What a whirlwind life has been lately! I've finally had a little time in the evenings to sort through some of our trip photos, so here they are!
The first leg of our trip was to Las Vegas. We knew we'd be rolling the dice so I had to brush up on my craps knowledge (while enjoying a delicious bloody mary) as we waited for our flight.
Our flight got in mid afternoon so we were able to take in a few sights.
We stayed at the Golden Nugget in the Downtown area. It surpassed my expectations and was actually pretty nice. We played some craps, blackjack, a few slots and ate a ridiculous amount of crab legs.
The next day we were up early and on the road. We stopped for a few groceries on the way and got to the Grand Canyon Village mid afternoon.
This was my third time to the Grand Canyon and the view was just as amazing.
This was Jake's first time to the Southwest (aside from work trips). He had another word for the view: daunting.
From the Rim, we headed to our campsite to get things packed up for our upcoming big day. This is where we slept, right out in the open. We didn't bring tents on this trip since we couldn't afford the extra weight in our hike. Down in the Canyon, the temperature isn't a problem but up on the rim, our low was in the 30's!
Organizing our food and packing our packs finally made things seem real: we were about to embark on a long, intense backpacking trip. Hello anxiety!
We divvied up our trail mix, granola bars, energy bars, and practiced stuffing our packs.
Once we got our packs as packed up as they could be, we headed back to the South Rim to witness a beautiful sunset.
My dad, the ring leader of our group was looking forward to his 13th trip into the canyon. (He said he'd only been there 12 times prior, but I really think it is more than that.) You can tell he is in his element. Instead of blood flowing through his veins, I think his heart pumps Canyon dust.
My mom and dad took me to the Grand Canyon for the first time when I was 9 years old (where I earned my "I Hiked The Grand Canyon" t-shirt). Even then, I could tell what a special place this was to my dad. When I was 19, we did a two-day hike together. I remember it being an incredibly tough trip, but a little bit of that canyon dust found it's way into my veins as well. The Canyon will always be a special part of my life.
And now for the rest of our group (from left to right): Jake (the man in my life), Me, Jeff (long-time friend of the family), Mick (my dad), Jean (long-time friend of the family and married to Jeff), Katie (my cousin's lovely wife), and Luke (my cousin). This was such a fun group to hike with! (By the way, Katie and Luke have 2 amazing girls of their own).
So after packing, figuring out our bus timing for the morning and checking out the trails from afar, we were all hungry and (very) anxious for the next day. So we followed my dad's tradition of stopping at the "We Cook Pizza And Pasta" restaurant (clever name, huh?)
A little pizza and a few glasses of Grand Canyon White Water Wheat later, our tummies were happy and our nerves were calmed.
After dinner, we snuggled down into our sleeping bags, watched the brightest stars I've ever seen and tried our best to get some sleep.
Good night, Canyon.