20 – Spring Break, parts 2, 3, 4, and 5

We had very spotty Wi-Fi and internet/cell connectivity after leaving Tempe, AZ, so I’m just now able to finally provide an update for the rest of Spring Break.

Anyway, after Sedona, we ended up at the Grand Canyon, which our tour guide said would be a comfortable temperature…and she was wrong. it was freaking snowing and we didn’t pack for cold temperatures! We got there in the afternoon and it started to rain, then the rain turned to hail, then the hail turned to snow. All of us were wet and miserable, so we all just went back to the hotel and decided to explore the Grand Canyon in the morning. Totally worth it for the clear skies. Armed with a circular polarizer, the views were clear and seemingly endless.

We also drove to the east side of the Grand Canyon where we got to stop at the Desert View Watchtower.

After the Grand Canyon, we went to the Glen Canyon dam. Here is the dam itself:

And here is the bridge in front of the dam and the effect that the dam has on the water level.

After Glen Canyon, we headed to Kayenta, AZ – on the outskirts of Monument Valley. We were clearly on an Indian Reservation and it all felt so desolate with mobile homes spread all over the place and occasionally, there would be an area where there was a lot of development (like this bridge that was no longer used, because another bridge is right next to it).

Anyway, during our first stop in the Navajo Nation, we had our first taste of Navajo Fry Bread then boarded 4x4s to explore around Monument Valley:

It’s difficult to describe how immense and solid yet at the same time, equally fragile these large natural monuments are.

We ended up stopping in a few places in Monument Valley, but we had to be back before sundown (obviously, no lights and everyone was hungry), so we got back to our hotel quite late. After a very quick overnight stay, we then headed to Bryce Canyon, where we were once again greeted with snow, which made the hoodoos realy stand out.

My favorite part of Bryce Canyon were the limber pine trees that jutted out above the hoodoos.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to hike between the hoodoos (we would need several hours for this)…because immediately after Bryce Canyon, we drove to Kanab, UT (where we opted out of a hokey cowboy show/buffet and decided to have lunch on our own) – because why go to an artificial cowboy show when the environment and surroundings said so much more?

An old rickety fence and a place to put horses – these things were enough evidence of a bygone era that to me, was more evidence of the town’s history.

After a stop in Kanab, we ended up at Zion National Park, where we spent some time at the lodge and got to go through a pretty sweet tunnel through the mountain…

After Zion, we then headed to The Westin Resort at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, NV, where we had a very ‘relaxing’ evening.

In the morning, we had time to go kayaking at the lake, which ended in disaster since the current and wind was catching Matty and pulling him out – so I ended up getting him ashore and dragged the kayaks across the golf course. Afterwards though, we went swimming at the pool. When we left Vegas, we stopped at the Calico ghost town in the Mojave desert, then we got back home. This was on Friday (two days ago).

When we were on the ride back home, my coworkers emailed me and said they wanted me to to pace a few of them during the overnight legs at Ragnar SoCal, so immediately after dinner, I drove down to San Diego, paced a coworker over a 4-mile run at 11 PM (after running almost six miles in the morning in Vegas), but I was so exhausted that I slept through the next leg I was supposed to pace…I did make my volunteer shift on Saturday (largely because I parked there at 3 AM and slept in the backseat of my Civic). On Saturday afternoon, my team finished and we all celebrated on Silver Strand Beach.

I’m wearing THREE layers – my shirt, a sweater, and my team shirt…so I look really thick in the picture!!!

Anyway, the first time I got to sleep in my own bed was last night…and it was the best!

We have a lot of pictures from the trip and I have a lot to post-process and most likely, print. I also probably have the order of events all wrong, but whatevs. I now have more than a week of work email to catch up to, but we have plenty of memories.

Will we do an organized bus tour again? Probably not…but we’re definitely considering a family-friendly cruise next year.

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