunday afternoon. After attempting to treat it ourselves and using Oxy cleaner, we decided to rent a Rug Doctor and spent a good portion of Monday morning trying to clean the carpet plus pack and do other cleaning before leaving. Unfortunately, the Rug Doctor did not help a whole lot, but the spots did fade somewhat. The location--smack in the middle of the floor, easy to see when you first walk in the front door--does not lend itself well for hiding stains. Sigh.
So anyway, we left on Monday afternoon and drove to Williams, Arizona, arriving in time for a delicious buffet dinner (included in our package deal). Then we headed to the indoor pool, which the kids had been waiting for all day. I sat in the hot tub hoping it would help relieve some lower back pain I had been experiencing all day but had to leave when Kenna woke up and got fussy. I took her back to the hotel room to nurse and put her down for the night while Ted stayed with the big kids a bit. The kids slept great...we parents, not so much.
Tuesday morning we got up bright and early for a buffet breakfast, then watched the "Wild West Shootout" show before boarding our train. The train ride into the canyon was 2 hours and 15 minutes, and we were treated to beautiful scenery, tidbits of information from our attendant, and a serenade by a singing cowboy. By the time we arrived at the canyon, we were all ready for lunch, so we ate at the Bright Angel restaurant after taking a bit of time to enjoy the initial views of the canyon. It was slightly overcast and very windy, even a bit chilly, so we did deal with some complaints from the kids. I unfortunately had not thought to pack jackets, assuming that it would be very hot there. Note to self: be better prepared for inclement weather!
The kids enjoyed watching the squirrels, a chipmunk, and the condors soaring on the wind currents. We joined up with a group for the Ranger walk and listened to "Ranger John" tell us about the canyon. It was fascinating...though I did have to hold my tongue when he talked about the Colorado River forming the canyon over billions and billions of years. Ummm, really? You don't suppose it could have been formed by a worldwide, catastrophic flood instead?! Maybe I should have said something, but between trying to make sure the boys didn't fling themselves over the side of the canyon and corralling them toward the next stop on the walk, I didn't feel comfortable taking my eyes off them to engage in intellectual and theological debate.
After the Ranger walk we took our own walk along one of the trails, about as far as we felt we could before having to head back. I would have loved to go running along that trail! Sometime we'll have to go back when we can spend more time AND when our children can appreciate the wonder that is the Grand Canyon!! It was beautiful, and we only got to see a small portion of it.
By the time we had to board the train again, we were more than ready to rest and get out of the wind. The trip back to the hotel wasn't quite as smooth, as far as the kids went. That is to say, Kenna was NOT in the mood for a nap, though she was exhausted, so I spent a good portion of the trip bouncing her in my arms at the back of our train car. I was pleased, though, that a number of people told us (both on the train ride and the times we ate at the hotel restaurant) that our children were very well behaved. I guess when it's your own kids, you tend to be stressed out and uptight when you're in public with a bunch of strangers and not realize how truly good they can be. I was proud of them overall and thankful that they could be a testimony to so many people.
One more dinner buffet, and then swimming again for Ted and the older kids. Kenna and I stayed in the hotel room for her last feeding and a much-needed early bedtime. Wednesday morning we had our last meal at the buffet, which was somewhat of a relief. I think that at every meal we were actually sitting down at the same time a grand total of 2 1/2 minutes. Between Ted and I getting plates for the little ones, then taking turns getting our own plates, then jumping up to take someone potty or get refills, we figure we got enough exercise to work off those biscuits and gravy!!
On the return trip we stopped at the Hoover Dam and took some time to walk around and see the sights. I had stopped here with the kids in December, but we only did a quick overlook rather than park down below and walk over the bridge, which we got to do this time around. I think the kids were actually more impressed with the dam than the Grand Canyon! It was a hot day, though, so we didn't spent too much time walking around outside. We ate lunch at an overpriced restaurant near the visitors' center, then headed home to unpack and relax.
All in all, it was a fun little trip, made easier by having all the arrangements made for us through the travel package. If you'd like to see more pictures, you can go here to see the web album.