ARIZONA: Grand Canyon National Park

June 23rd ~ Williams, AZ ~

The Grand Canyon

Our trip was almost at an end, and as so often seems to be the case, everyones energy level had faded. Shirley was not her spunky self, Tim had been fighting allergies that had probably gone into a sinus infection, and I was just plain old feeling worn out. We decided to reroute a shorter direction towards home. BUT, first we had to see the GRAND CANYON!

Our KOA RV park in Williams was about an hour drive from the south rim and visitors center. We had disconnected Jethro from the tow position so I was able to do most of the driving and give Tim a bit of a break.

Stopping at the visitors center for our passport stamps and watch the 22 minute film seems to be a theme now at each National Park we stop at and this was no different.

Map of visitors center area showing Mather Point

None of us were up for longer drives and/or long walks today so we chose the easy route and took the short walk behind the visitors center to Mather Point.

I’m probably telling tales out of school, but I wanted to share a bit of the back story that occurred before we arrived here: Shirley is afraid of heights.

Spending her entire life in Illinois on a farm, which is about as much of a flat-lander as one could possibly be, to all of a sudden be experiencing deep valleys, curvy mountain roads, steep cliffs, sharp drop offs and such foreign environments as a great grandmother, was a bit over-whelming at times.

I knew we were in trouble when early on in the trip she was dizzy from the view from the five floor tower at Falls Park, SD…

Falls Park ~ View from observation platform

And, initially did not want to get out of the car to see the view in the badlands for fear of falling. But she did.

Shirley in the Badlands at an overlook

I was worried and wondering if she would even enjoy seeing Bryce or the Grand Canyon.

She was still uncomfortable at times at Grand Teton National Park, and either had a death grip on Tim or the railing when approaching any edges.

Joanne, Tim, Shirley at Jenny Lake

At Yellowstone, she not only walked to the falls, but looked down.

Lower Falls

By the time we got to Bryce, she was not hesitating getting out of the car. She almost seems relaxed here.

Overlooking Bryce National Park on a windy day

And that brings us back to the Grand Canyon. Certainly there are few places on this planet that are more challenging for someone with a fear of heights to confront. It is after all a VERY BIG, DEEP HOLE IN THE GROUND.

“Unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep. Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.” – nps.gov

First view of the Grand Canyon

Mather Point jutted out into the canyon

We decided to venture out onto the point for even better views.

Mather Point Overlook

Yes, it is a GRAND VIEW!

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Tim, his mom Shirley, and Joanne

There was a sign that warned people not to throw coins off of the edge from Mather Point. None-the-less, quite a collection of coins could be seen on the rocks below. Sadly a condor (on the endangered list) recently died from the coins.

This plant caught my eye.

Apache Bloom

aka: Fallugia paradoxa

“The delicate white flowers of Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa) grow at multiple levels in Grand Canyon. In early spring they are first sighted along the Colorado River in the Inner Gorge and then as summer progresses on the rims you might see it growing in washes or along the edge. Shortly after blooming, purple fruits are seen and their parts form in clusters.

Apache plume stems are extensive and serve to help stabilize washes and other areas on cliffs where they occur in the canyon.” ~ NPS.gov

And of course, our day would not be complete without a toe touching photo. But Shirley decided since this was the last National Park we would be visiting that she would up her game and touch not just her toes, but the ground.

Shirley touching the ground in front of the Grand Canyon sign

We are now back home, curled up and comfy in our mountain cabin. Shirley will be here with us for a couple more weeks. Our next adventure will be going to Huntington Beach (Surf City USA) for the largest Fourth of July parade west of the Mississippi. In the meantime we will rest, unpack the RV, do laundry, grocery shopping, and of course just spend time together.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: So, why did I want to share about Shirley’s fear of heights? I guess it was to lead up to why I am so thankful for this trip and how proud I am of her. One might think we were nuts to take on a several-week trip in a small RV with our 83 year-old mom/mother-in-law and head cross country. But it went even smoother than I had hoped. Never once did she complain, even on days when she might have had good reason to. She overcame her fears and did not let it stop her from getting out the door and experiencing all of the magnificent places we visited. She was always eager to help, made an effort to please, and shared in the chores. And of course the icing on the cake was the time that Tim had in getting to know his mother better and visa-versa. I am grateful ❤

I have loved this quote for as long as I can remember. In fact, so much, it became the tagline for my blog. It seems so appropriate to once again share it:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sailaway from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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24 Responses to ARIZONA: Grand Canyon National Park

  1. Very nice! Grand Canyon’s one of my favorite places to hike! I really enjoy following your blog!

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  2. Darlene says:

    My dad, another flatlander, had a fear of heights too but still enjoyed the Grand Canyon. He just didn’t go very close to the edge. Bravo to Shirley. What a trooper. I am so impressed. Love the Mark Twain quote. I have really enjoyed following along with you on this road trip. Enjoy your downtime.xo

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    • I’m so glad that your father was able to enjoy the Grand Canyon, in spite of his fear. It is hard for me to relate to being uncomfortable in the mountains (and with heights) since I grew up in them in Southern Oregon. But I know the feelings were very real, and I give her a great deal of credit for not letting it stop her from making the most of the opportunity to see some of our grandest National Parks. Thank you for joining us!

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  3. Piano girl says:

    Such sweet memories! ❤️

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  4. Brenda Thompson says:

    The picture of the three of you at Jenny Lake is spectacular. That one photo alone would have been worth the whole trip. I’ve looked at it over and over. I love and appreciate that you include Tim’s mom in your travels. What fabulous memories you made and will be forever in your hearts. I see too often the loneliness of getting older. I always believe that we should have something to look forward to. I am certain you have added such joy to Shirley’s life. What an amazing daughter-in-law you are. If we were all so lucky.
    The “Apache Bloom” is gorgeous. I’ve never seen this before. Thanks for educating me, leading by example of being a good/involved daughter/daughter in law, and sharing your travels with all of us. I look forward to your posts; knowing I will be learning something new, seeing places I have only read about or not even knew existed, and always ending with your gentle Gratitude Moment.
    Thank you.

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    • Brenda, you are always so sweet, kind and generous with you loving comments. I am in the process of making a photo book of our road trip and contemplating which photo to use for the cover. I think the one from Jenny Lake may now be in the lead. Thank you for always supporting us along our journeys.

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  5. joliesattic says:

    The first time I saw the Grand Canyon, they didn’t have all those guard rails then, so I crawled on my belly to look over the edge. It still made me nauseous. My hubby thought it was funny when he then put our 18 month old daughter on his 6’1″ shoulders and walked over to the edge to see it while I screamed at him. It was mean and cruel of him to do that to a mommy. It was the worst experience of my life. I have gotten over the fear of heights for the most part since and went on to become an avid rock climber some 20 years later. Not to mention jumping out of airplane recently. I still won’t look over the edge of a cliff however. Not without a rope or some protection.

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  6. Kim Thomas says:

    Love the beautiful pictures. I love that mom is seeing all these places. Tim and Joanne you have done a wonderful thing for mom
    💖💖💖💖💖💖💖

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  7. Marie says:

    I have enjoyed reading about all of your adventures. Memories are so precious. Glad you made it home safely.

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  8. Oh my, I was at the Williams KOA on the 23rd! We took the grandkids there to escape the heat and have some fun outdoors. At 4 and 9, they were impressed by the canyon……for about 5 minutes, lol! What a nice way to end your road trip. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

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  9. Widdershins says:

    Way to go, Shirley! 😀 … just goes to prove you’re never to old to face your fears and have adventures! 😀

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  10. LTodd says:

    Your mother-in-law is an inspiration. I hope I’m as brave when I’m her age. Enjoy your time together.

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  11. Laci says:

    Shirley shows us all that you are never too old to face your fears.Good for her and beautiful pictures!

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