If you read my Exploring Austin BBQ post, you’ll know that I was finally able to fly over to Texas from Australia to see my family after almost three years. We spent two months in Texas and it was just what I needed to get back on my feet again. And while we were there, we decided to go on a family road trip to see the Grand Canyon and other places along the way.
We left first thing in the morning from Del Rio. It took about 8 hours to get to the Airbnb we stayed at in Las Cruces, New Mexico. So we got there at about mid-afternoon. It gave us enough time to go see the White Sands National Park about an hour or so from Las Cruces. It was the perfect time to go because the sun was about to set. It’s amazing how beautiful the sands look at sunset — pink, orange, blue, and purple colored the scenery. Pink and orange mountains surrounded us. You have to enjoy every second of this time of day, it only lasts for so long.
After we played in the sand, threw sand rocks in every direction, drew pictures in the sand with sticks, and slid down sand dunes (we used every second of daylight before it got too dark) we headed back to the Airbnb and put some frozen cauliflower pizzas in the oven and played Bananagrams.
The next day we drove through Arizona and saw the saguaro cactuses in Tucson. We wandered around in the Arizona heat searching for the most picturesque cactus. It’s just amazing how even though we were essentially looking at the same thing, we couldn’t stop taking pictures and videos of all the cactuses as if we were only seeing them for the first time.
Afterwards, we drove further into Arizona to Sedona. We did a little hike there at the Soldier Pass Trailhead and saw amazing views of the well-known red rock formations of Sedona. It’s an easy walk from the parking lot and there are a few trails to choose from. We did the one heading to the Seven Sacred Pools. The Pools would be best to see during the summer because they would probably be filled with more water but the trail itself would be great during any time of year I think. The views were just stunning though. We even saw a rainbow eucalyptus tree! It’s right on the trail so just keep an eye out for them.
We were starving after this hike so fortunately there was a Chiptole right around the corner. We also walked around the gift shops around there which were still open. Then we drove to Flagstaff and stayed the night at a hotel there.
This was Grand Canyon day. We left a little early that morning after having breakfast at the hotel so that I could have a chance to visit a local bookstore called Bright Side Bookshop. It was so cute in there and everyone was so kind and helpful. It was a mix of stationery, books, and games, which is the best combination. I ended up finding the second book to the Inheritance Games trilogy which I had been searching for everywhere. I got the last copy too! I also bought a cute set of succulent mini notebooks with fountain pen-friendly paper. Definitely recommend stopping by this bookstore if you’re in the area.
Afterwards, we headed off to the Grand Canyon. I really enjoyed the drive around this area. It was very foresty and rocky at the same time — almost like some of the Colorado landscape. But when we arrived at the Grand Canyon after waiting in long lines of cars and driving around looking for a parking space, nothing could compare. It was so enormous that our eyes couldn’t even grasp how big it was. The expanse of it was so much to grasp that it felt like you were looking at a 2-D image of it. There was a state trooper with a telescope looking into the canyon. He was letting everyone look through it to look at the little village at the bottom. I would’ve never guessed there would be people down there just living!
We spent some more time there just in awe of the canyon and taking countless pictures but never doing it any justice. We drove around the park a bit longer and stopped at the various viewpoints. Every stop had a different perspective and you saw different parts of the canyon even when you thought you had seen it all. We saw where the Colorado River was flowing through the canyon which you can only see at certain spots. We spent hours at the park and were still equally in awe from when we first arrived.
This was only the first half of our trip and still so much more to share. The rest will be posted in part 2 so stay tuned!