And then we came to the Grand Canyon!!!
This trip was so spontaneous that there were no reservations left at the campground in the park when we left Georgia. So we made reservations at the closest KOA, which was still 45 minutes from the park. However, when we drove in that Saturday morning, we decided to just drive straight to the park on a wing and a prayer that maybe, just maybe, they had an opening for a tent site.
We pulled up to the ranger station and I told the man that I would literally do a dance in the parking lot if they had a site available. He looked on the computer and said, "It's your lucky day. 10 minutes ago someone checked out 2 days early, so we have one opening for a tent...Are you going to dance now?"
I shamefully backed out of my dance, for the ranger's own good.
But talk about perfect timing. We were thrilled!
"It takes the whole family."
After we got our site ready, we walked to see the Canyon for the first time.
My stomach dropped and I couldn't breathe for a second when it came into view.
Spencer took the girls down a little trail to get a better view.
It did take some convincing to get Claire to take that little detour.
The girls spent their own money and split an ice cream.
They generously decided to share it with Owen.
Riding around the park...
...while Owen took a nap.
A herd of mule-deer walking through our campground!
Saturday night Spencer and Claire went to a neat ranger program on the stars/constellations. Then Sunday morning we got up and got ready to hike!
Starting down the Bright Angel Trail...
I was more than a little nervous at the start. I kept yelling at Spencer to hold AK's hand!
What an experience!
We could see the train of people riding mules down to the bottom of the canyon. This was AK's favorite part!
The views were spectacular...
...and the kids did amazing. Born hikers.
Taking a break to refuel...
Yay for a potty a mile and a half down!
This was the kids' favorite spot on the hike, I think. They could have played here on this rock all day.
We hiked three miles down...now for the three miles back up!!!!
Owen rode on my back the whole hike, except for the rest breaks. He did great and stayed awake most of the time, falling asleep only on the very last part of the hike. AK hiked all the way down by herself. On the way back up, Spencer carried her about half the time and she walked the other half. That was pretty dang awesome for a barely-five year old.
Claire, of course, hiked the whole thing by herself. When we started the hike she was terrified. She gripped my hand and would not let go for a long time. But I was so proud of her. She was brave and kept going even though she was scared, and by the end all fear was erased. It was the longest and hardest hike she has ever done, but she persevered like a warrior.
This squirrel kept trying to eat our food. He was not a bit timid.
Almost at the top!!!!!!!!!!!!
And doing the all important stretching after a strenuous hike.
After a solid night of sleep, everyone woke up refreshed and ready for breakfast!
The oatmeal pot made a nice little humidifier...
Claire found this awesome little balance bike at the dumpster that fit Owen perfectly!
Warm breakfast is so nice on a cold morning.
Breaking down camp...
Enjoying a little time before we leave...
Taking our last views of the Canyon.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art! How great Thou art!