On the third day of our trip, we woke up early and headed north to visit the Grand Canyon. We stopped at a sunflower field just outside Flagstaff for some photos, because we always seem to miss photographing the sunflowers in Texas.
It was Erin’s first time visiting the Grand Canyon, so I insisted we go watch the IMAX movie about the Grand Canyon before she saw it for herself. It definitely does a good job of getting you amped up to see and appreciate the magnitude of the place. I told Erin to close her eyes once we got near the edge of the canyon, and I led her to a bluff overlooking Bright Angel Trail then told her to open her eyes. She kept saying it looked like a painting and that it just didn’t look real.
We decided to hike down Bright Angel Trail as far as we could. It certainly didn’t help that we were hiking right at midday so the cliffs provided almost no shade. Even though we packed plenty of water and snacks, Erin got mighty tired after an hour long hike a mile down the trail, and we couldn’t stay long anyway with our busy itinerary.
One funny thing we discovered on the hike back up is that you could say “That’s what she said” after literally anything anyone said about seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. Some of my favorites were; “When I look at it I get all teary-eyed.” or “It’s so big, I can’t take it all in.” or “…and you’re just seeing a small part of it.”
When we were about to leave, I wanted to get at least one picture of us together with the Grand Canyon in the background with no tourists. We had to drive around for a while in order to find a good, safe ledge with no one around. While Erin was setting up the shot, I sat on the edge just to feel what it was like. The odd part is that if I looked straight down, I felt fine, but if I looked at the neighboring ledge, I got vertigo, and felt like I was going to fall at any moment. That sure freaked Erin out.
After that, we drove to Sedona to catch the sunset. I missed it last time I was out West, because we were rushing then too, so we only saw a tiny portion of Sedona. Erin & I went to Devil’s Bridge because I thought it would be a nice hike and give us a good view of the sunset. But once we got to the park, the storm clouds were rolling in, and I didn’t want to get caught in the rain and lightning with all my equipment. Sure enough, just as the sun was about to set, it started raining just enough for everyone in the park to leave, but not bad enough for me & Erin to give up on the view. 10 minutes after the last car cleared out, the clouds parted and created the most fascinating sunset I had ever seen.
The sun was setting right between two mountains, with patches of rain clouds creating pillars of pink rain in the distance. On the other side were dark ominous storm clouds rolling our way over the vibrant red rocks of Devil’s Bridge. Everywhere you looked was perfection. Erin & I were running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to capture it all. We’d rotate between taking photos with my Canon, to taking photos for Instagram, to taking video with her Canon, to snapping videos.
When it started to rain again, I put the cameras back in my bag and hid them under my umbrella. Erin & I held each other under her umbrella and were so thankful that we finally, finally got to take such a vacation together.