June 23rd ~ Williams, AZ ~
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.
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…
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.
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.
At Yellowstone, she not only walked to the falls, but looked down.
By the time we got to Bryce, she was not hesitating getting out of the car. She almost seems relaxed here.
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
We decided to venture out onto the point for even better views.
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.
“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.
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