I mean… it’s pretty, I guess, if you like rather immense canyons

January 10th, 2014

The Grand Canyon

 

We began our day with a little practice with our host, Dhruva at his Shala in downtown Flagstaff. We could immediately see what a toll sitting in the car and not practicing yoga for several months had done. It was great to practice with such a terrific yoga master though!

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After class, we went to ‘Late for the Train’ on S. San Francisco St. It has a great vibe, friendly staff, and good assortment of foods and coffee type beverages. Thanks to the people there for treating us well, especially me in my post-yoga haze!

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Our next destination was the big ticket item, the Grand Canyon itself. It is easily accessed within 1hr 20mins-ish either via the 64 or the 180 then 64 from downtown. The Canyon was simply put, amazing. We walked from the visitors centre by Mathers Point to the Bright Angel trailhead area which is the 2nd to last stop on the orange shuttle (about 1 hr 30 mins including stopping for pics). We then took the shuttle to Yaki Point, and then proceeded back to the visitors centre for a car picnic. The shuttles are all free to ride around on, but in the winter, you can drive your car most of the way, since the volume of vehicles is much less.

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I made friends with the locals (some birds) and we also had the opportunity to write several of our postcards while watching the Canyon. We went down the Western route (road) to Hermit’s Rest during the afternoon and worked our way back to Hopi Point for sunset. Sunset was so incredible. I mean, how strange it is, that people gather around to watch the sun go down. But you can see why, and it was beautiful.

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We concluded our day by cooking for our wonderful hosts and enjoying a delicious, if I do say so myself, dinner with them. We made a salad that I love to make, consisting of mainly: sundried tomato, artichoke hearts, feta, kalamata olives, and fresh baby spinach. The other main ingredient is any grain you want, ie: pearl barley, couscous, pasta, orzo, or quinoa. You can also add cucumber, tomato, red onion, chickpeas, or whatever else strikes your fancy. The dressing is just the marinade straight from the artichoke hearts. SO GOOD!

We will certainly be sad to bid our kind hosts farewell tomorrow, but very excited to finally experience Sin City!

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Arizona sands between my toes

What an amazing day. After two major milestones yesterday (10,000 AND 11,000kms), we thought we’d take it easier on the driving. Poor Elva! We started our morning at the Quality Inn with a questionable hot water situation. It was one of those showers where you shower for 30s, turn it off because it’s become ice cold, wait a minute, turn it back on for another 30s to rinse, and repeat until fully showered…. yeah, this definitely speaks to the merits of hostelling, Couchsurfing, or just plain staying with friends and family. Comfier beds, better showers, and superior company!

 

We went to take advantage of the breakfast buffet, and at first when we walked into the dining room, we thought our eyes deceived us, as a beautiful panorama of Glen Canyon was spread out before our eyes. The buffet was not bad, but the view was supreme!

 

Our first stop was to be a tour of Antelope Canyon. We selected Antelope Canyon Tours and found them to be excellent. Our tour guide, Deborah, was really knowledgeable, well-spoken, and good natured and we really enjoyed our tour. I have rarely met rock or any scenery that photographs better than it appears in person, but this is definitely the case here. The photos are even more breathtaking than the actual in-person view in my opinion. 

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After getting the car washed (how diligent we are!) and stocking up on car snacks and coffee, at the recommendation of our tour guide, we headed down to Horseshoe Bend, which is a beautiful scenic point along the Colorado River. It was so serene there, with only a handful of other people and even a few minutes with no other people around, so we were able to enjoy the quiet sounds of nature and the beauty of the view.

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Once we’d finished there, after a quick shopping trip on the way back to the car (a woman and her adorable 2 year old were selling handmade Navajo style jewelry by the parking lot), we headed out on the 89T to Flagstaff. The views along the way remained stunning and we saw more of the “open range” highway. This basically means, watch out for cows because you may find them wandering the roads willy nilly. I gave Leah the quick intro to driving stick, and she did really well. She refrained from stalling or burning the clutch, which is a lot more than I can say for my first driving experience! However, she decided that sticking to parking lot driving would be best, which is fair enough, so I continue to rock the roads 😉

 

We made it to Flagstaff by 4pm and accidentally took a tour through the university (NAU) before finding our way to the historic district. It is quite a charming and walkable area. We found a great coffee place called Flag Buzz, which was quite tasty, with very friendly and helpful staff. Thanks for the great drinks, you guys!

 

We stopped into a little boutique in Flagstaff called Rainbow’s End. Visit their website here…and definitely stop in if you are in Flagstaff! The girl working there was totally adorable and very helpful and they have a great selection of unique items from shoes and clothes to jewelry to greeting cards and many other items. Highly recommend! After popping in to a few more stores, we decided to call it a day and head to our couchsurfing hosts’ place. 

 

Our hosts are completely wonderful and served us up a very tasty dinner (homecooking! Yay!) and some good conversation. They are both yoga teachers and we are planning to go have class with them in the morning. Should be fun!