Friday, March 09, 2007

The Grand Canyon

Today was just awesome. In the true sense of the word. Awesome, awe-inspiring, magnificent, splendiferous, and any other superlative you can think of. Today we went to see the Grand Canyon. Which is, as the name implies, grand. It's so huge, so colorful, so old, so beautiful. I can't really describe it in words in a way that will do justice to what it's like to see it. So I'll show you pictures instead (and clicking on any of the pictures will bring up a full size version):

Adding to the perfection of the day was the absolutely gorgeous weather we had. About 60 degrees, sunny blue skies, and a lovely cool breeze.

We spent the rest of the day driving around the Canyon to get to Utah, which mean we had to drive east underneath it, and then north, and then west again. It was all on back roads. I felt like we were in that final scene of Thelma and Louise. The route took us through Indian reservations and the heart of canyon country, including driving through part of the Grand Canyon itself when we crossed over the Colorado River. We basically spent the day gaping in awe at the landscape around us. The conversation in the car tended to go something like this:

[Silence. We look around, admiring the scenery. Then we come over a rise or turn a curve and there's an amazing vista before us]
Wendy: Wow. Look at that.
Jason: Jesus. That's incredible.

Wendy: Amazing. Just amazing.

Jason: Spectacular.

[More silence as we look around. We crest another hill.]
Jason: Holy shit. That's unreal.

Wendy: I know. Wow. Just--wow.

Jason: It looks like another planet or something.

Wendy: Holy crap. Look over there.

Jason: Awesome.


Wendy: I have to pee.

Part of the drive took us out of the valley with the buttes and mesas around us and up into a national forest. We climbed about 3000 feet up (to about 8000 ft.) and all of a sudden we were in a pine forest where there was still a ton of snow on the ground. It was bizarre how suddenly the landscape changed from something that looked like the moon to something that looked like the woods in north Georgia, in a span of about 20 minutes. We stopped to stretch our legs and let Max romp around. He had a blast. We threw snowballs at him (gently) and he hopped around like it was the best game in the world.

Back on the road, we eventually descended back into the valley, and the scenery resumed its Mars-esque quality.

Much of what we drove through was a Navajo reservation. The poverty is horrifying. No wonder they're all drunk and miserable.

Just before the Utah border, we entered Colorado City, Arizona. The houses started to get bigger and nicer and look suspiciously compound-like. We then saw a sign informing us that Colorado City was founded in 1985. Hmm.. Why would anyone found a dumpy city in the harsh (but beautiful) desert in the middle of effing nowhere? To practice polygamy and slavery of young girls, of course!! When I saw a woman wearing a long dress looking after a passel of blond children, I know we had hit Fundamentalist Mormon country. I looked for enslaved 12-year old girls married to men 5 times their age, but didn't see any.We're spending the night in Cedar City, Utah. There was a copy of The Book of Mormon in the hotel room. Creepy. Tomorrow we're going to Zion National Park and then up to Bryce Canyon. Should be another day of jaw-dropping beauty.

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