After Roswell it was time to head over to the Grand Canyon.
We had a quick stop in Flagstaff, AZ (another Walmart parking lot).
Then a quick stop in Tusayan, right outside the Grand Canyon, where we actually sprung for a hotel room for the first time since this trip started.
Word of advice for anyone who visits the Grand Canyon…Tusayan is more expensive than the stuff in the Grand Canyon Park.
Not 100% sure on the lodging but food and groceries are cheaper in the park.
The next day we had a late start so we just hiked the rim trail.
It’s a pretty easy hike but absolutely gorgeous views.
We took a couple of moments to take some pictures of all of our nieces and nephews’ names in the snow with the gorgeous scenery in the background.
After watching the sunset it was time to meet up with our generous couch surfing host for the evening before getting some sleep.
Ron, a firefighter in the Grand Canyon, actually gets to live inside the park, only a few minutes from the rim. When we met him he asked us “So, how do you like my backyard?” and well…if anyone has had anything negative to say about it…well I need to set them up with an appointment to talk with Maria because they need some counseling.
Ron still had an hour or so left on his shift so he just handed us the keys and headed back to work. Again, another complete stranger who left us alone in his place with nothing but his cat Colby to keep an eye on us.
We went out to get a quick bite from the Maswik Lodge (a much cheaper option than anything in Tusayan) and had the best pizza we’ve had outside of New York (and probably even better than many places in New York).
Then we spent the rest of the night hanging out with Ron.
Ron has lived an extraordinarily interesting life and he is certainly a man willing to try just about anything if the opportunity arises. He was born in Panama and moved to the US as a child and has done just about everything you can think of from working in a prison for the criminally insane, being a dancer to now being a firefighter.
He had a ton of awesome stories about incidents at the prison and also some of the cool things he gets to do now as a firefighter…like what you ask?…oh, just for instance…like rappelling down the side of the Grand Canyon for one. He told us all about the awesome perks of working there and has us both looking in to doing something like that at some point, not necessarily firefighting but there are many other positions available in just about any job field that will allow you to live in the park and get PAID to do so…how amazing!?
He was off the next day and even still he was kind enough to wake up really early, make us coffee and tea and drive us off to a great spot to watch the sunrise and then, he even drove us to the trailhead as well as lent us a set of crampons for hiking on the snow!!!
As he drove us towards the sunrise spot, he told us about the time he rode a bull, a real bull…not one of those mechanical ones in the bar, and somehow managed to last 4.7 seconds on his first try (the goal for professional bull riders is 8 seconds)
After Ron dropped us off we started our hike and the views were just incredible. We hiked the South Kaibab Trail and the first point you come across is simply called Ooh Aah Point,
I’m sure you can figure out how it got its name.
We ambled our way to Skeleton Point before turning around to head back up but there were many points we stopped and sat on a boulder at the edge as we did our best to just take in the sheer awe-inspiring magnificence that is the Grand Canyon.
To think the whole thing was carved out by a small river over the course of millions of years…talk about the persistence of an artist, huh!?
Afterwards, we headed back to Ron’s. We grabbed a quick shower and headed out.
Ron was kind enough to offer his place to us again but we wanted to start making our way down towards Sedona because we heard it was just gorgeous.
So, we said our goodbyes, shared a bunch of hugs and we were on our way. We did promise him however, to stop in to a fire station in Panama City and give them his business card, so that they can exchange shirts, so everyone make sure to remind us to do that when we get there.
Now, off to Sedona, Arizona.
It was very difficult to narrow down the number of pictures for this blog, so here are a bunch more: