On our second to last day on the road, we headed west and then north from Santa Fe to the Grand Canyon. We drove through most of the day and early afternoon, finally embarking on a quiet and winding back road that wove through rural northern Arizona, chasing the sinking sun that slowly melted beyond the dark outlines of the canyons.
At 6:30 p.m., the Mather Campground on the South Rim was already enveloped in darkness, so we set up our tent and fire by lamplight. This time around, there were no gates to be locked; the Grand Canyon is open 24/7/365, with people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. A minute away from our campsite there was a short road that led to a huge general/grocery store and a trading post shop and cafe.
Our campfire was wildly successful and burned late into the night. We drank wine and beer and made s’mores with peppermint patties for chocolate. Despite the roaring flames from the fire, when we looked up into the sky, there were more stars than we thought ever existed and each one shone brighter than the next. Several carloads of new campers arrived after us, a comforting contrast to the desolate emptiness of Lake Norman campground in North Carolina.
On Sunday morning, we packed up our site early and drove a few minutes toward one of the overlooks to the canyons. The photos simply don’t do the landscape justice, but they give you an idea of just how vast and beautiful the Grand Canyon truly is:
We left the Grand Canyon with a sense of awe, feeling blessed for experiencing something so exceedingly beautiful. When you see a part of the Earth, a part of nature, that literally takes your breath, you feel small yet inspired at the same time: small for being so close to something so vast and immense; inspired to become as beautiful as what you’ve seen.
Our journey continued on.