Northern Exposure

May 8th

Alma sees the Grand Canyon for the first time

Even though Alma grew up in Arizona, she’d never been to Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon until today. I know. Seriously! Flagstaff is one of my favorite places on earth. I would love to live there again one day. And it wasn’t until I was living in Flag and studying at NAU that Amanda took me to the Grand Canyon for the first time. (My mom always told us as children it was “just a big hole in the ground.” With all due respect, mama couldn’t be more wrong on this one.)

Breakfast at Bellavia
She is more excited to overhear the French group out of sight
An average of 12 people die each year

We started the morning with a 5 am departure from Tempe, a 8 am appointment with some killer blueberry Swedish pancakes at La Bellavia in Flagstaff and some strong coffee during the 150-mile route in between. By 10 am we were at the South Rim, walking, gaping and people watching. After hitting the IMAX show, Flagstaff for some afternoon shopping and lunch at Crystal Creek, we were back in the Valley by 6 pm. A full, happy day indeed.

Alma and I rock the GC
My hat is off, Mama Nature
The Orpheum Theater
Best lunch in Flagstaff

The big hole in the ground is in fact a giant, breath taking sight to see. After arriving and watching Alma’s reaction to this wonder of the world, I sat down on rock to give thanks and be mindful of the experience. Large black hawks enjoying the cool, breezy currents above, circled and swooped. Pine trees rustled in the same temperate wind. Squirrels appeared occasionally, schizophrenic with desire. Beg for a treat? Run away, startled by the constant foot traffic and occasional dog? Noisy tourist buses arrived with their gray diesel disturbing an otherwise pristine view. Visitors from dozens of countries gawked in their native tongues, but their awe was universal. And the grand dame herself, with colors ranging from the palest yellow to the darkest indigo and every shade in between. She was spectacular, worthy of the bravado, and even the $3.60 a gallon gas for the 400-mile road trip.

Pretty in a gazillion ways

I love this Grand Canyon State.

Posted in
Arizona, Journal, Photography, Travel
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26 Responses

  1. Wow! Thanks for the great pictures!

  2. Flashbacks from your post today. When we returned from our Peace Corps stint, we lived with good friends in Flagstaff for 3 months trying to find full-time jobs there, before moving to Oregon. It’s gotten bigger and busier since then, but it is probably the only place for which I’d be willing to leave Moab.

    (And those good friends, raised in Phoenix and Tucson and then living in Flag, ALSO had NEVER been to the Grand Canyon. Of course the day we learned that, we set off for the canyon!)

  3. amazing photos… my parents live in AZ now. Everytime we make the drive we swear we’re going to see the Great Big Hole in the Ground… Maybe this year!

  4. I’ve never been. It’s on my list. I have been to Barranca del Cobre. It was stunning. The colours, the noise, the silence.

  5. You lucky duck!!! My husband & I practically lived off of Crystal Creek when we were NAU students. That place is crazy good!

    Thanks for the flashbacks!! I have a gazillion wonderful memories of Flagstaff!!

  6. Maybe one day……

  7. Looks like a great day!

    Yum, blueberry pancakes.

  8. Now you’re just trying to make me cry. I swear sometimes I get so sad thinking about the fact that we’d lived there, and now we don’t. I think the sandwich pic put me over the edge… πŸ™‚

    And also? How photogenic is that Alma?!

  9. It’s on my list. Can’t wait to get there someday. (Maybe sooner rather than later?? We’ll see.)

    That sandwich does look delectable.

  10. That looks like a great trip. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon either, but at least I don’t live in the same state!

  11. My husband and I love visiting Flagstaff and we go to the Grand Canyon as often as possible. It truly is fabulous. Arizona has the most stunning vistas and special things to offer; I’m so glad I’ve had an opportunity to live here.

  12. i have never been to the grand canyon. i would love so much to bring my kids someday! so its not just a big hole huh?

  13. looks like a GREAT trip with lovely sights and yummy food! and good company, too!

  14. Nothing can really prepare you for that spectacle. It really does take your breath away. And the thing I remember most about Flagstaff was that the tap water tasted WONDERFUL.

  15. I too love the Canyon, and another trip is in order! πŸ™‚ It’s God’s canvas of spectacular natural artwork! And, yes as a fellow Lumberjack, Flagstaff is wonderful!

  16. Great pics! Reading this post reminds me how much I miss AZ. Moving away was and will forever continue to be hard.

  17. Won’t Bubba be jealous when he hears you guys went to La Bellavia. OMG.

    And Crystal Creek?! My fave!!

    You both look gorgeous and what a beautiful day – nicely done. Hug that state for me – I miss all the parts you showed in the photos.

    Good ol’ Flag.

  18. Wow, what a day! I balk at just a FLG/PHX roundtrip in a day, and you added on to the canyon! I’m glad the weather was so nice for you!

  19. Some day maybe I’ll get there :O)

  20. We LOVE Flagstaff – before we had Miss S we went there at least 5 times a year for long weekends. Love love love it. Beaver Street Brewery is our favorite restaurant there.

  21. Oh yeah – and in all the at least 30 trips we’ve made there we’ve never been to the grand canyon. Hubby too thinks it’s just a big hole in the ground but it’s one big hole I am dying to see!!

  22. My husband and I have an ongoing list of places we want to visit. The Grand Canyon is on the top 5. He has been a few times and really wants me to see it. It looks beautiful. The pancakes and sammie don’t look too bad themselves. Yummy.

  23. i will never forget seeing the grand canyon. i hiked down and back up in college and it was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. there are some things that you think oh, could it really be as good as i imagine/ as good as people say… oh yeah. it can be πŸ™‚ it took my breath away. xox

  24. I love it, it is so pretty. Something one must visit in their lifetime, if possible.

    How sad about the nudu cap! I would love one, but I don’t think it would be practical here in Texas. lol! And sad he is a minister.

    Your friend looks like Rachael Ray!

    Your generosity knows no bounds, which is why it comes back to you from others.

  25. great photos……..would love to go there one day………