Because we’re wimps and couldn’t handle Death Valley, we tried to get an early night reservation at The Red Rock Resort where we were scheduled for the following nights, but since they were almost sold out the rate was $650 for the night. We passed on that and found a fabulous hotel (Westin Element) that had a full kitchen and refreshing pool with cabanas. We really wished we could stay there, but on we went to the Red Rock. The room there was nice room too and there was a great pool for the boys packed with families. We had fun walking through the casino on the way to just about anything. We mostly relaxed and stayed cool in the pool, went to a movie (Ant Man). One highlight for the boys was the arcade where after spending $3.00 playing one game, Ellis (with Mike’s help) won a Samsung Galaxy tablet and it almost turned our youngest into an arcade addict!
We then headed to Sedona and were wowed by the beauty. We had a nice drive into town on Hwy 89 and got a sense for the area. The following day, we had a tour scheduled with Pink Jeep at 8:00am. It was incredible! The boys were a bit nervous about sitting in the back and getting bounced around, but I was there immediately and eventually they joined me. We loved every minute of the tour. We had the Jeep to ourselves and a wonderful guide named John who told us about the geology and some of the native plants we were curious about: agave, juniper and prickly pear.
After the tour, we went to a nearby restaurant called Cowboy Club and tried some local delicacies like rattlesnake, bison and prickly pear cactus fries. They were all tasty and although our youngest wouldn’t try anything, our oldest did and thought it was “okay.”
On the way out of town, we remembered passing Slide Rock State Park and decided since we’d left early, we stopped there on the way out. What a cool place! It was gorgeous and had slippery rocks with water flowing over them where you could just hop in and slide down. We all tried it a few times then walked upstream to enjoy another swimming hole. On the way back to the car, we stumbled on some people jumping off tall rocks into a deep pool. Mike can never resist that and eventually the boys both jumped in too.
Grand Canyon was next and I’ll be honest, it was just something I felt we had to do since none of us had ever been. I didn’t expect to be wowed for some reason, but I was! Each and every place has surpassed our expectations but I think the Grand Canyon the most. The first views were amazing. We visited a nearby overlook and couldn’t believe our eyes. The views were vast, deep and spectacular. To top things off, there were two huge California condors right over the railing. They eventually flew off and soared where we could watch them for a bit.
The next day, we headed out early to beat the heat and avoid theh rain. We hiked down into the Canyon and while it was relatively steep, the boys did great—even on the way back up. Each and every turn gave us a new perspective on how incredible the canyon is. We also had a chance to chat with some other hikers and were intrigued enough to consider a future visit where we hike and camp down in the canyon. We’ll see about that!
Later that afternoon, we took a shuttle to a trail we were planning to hike but shortly after we got on (after hiking a bit to get to the shuttle) we were informed they were evacuating the South rim due to lightning storms. It was pretty crazy and the boys were nervous but it makes for quite the story. We weren’t able to get back out but we were very pleased we had managed to hike into the canyon. The following morning we left very early and Ellis and I were in the back sleeping. Unfortunately, we missed some truly unbelievable views that Mike and Owen saw and they didn’t even get photos!
On our way to Zion next!