December 17, 2018

White Sand Dunes

On the way back from the Grand Canyon, we decided to take a detour and stop at the White Sand Dunes in New Mexico. We had been to the Great Sand Dunes, but the boys have continually asked about visiting the White ones. It was SO WORTH the detour!! 

When we got to the front, I hopped out, bought some used sleds and new wax at the store, then we headed straight to the Dunes. We were checking in at the last couple hours that it was open. When we went to pay, the park ranger said there was no fee! How awesome! 

The entire experience was so much fun! These dunes are PERFECT family friendly for sledding (especially compared to the Great Sand Dunes - it seemed like we had to hike forever to get to the dunes themselves!). It was so surreal being on sand that looks like snow, while it was cold outside. And the sky was just breathtaking!

Thank you, Nick, for being willing to drive the few extra hours for this wonderful experience. It is worth a trip back again! 

Have you been yet?

December 08, 2018

Grand Canyon Over Thanksgiving Break

After several failed attempts at a fall camping trip, I was defeated. Nick, knowing how much I needed something, suggested that we go the Grand Canyon over Thanksgiving. It wouldn't be camping - since it's too cold for our gear, but it would still be an adventure. YES! So, for this trip, Nick did a good chunk of getting things planned, and as soon as we could, we hit the road. The boys were so excited to stay in a hotel the first night. We just drove until it was late, and we were just in New Mexico. When we awoke, you could see snow on the far away buttes. Always fun waking up in a new place!

We continued driving to stay with some good friends in Flagstaff AZ. I wish I could bottle the smell of their backyard! I LOVE seeing the big trees, and enjoying their beautiful fragrance. 

The next day we went to the Grand Canyon. Bryce, our friend, currently works there flying helicopters. He said going on the weekend was better for less crowds. Everyone is flying in from all over the world on the weekend, and then goes and sees it during the week. Who knew?! He suggested after stopping at the visitors center, we drive along and view some of the outlooks. We did, but by the time we got to the first outlook, we realized how big the grand canyon really was! We thought we had stopped at several outlooks, but they were scenic pull overs, and still just as amazing. 

It may be blurry, but that is a real bird I captured flying!!

By this time we realized we were NOT going to make it to all the lookouts, so we decided to skip a bunch and head straight to the Watchtower before they close. We were the LAST people allowed in for the day! As we were speed walking towards it, they opened the doors and announced "Last call!" We high-tailed it up to the top, and got to enjoy the sunset. It was such a magical moment, truly. 

In the evening, our friends took us to see some Christmas lights. It was the first time in a LONG time that I felt truly cold, and I loved it! We also trued to watch some stars, but the moon was a little too bright.

The next day we went to Bearizona, on recommendation of our friends. It was awesome! Part of it you drive around and view animals from your car, and then part of it is a small zoo that you can walk around inside. Worth a visit!

When we were done, it was a little after lunch, and we were only an hour from the Grand Canyon. We decided to drive back up and catch the extra outlooks that we missed. I'm so glad we did!! We saw so many elk!! I didn't get any on photo, but I did get on video two crossing the road. Youtube video in the works (may have to wait until December or January - sorry!)

On the way out from the canyon, we pulled over and did one little hike to an outlook. It was so nice to breathe the cold air and see the views!

And on that last night in Flagstaff we went out to eat at a diner on route 66 with our friends. Thank you Bryce, Cherise, and your family for letting us come crash and stay with you!!

Have you been to the Grand Canyon? What was your favorite part of the trip?