“Not even beautiful” my four year old’s opening comments as we entered the parking lot to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. “I read a book about it,” she replied confidently. And that set the tone for the Grand Canyon.
Day 3: Anybody want to guess whose toddler threw a temper tantrum on the edge of the Grand Canyon? Yeah this guy! And no—because I know you’re wondering—no one got tossed over.
All in all not too bad of a day…4 year old and all. The highlight of course being the Grand Canyon; some really interesting signs at the Grand Canyon; Cookie Monster at the Grand Canyon available for photo ops and asking for donations (yes it is as creepy as it sounds); running some great trails near Flagstaff; and beer sampling at Grand Canyon Brewing Company in Williams AZ. Here’s the rollup:
Total distance: 150 miles
Total time: 7 hours
Pit stops: 1 (for dinner)
Infant meltdowns: 1
Toddler meltdowns: 1 (but it was epic!)
Total number of elk who nearly demolished the car: 42
Total number of languages spoken (besides English) around us at the Grand Canyon: at least 10
# of times the Lion King soundtrack played: 4.5! (We gave the 4 year old head phones and that helped!)
# of beers sampled: 5
# of beers nearly knocked over by a grabby infant: 4 (successfully averted today)
In addition to these, I was the first one up and got stuff done: I got coffee, read some work emails, walked the dog, and then turned around and ventured out with Kit on some adjoining trails. Talk about incredible: single track, open pine forests, spectacular views– and of course I didn’t bring a camera.
I went back the next day and took a couple of pics, but they don’t do the paths justice. If you’re ever in Flagstaff, check out Fort Tuthill Country Park on the south side of town by the airport and it’s trails. You won’t be disappointed! Even with the 7000′ of altitude it was just nice and easy enjoyable running. The kind you want to cherish and not end. Simply put, it was an awesome four miles on the Soldiers Trail and the Highland trail! Definitely a must if you go!
The Grand Canyon itself was majestic. I had my doubts and upon reaching the edge and seeing the sheer vastness, I was overwhelmed.
Words and pictures don’t do it justice. Go experience it for yourself…preferably without a whining toddler. Now the other bizarre thing about the Grand Canyon were some of the signs: ones about “free speech zones” and squirrels being the most dangerous animals.
Crazier by far, however, was the dude dressed up as Cookie Monster at the visitor center soliciting pics with folks. Creepy I know…but not creepy enough that I didn’t get a pic with him and my daughter (hey, the guy was at least nice!).
Again the Grand Canyon is worth it for however long you can go. I was there for maybe 5 hours. I would definitely go back.
Following the Grand Canyon, we headed back towards Flagstaff deciding to stop in Williams AZ for dinner at Grand Canyon Brewery and Distillery. Williams is another interesting spot: it’s a throwback to the good old days of Route 66 complete with a strip of neon signed bars and restaurants along a main drag. And of course I wanted to check out the brewery away from it all. Go figure. The beers weren’t bad though and I ended up trying a 4-flight sampler along with my wife’s beer.
Here’s a quick rundown of my favorites:
Sunset Amber Ale: a great full flavor amber that isn’t too heavy. It went down smooth without any bitterness or harshness.
Black Iron IPA: Your standard IPA that was good all the way through. If you’re an IPA person, it’s worth your time.
Prickly Pear Wheat: Apparently Prickly Pears are all the rage now, so Grand Canyon Brewing had this on tap. Not bad at all– full of flavor for a wheat, and easy on the taste buds.
Pumpkin Springs Porter: It’s after 4th of July so everyone is jumping on the pumpkin beer craze. This one however totally stood out for it’s rich flavor and pumpkin tones. I’m not usually a fruity beer guy, but this was a winner!
Even better– the infant took swipes at the sampler but I’d learned my lesson and kept them out of reach. Oh yea, this dad is smarter than he looks occasionally.
All in all a great day in Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon…tantrum toddler and all. I would definitely go back given the chance. We were on a tight schedule though and the next day would take us to Albuquerque or as my four year old called it, “Alba-cookie.” Oh the adventure!