Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How Magnificent Are Your Works, Oh Lord!

My honey strongly encouraged me to plan a vacation, however, I found the whole thought overwhelming. Where would we go? What would we do? We rarely travel and that’s my doing, mostly because I don’t want to waste money on airfares, eating out, or hotels when we can use the money for more practical things. Still, it had been a few years since our last getaway and my sweet husband who works long strings of twelve hour days needed a real vacation. He wanted time away from the same routine and surroundings.

After putting it off for months and months, I finally planned a vacation to Arizona. He had never seen the Grand Canyon and a trip there wouldn't involve a beach or having to wear a swimsuit. I went on the Trip Adviser website and spent countless hours researching and reading other traveler’s itineraries and advice. Three months ago I came up with a plan and began booking reservations.

We just returned from our trip and I am surprised to find that I can’t stop thinking about it. Nor can I stop thanking God for eight incredible days of special memories and experiences sealed in our hearts and minds.

We flew into Phoenix, rented a car and headed north to Sedona. It was a two hour drive but we stopped twice. Once to pick up supplies at a Wal-Mart (mostly bottled water and food for hiking) and once for lunch at an adorable restaurant that was once a stagecoach stop.

Once we entered Sedona, my jaw dropped and I was amazed at the beauty of the red rocks. We spotted them in the distance but seriously, it’s not until you are close up that you realize how incredible they are. We stopped at the Ranger Station for the parking pass, then checked out Bell Rock and Chapel of the Holy Cross. The little town was as charming as could be as we drove through it, looking for our hotel. Once checked in, we were thrilled at the view that awaited us from our balcony (2nd photo below).

 Our week was filled with exciting moments. We went extreme four wheeling in the red rocks of Sedona (driven by well trained experts, not us!), we did a four hour river raft trip on the Colorado River and flew in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. All were memorable and fun. What I loved most, were the quiet morning hikes, the breathtaking beauty that I couldn’t get enough of with the bright blue sky and fresh air (and no humidity or bugs!). The only sounds were that of our feet crunching on the trails, an occasional bird, or the clicking sounds from our camera. I also loved the sense of accomplishment after a challenging hike, walking hand in hand through the cute shops, the unhurried dinners each night on the scenic patios. I must admit that going out to dinner every night wasn’t bad either!

To experience God’s creation with my honey was such a gift. I tried to take it all in, absorbing each moment somehow so that it wouldn’t be forgotten.

Three hours north of Sedona is Page, AZ. If you are ever there, be sure to check out the Glen Canyon Dam, the Antelope slot canyons, Horseshoe Bend and the Colorado River Raft trip.

On the surface, only a small opening is visible.

But when you crawl deep below the surface through the narrow opening, this is what you see. Sculpted rock from the water that flows through the underground canyons. We walked for over an hour and the images were constantly changing.

Horseshoe Bend (the drop off is MUCH further than it appears and there aren't any guard rails)

This was taken during our raft trip. Gorgeous.

After leaving Page, we visited the G.C. National Park. The Grand Canyon is grand indeed!

This was posted at the Grand Canyon. How perfectly appropriate.
Hiking a portion of the Bright Angel Trail. Something to remember: it's uphill all the way back!
I considered hopping on!
Seeing the canyon from another viewpoint

It’s funny to me that I didn’t want to go and now I can’t wait to return.

Thank you Lord, for blessing our trip. Your creation is truly awesome!