Once again I followed Chris to the destination of his dental school interviews. In November it was New York City and this time it was Phoenix, Arizona. I arrived in the afternoon on Thursday, just before Chris’ interview was over and we are leaving tonight so that didn’t leave us much time to explore Phoenix and the Grand Canyon (because why wouldn’t you go to the Grand Canyon if it’s that close).
Thursday Feb 4, 2016 –
Arizona Coyotes against Chicago Blackhawks, cheap tickets so we said why not. Walking through the outdoor area in front of the arena looking for a place to eat, we were literally surrounded by a sea of red, Blackhawks fans everywhere! The atmosphere in the arena was nothing like a Toronto Maple Leafs game, it was lively, everyone was drinking and having a good time, despite the fact that Chicago fans outnumbered Arizona fans (65/35). I was really caught off guard during the national anthem when everyone cheered throughout the entire anthem, but apparently it’s a Chicago Blackhawks thing. The was exciting, with the first goal for Chicago not counting, the crowd was getting rowdy. We were unsure about who to cheer for but being surrounded by Arizona fans in our immediate vicinity we couldn’t pass up any opportunity to HOWWWWWLLLL! In the end Arizona lost 5-4 in OT, with only 28 seconds left in the game! It was an awesome experience.
After the game, instead of going back to our hotel to get an early nights rest, we decided to try out luck at Dave and Busters! Best. Time. Adult arcades are awesome. The End.
Friday Feb 5, 2016
We got up nice and early and went to pick up the car we had rented to take us to the Grand Canyon, since we were on a budget we got the smallest car options, the compact car, the Blue Fiat 500. Imagine a guy that always drives pick up trucks ripping around in this tiny go cart. It was fun.
We took the highway north and passed through Sedona on our way to the Grand Canyon. We stopped to take pictures near a big Red Rock called Bell Rock, it looked like a bell so.. hence the name. The lady taking our picture kept telling us to move over so we wouldn’t have a sign in the picture, but she was too concerned about the sign to take a good picture, or let me move my hair out of my face..
We drove up the I-17 and the N 89A, which took us the scenic route toward the Grand Canyon. It was awesome because the higher the elevation the colder it was and in some places there was way more snow than others. Depending how the sunlight reached the cliff sides or the bottom of the valley, created the varying levels of snow. We stopped at a beautiful look out on N 89A, not exactly sure what it was but it was awesome.
We continued our journey north, climbing in elevation but driving on some surprisingly flat land.
The Grand Canyon is nothing you can prepare yourself for, no matter how many pictures you’ve seen prior. We arrived to Grand Canyon National Park and went to the visitor centre to get information on what we should do. The guide told us the best sunset and sunrise spots, as well as a trail we could do that took us about 1200 ft below the canyon rim. This was awesome because we didn’t even think that we would be able to hike down into the canyon.
Once we finished talking to the guide we made our way over to Mather’s point, which was full of tourists (this is also the middle on winter season, which is not really that busy). Rounding the corner and setting eyes on the canyon for the first time was absolutely breathtaking. I actually cannot explain to you how beautiful it was, you think my pictures are spectacular, seeing it with your own two eyeballs is even better. I honestly wouldn’t want to be there in the summer, it would just be unenjoyable, way too packed. We walked along the south rim until we reached the next lookout point and took the shuttle back so we could drive and check out some of the awesome lookouts and sunset spot.
After the sunset we headed back to our hotel, on our way we passed by an Elk family in the park.
Saturday Feb 6, 2016
This morning we got up bright and early, 5:40 am. We heading to Grand Canyon National Park and shuttled to Yaki Point to watch the sunrise. This morning the temperature was -12 degrees, I don’t know about you but I never expected the Grand Canyon to be that cold (but I guess at 7200 ft above sea level in the middle of winter, you could expect these conditions). Bundled up, and freezing we watched the sun rise over the canyon rim and light up the canyon.
After that we headed back to the visitor centre area and had breakfast and warmed up before we headed back into the brisk winter air. At about 8:45 am we started on the South Kaibab Trail, which enters the canyon on the south rim and goes all the way to the bottom and back up the north side (north kabab trail). We didn’t have much time so we decided to only trek down to Cedar Ridge/Point (which is about 2.4 km into the Canyon). The first park of the trail was snowy and icy due to the lack of sun on the area, but after that the trail was just steep and scary. One wrong step and you’re basically done for, it’s definitely not a hike you take lightly. Since we only did the first portion of this trail it wasn’t very difficult but as you get deeper into the canyon the difficulty increases and so does the risk.
Some of the most spectacular views was from below the canyon rim. Panoramic views of the canyon east and west were incredible. Like I said before, it’s hard to explain and you really need to just see it for yourself.
After this trek, which generally takes 2-4 hours only took us just under 2.5 hours we headed back towards Phoenix. We stopped just outside of Sedona quickly for a quick 2km hike below a bridge to the river below. The temperature had dramatically increased compared to our morning, I was wearing a t-shirt and it was probably in the low 20s. We stopped at Bell Rock again, to capture our perfect picture (without hair in face and yes wide open).
We made it back to Phoenix for 5pm and had dinner before arriving FOUR AND A HALF hours early for our flight back home. I’m currently sitting in the airport gate finishing up this blog. Hope you enjoyed my pictures.
Until Next Time,