Yet again, we had no reservations when we arrived.
We knew that the south rim campsites were completely booked, but there was a slim possibility we could get there early and secure one of the "first-come, first-serve" sites. Doing a quick little statistical analysis, we determined that because we wouldn't be there at the crack of dawn, when the sites open to campers, (what with four children and all) the probability that we would be successful in finding a first-come camping site on the north rim were considerably greater, seeing as only 10% of the estimated five million tourists that visit the Grand Canyon each year, visit the north rim.
And so it is, we headed straight to the north rim and immediately found the most epic of campsites. Directly across the street from the little out-house which at this season in my life, is becoming more and more important.
FYI … Quick story about that little out-house, which had some kind of vacuum / blower system in the open pit toilet, so when the children were perched, a breeze skirted their posterior regions and the way they screeched - you'd think they were in grave peril. Truly, they thought for sure something was climbing out of the ground to get them. It made their bathroom breaks a bit nerve-wracking for lack of a better term. Charlie or I had to escort them - and stand guard, whilst holding their hand - in case they needed to be rescued.
And promptly set off to see the sights.
Now, there is nothing quite like being with someone when they see the Grand Canyon for the very first time. The first time I ever saw it, in 1990, when I took a trip with a geology class - and hiked all the way down to the Colorado River and out again - in less than 18 hours, is etched in to my memory forever. The second time I saw it, in the winter of 1996 as a newly married wife - when it was dusted in snow, is also etched in my memory forever. The third time I saw it, with my mother in 1998 on the occasion of her 65th birthday, as she clung to everything: telescopes, trees, guardrails - for fear of falling in, is also is etched in my memory forever.
The fourth time, seeing it with our four children, will also be etched in to my memory forever. Not because of their responses to seeing this magnificent landform stretched before them - but because of my gut reaction to….
GRAB THEIR HANDS TIGHTLY AND NOT LET GO.
Oh Dear God in Heaven... what was I thinking bringing our children, here?!
Am I having heart palpitations because of the beauty of this space?
Or because of the total loss of control I feel that my children - who are walking on their own able feet - are perusing a path that with one misstep, would tumble them thousands of feet down a rocky ledge?!
BOYS, LOOK WHERE YOU ARE GOING!
At one point, while I was trying to be artistic, by taking this picture of a pretty flower …
Charlie took the kids out on this overlook, with NO GUARDRAILS, and it is no exaggeration that I nearly had an aneurysm. People on the south rim might have heard my yelling, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? ARE YOU CRAZY! GET BACK HERE!"
You want to go to an overlook? GO TO THIS ONE. With the nice railing.
So, yes … it would appear I am turning in to my mother. Which at this season in my life, is also something I am noticing more and more. (I love you, Mom!)
Here we are, me and my beau!
The kids had a wonderful time, and actually took a lot of the pictures on our hiking trip.
Like this one.
And this one. Followed by the gasp, "SNAAAAKE!!!!"
And this one, when we stopped for a picnic.
After our relatively short, 5-mile hike, we headed back to the Lodge, and decided that the next time we come to the Grand Canyon, we are going to stay at the Lodge - sit on this patio in a rocking chair - put our feet up on the guardrail and drink a cold one. (Or three.)
We watched a family of Native American dancers, who absolutely stole our hearts.
Including this little tot who had everyone in the crowd saying, "Awwwww!"
And then - in short order, the sun was rapidly setting, the temperature was dropping just as fast, and the last thing we wanted to do was cook dinner at the camp. So we went out for what felt like our first real meal in days and this was the children's response.
We ended our evening with a campfire …
And an impromptu talent show.
And then realizing that the temperature was getting colder and colder by the second, and bunny was just as chilled as the children…
We climbed in to our sleeping bags, as the temperature settled around the high 40's.
Snug as little bugs in a rug.