10. The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Days 23-26

We set out of Zion heading to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is the more commercial and popular destination for those wanting to visit the Grand Canyon. We’d booked a little late (Top Tip: if you want to book accommodation anywhere at all near the Canyon do so well in advance – 12 months if possible!) and all we could get was a camp site 40 miles from the North Rim. We did not mind too much as we understood this side to be less crowded but equally beautiful.

It had been raining when we left Zion but as we drove towards the Canyon the skies turned grey and the temperature started to drop dramatically. And I began to loose my cool, just ever so slightly. By the time we arrived at our campsite it was snow was pouring down. Absolutely pouring! Ed, of course, was totally up for pitching the tent and staying the night at the campsite. I, however, could not face the prospect of erecting the tent and cooking a meal with frozen fingers and then simply huddling in our sleeping bags to keep warm. I very lovingly and calmly let Ed know that I would not be camping that night. I would be finding warm accommodation. Anyone else was very welcome join me.

To my immense surprise he gave in without a struggle and we headed away from the campsite to find shelter. Of course the closest lodge was full but they suggested we head 40 miles north to a small town called Kanab, in Utah. We’d actually driven through Kanab 10 days before on our way to Bryce and had remarked what a cute little town it seemed to be. To my delight, and that of the children, we managed to secure seemingly the last available room in Kanab, a 2 bedroomed suite at the Best Western, no less!

Ed was in a bit of a sulk about missing out on a precious nights camping…

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But for the rest of us things only got better! Izzy and I loved the very, very hot Hot Tub and swimming pool. And turns out Kanab is a bit of a foodie haven. We headed out for dinner at an asian inspired tapas restaurant called Sego. And what a treat it was – probably the best meal of the trip so far. If you ever find yourself in Kanab it’s totally worth splashing the cash to eat there!

Here I am, not in a tent, warm, dry, happy and enjoying the Sego signature Margarita with Pricky Pear foam – looked a bit odd but tasted outstanding!

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The next day, after a cosy and comfortable nights’ sleep in a king sized bed, we optimistically drove back to the North Rim to try to set up camp for a second time. The weather was better but we were amazed to see how much snow had settled over night…at least 4″. I was so thankful we had not camped the night!

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As we drove we happen to be listening to the audio book of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ where the landscape in Narnia is coated in snow – now that’s what you call serendipity!

We headed to the Canyon rim to take a look and hike around a little. It was very, very cold but the skies were clear and views were spectacular. We discovered at the Park Visitor centre than the North rim is 2000 feet higher than the South rim and as a result experiences far higher snow fall and lower temperatures…kind of wish we’d known that sooner!

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By the afternoon much of the snow had melted and I was resigned to the fact that we’d be camping the night – but as we drove back to the campsite it suddenly started snowing again – heavily. We could not believe it! Once again we were facing the prospect of having to pitch the tent in the driving snow and enduring a freezing night. Ed knew the weather had beaten him again and conceded that we should find a hotel. We drove to the outskirts of the national park and tried the lodge where we’d not been able to stay the night before – and to our huge relief (Izzy and I actually danced with joy!) they had a little cabin available so we did not have to drive back to Kanab yet again! So for the second night in a row we abandoned the camping option and took shelter from the storm!

We enjoyed a snow ball fight and a hot meal and decided the best option would be to abandon the Grand Canyon and to head to our next stop, Las Vegas, a day early. We can plan a return visit to the Canyon in the future, when, with luck, the weather will cooperate!

What Ed says:

Bah humbug! My family are just too soft! They should be able to put up with a little bit of cold!  Justine gets to go to Vegas a day early but little does she know what’s in store after that – at Joshua Tree National Park – a little hardship…..hehe….

Next Stop : Vegas, Baby!

 

 

 

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