Monday, June 3, 2013

Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam/Vegas

As I mentioned in my last post, Justin and I went on a long weekend vacay out west.  Justin left on Tuesday and arrived Tuesday night in Phoenix while the rest of us left Wednesday.  Justin went early to do a run in the Grand Canyon, the “rim to rim to rim” run.  It’s a 45 mile run and I was so incredibly proud of him for doing it.  He was by himself and it took him 17 hours 38 minutes, but the trails have bathrooms and water every mile and a half or so.   Justin is currently training for the Pinhoti 100 race which is a 100 mile race that he will run overnight to complete.  The 45 mile run through the Grand Canyon was a great way to prep for it. 

Anyway, the rest of our crew got into Phoenix Wednesday night and rented a car to drive to Flagstaff.  We met Justin at a hotel in Flagstaff and crashed for the night.  I think it was 1am when we got there which was 3am central time so we were all exhausted.  We went to bed immediately because we all planned to do a small hike in the Grand Canyon the next day.  The next day we all got up, got ready and drove an hour-ish to Grand Canyon National Park to start our hike.  Here’s some of my favorite pictures:


Can we say “amazing view”????  Holy cow.


Looking at the trail map to see how far we wanted to go.


We started hiking down.  See here’s the problem most hikers run into.  You get 3 or 4 miles into the hike and you think “I feel great, I can go to the river at the bottom and back!”.  Well, of course you feel great, you’re going DOWN.  It’s going UP that’s hard.  If you go the entire 12 miles to the bottom, it’s very likely you won’t be back to the top before the sun goes down and unless you have headlamps or flashlights, good luck seeing one foot in front of you in the pitch black dark.  And as you can tell in some of the below pictures, there’s not exactly railings to keep you from falling over the trails into the canyon.  It’s actually very dangerous if you tried to hike at night without a light!

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On the left: me and Bonnie taking a break and dreading that hike back up!  We made it 3 miles in.  We also started late in the day.  We should have started hiking VERY early in the morning, but we didn’t get out there and get going till almost 12.  So we couldn’t go far and we decided 3 miles was a good place to turn around in hopes of getting out before the sun went down.  On the right:  This was at the 3 mile mark going down.  There was a ledge (the one I’m standing on) that is very skinny and it was a straight drop on both sides.  Scary Mary!

IMGP8682   We went back to the hotel after the hike to take showers and change clothes to go to dinner.  We ate dinner at a lodge that overlooked the canyon so we got some cute pictures at the overlooks while waiting on our table to be ready. 


The next day, we drove to a couple of other overlooks of the canyon:

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And then left to head to a place called Bearizona.  Quick run down on this place.  We saw signs for it while driving to the Grand Canyon and it was very close and not at all out of the way.  It was a park where you drove your car through certain animal habitats.  We were able to see bears, wolves, big horn sheep, buffalo and all kinds of other animals from the luxury of our cars.  All of the below pictures were taken out of the car windows (we were that close to these animals):

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In the wolf and bear areas, we were told to keep our windows rolled up.  Wolves are very scary creatures.  There were three laying in the road and luckily the one that was in our path moved so that we could drive past him.

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More buffalo


Big Horn Sheep


Gives you an idea how close to our cars these bears were.

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Lots of them propped feet or hands on trees while resting.  Lazy bears…


After leaving this hidden gem, we headed towards Vegas and Hoover Dam for a tour of the Dam.  We managed to get 6 of the last 7 spots available for the latest tour of the day. 


Waiting for our tour to begin.

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In this picture we’re actually inside the concrete wall of the Dam and there’s a few air vents like this throughout the wall.  The picture below is of what we saw when looking outside this air vent.


Gorgeous!  That bridge you see is actually very new.  They were still in the process of building it when Justin came to Vegas for his bachelor party in 2009.  There’s a sidewalk meant specifically for viewers that want to get great pictures of the Dam.  The below photos were taken from the bridge:

IMGP8836 IMGP8838 After the tour and a quick walk on the bridge to see these amazing views, we drove the quick drive to Vegas to meet up with the bride and groom and all of our friends for dinner!


This picture didn’t turn out as good as I had hoped.  It was from my phone.  From left to right, Bonnie, Katy, Carina (the bride) and myself.


Me and Carina!


My love :)


I really want this fun chair on my back porch!!!


I didn’t take many pictures after Friday night.  The pictures above are from breakfast at our hotel the next morning.  I was loving the way they had their balcony decorated.  Anyway, I had a small purse with me for the wedding so I didn’t have my camera for the wedding or reception, and then we flew out on Sunday morning.  Well, Justin flew out on Sunday morning.  My flight  left without me.  There was some mechanical issues going on with the tram to get from security to the D terminal where Delta gates were so people had to be individually shuttled from point A to point B.  This caused TONS of people to miss flights and I was one of them.  I got on standby for 3 flights after my original 8:30am flight and didn’t make any of them because there were over 70 people on every standby flight.  I finally gave up and told Justin (he was back in Birmingham by the time I talked to him) to just book me a hotel and I would get another flight out the next day.  So Justin got home on Sunday night and I didn’t get home until Monday night.  Long story for why we were on separate flights.  Regardless, we had a great weekend with some pretty fabulous friends and I enjoyed it so much! 


HickChickBritt said...

Wow, I can't believe how many pictures you got of yourself! Way too go, I am so horrible about that. Man a couples weekend sounds amazing.

Fiona said...

WOW!! These photos!! They are just amazing and make me want to go there! So glad you got to go on this great little trip. It looks fantastic!