Road-tripping to the Grand Canyon
[Grand Canyon National Park, Nov 23, 2017]
Laura and I arrived at Olivia’s house bright and early today, Thanksgiving day. We briefly compared pack sizes. Olivia is using the smallest pack (18-liter) and Laura and I are both wondering how she managed to get everything she needs in there. Laura is bringing her 28-liter Gregory pack weighing about 13 lbs before water, and I’m bringing my 34-liter Osprey pack weighing in at 16 lbs before water. Oy vey. I might have to downsize a little. It’s amazing how quickly the weight adds up!
We took our traditonal road trip start selfie, then set on our way. I can hardly believe that this is my 4th trip to Arizona in 12 months.
The drive to the Grand Canyon (around 500 miles) takes a little over 7 hours without traffic and stops. Add in a little traffic and a few stops and you’re looking at a 8+hour drive with an additional hour lost due to the time difference between California and Arizona. Luckily, the only traffic we encountered was on I40 before the turnoff for Vegas. So glad we’re not heading there!
More than half the drive, just over 300 miles, is on Interstate 40, which stretches 2600 miles from Barstow, CA to Wilmington, NC – almost coast to coast! This stretch is boring, desolate and depressing. We kept each other busy with girl talk, catching up with friends over the phone and the license plate game, which Laura and I played in Yellowstone earlier this year. We already have more than half the states. 🙂
Finally, around 4:45 pm local time, we made it to the park. We pulled over by the park sign to take a photo, and were pleasantly surprised to find a nice parking there. Usually you just pull off the side of the road by the sign.
Once we entered the park, we headed to the visitor center but they closed right as we got there. We’ll pay them another visit tomorrow when they open – some of us need stamps in our national park passports. Luckily, our stop here was not completely in vain, as Mather point lookout was nearby and we got to catch the tail end of the sunset. It was so beautiful! It’s hard to believe that all this was carved by the Colorado river.
Next, we checked into our lodge on the park grounds, Maswik lodge. The cafeteria was serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, which we thoroughly enjoyed together with some wine.
Once we were in our room, we began a grand “what should I take with me to the bottom” discussion. We went through our packs and really tried to downsize. Olivia was limited/freed by her small pack; Laura and I had room but were worried about weight. I think we finally have it settled… we will report back once we’ve had to carry these packs up and down the canyon.
I won’t have any signal while we’re at the bottom, so the next blog entry will be a few days away. I promise to take lots of pictures.