Day 8. The Grand Canyon Day 2

The Grand Canyon

Sean and I decided to go horseback riding the second morning of our stay at the Grand Canyon with the Apache Stables just outside the park toward the town of Tusayan. The trails we rode on were in the Kaibab National Forest, which is 1.6 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon managed for preservation by the US Forest Service. We got to see lots of big Ponderosa pines and I am pretty sure I spotted a Hooded Oriole, but no elk or other mammals were out due to the heat.

At this point my broken ankle was getting a lot better, so after the horse ride Sean and I decided to hike the mile down to the town of Tusayan and catch the bus back to the park rather than have Nancy come pick us up. We had no idea we’d need proof that we were returning to our campsite in order to get back in, but after a short discussion with the bus driver, he decided to let us ride.

20160627_seanhorseback2

We all kept to the campsite later in the day, playing some of our favorite games like Qwirkle and Dutch Blitz. I had also brought our collector’s edition of Tokaido, which arrived just before we left, so I read through the new rules. Ian spent most of his time preparing a new Pathfinder campaign for Sean and I to play.

20160623_082719_camper

Turns out the antibiotics Erin had been prescribed were not needed as the test results came back clear of infection. They were almost impossible for her to get down and really were just making her more sick, so we all rejoiced to find that we could dump them down the drain. It would be a few more days before she was completely healthy again.

Kaibab Selfie on Horseback

Day 6. Destination The Grand Canyon

Knowing that we had blown any possibility of a short drive, Nancy got herself up at 4am and fought her way through the labyrinth of the camper’s interior (full of stuff — including three bikes) to get everyone a change of clothes so we could all have showers and breakfast before leaving for The Grand Canyon. We made it out of the hotel shortly after 6am.

Erin was still not improving at this point and the bounciness seemed to have returned to the SUV. At some point along the road, I noticed that the rear of the car seemed to be sitting much lower than the front. I tried the self-leveling system, but it seemed to have completely failed and shut itself off. We were now driving seemingly without any rear suspension at all whether or not we were towing the camper — which means hard and bouncy.

Texas Wind Turbines

Even so, the drive to Arizona was beautiful. Between the Texas farmland and wind turbines to the many mesas and mountains, we were constantly amazed at the change in scenery. We made it to the Grand Canyon around 6pm. After setting up our campsite and having dinner, Sean insisted we go see the view. It was amazing!

20160627_195333_grandcanyonsunset

One of the best things about the dry wilderness of the Southwest is the view of the stars at night. Sean had the best view of all as he slept in a hammock outside the camper.

SeanSleepingInHammockAtTheGrandCanyon