A Trip up north - flagstaff & the grand canyon.

As many of you already know, I am dating an Aussie who lives in Aussie Land. For my birthday in October, he thought it would be a good idea to fly to Arizona and spend it with me (greatest idea ever). After three weeks of catching up and basically a whole lot of eye staring, hand holding, mushy gushy things that couples do (especially long-distance couples), we had ticked off a few things from our bucket list. 

 

Me, being the complicated overly-passionate woman I am, wanted to do just about everything. Take him to my favorite coffee shops, a Suns basketball game, a Coyotes hockey game, show him where I went to college (Fork ‘em baby), introduce him to a few friends he hadn’t already met, a little fun under the sheets (obviously, I mean reading a book with a flashlight),  blah blah blah blah blah. 

 

Because we only have 24 hours in day (idk why we weren’t given something like at least 30), it was physically impossible to do everything. BUT, we managed to squeeze in the Grand Canyon. 

 

Of course, it had never occurred to me that an Aussie, who had flown all the way from the other side of what seems like the Universe, would want to go to one of the natural wonders of the world. Duh, Elisa. So we went. Just like that. 

 

The drive up north was just as I had imagined it to be. We jammed out to some of our favorite songs from a Triple J (an Australian broadcast) playlist, fought over whose turn it was to drive (every time we stopped for me to pee, which was A LOT because I have a bladder the size of a peanut), demolished a whole bag of Tostitos chips and salsa, and brought up old memories from when we lived in Banff, Canada. 

 

The snow capped tips of Mt. Humphreys peak grew bigger and bigger with every turn on the road. The fresh smell of pine trees swept in through the windows as if they had been expecting us. We were almost in Flagstaff, and I was excited to show Alex another side of Arizona. 

 

We stayed at the Econo Lodge University, a small little hotel that reminded us of the ones we used to stay in back “home” in Banff. Nothing fancy and definitely not a five-star resort. But we were on a budget and as long as we had a bed to crash in, we weren’t fussed. 

 

After an overwhelming amount of Pad Thai and coconut soup (mine and Alex’s latest obsession, OK well maybe just mine) and a good night’s rest, we were on our way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

 

We drove past Mt. Humphreys, miles and miles of open fields, saw a half-eaten/rotten deer, and finally made it to Tusayan, a small town outside of the South Rim with a population of 20 people. Only kidding, but it definitely felt that way. 

 

Twenty minutes later, there it was. The Grand Canyon. 

 

It was a pretty unique feeling walking along the rim. Every time I thought about how many people travel from different places around the world to come see this gigantic hole in the middle of nowhere I got goosebumps. 

 

Just when I thought the day was coming to an end, we decided to hang out with an elk who I think thought it was human (calling it “it” because I’m not sure of its gender). It walked around with the crowd and took an occasional break to munch on some greens. It had a mini-photo shoot with Alex and let him take photos a little too close for my liking, and even waiting for me until I got out of the bathroom. It was literally standing outside of the door when I was finished. 

 

We caught the sunset, shared a moment, all that cheesy stuff, and decided to try to see the Milky Way.  Despite a frozen nose, frozen toes, and an overall feeling of discomfort we stuck around until the sun had completely faded away. Seven o’clock rolled around and there it was. 

 

After taking my first photo of the Milky Way I lost it. Completely broke down into tears. Some of you might be thinking, “Why in the hell would that make you cry?” Like I mentioned earlier, I felt a connection with the universe, with everything around me, and it was shared with the man I love. 

 

It’s obviously more than a hole. It’s 277 miles of mystery and the unknown. It’s perfectly formed and detailed, quiet, yet deceiving. It’s a place where I felt reconnected with myself and mother nature. 

 

I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling and profound experience. Thanks for the adventure Alex and for freezing your butt off with me that night.