31. December 2014 · Comments Off on Grand Canyon: Our Junior Ranger · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
Timmy performed all the tasks to earn Junior Ranger. He then had to pledge to respect nature and the environment before earning his Junior Ranger badge.

Timmy performed all the tasks to earn Junior Ranger. He then had to pledge to respect nature and the environment before earning his Junior Ranger badge. We did this on our way out of the park on our last day.

Timmy earned his first National Park Service Junior Ranger badge while we were at the Grand Canyon. He was required to complete several age-appropriate activities in a workbook (which includes things like taking observations, coloring pictures, answering questions, and writing a poem about the park), attend an age-appropriate Ranger-led program, and then take a pledge to be respectful and protect the things the National Park Service finds important: nature, the environment, and animal life. More »

31. December 2014 · Comments Off on Grand Canyon: Stunning Sunset · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
Nothing like it in the world...everybody needs to see the beauty of a Grand Canyon sunset.

Nothing like it in the world…everybody needs to see the beauty of a Grand Canyon sunset.

I am resuming my summer travels writing…although we’re now nearly 6 months departed from this trip. I need need need to get these memories written down so I don’t forget everything.

I have a couple weeks until my next block of work begins at the Air Force Academy, so I figured I’d use this time to continue catching up. I had arranged my photo albums based on my blog posts, so it’s a little less chaotic than it might have been with a huge clump of photos.

This post is about the stunning Grand Canyon sunset. There are two things every visitor needs to do: hike down below the rim and see a sunset. The amazing colors in the geology and sky are worth the effort. Take a good camera, you’ll want to have fun with the settings to try to capture the colors. More »

12. September 2014 · Comments Off on Grand Canyon: Bright Angel Trail · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
One of my favorite photos ever. My boys enjoying America's beauty.

One of my favorite photos ever. My boys enjoying America’s beauty.

On the 2nd full day of our Grand Canyon trip, we decided to get an early start and hit the Bright Angel Trail.

The Bright Angel Trail originates at the heart of the “touristy” part of the South Rim Grand Canyon park. It’s a well-maintained trail, in part because this is the trail that the mules use for those tours. Because of the accessibility, it’s definitely more crowded than the remote Hermit’s Trail. More »

01. September 2014 · Comments Off on Grand Canyon: The Hermit Trail & Hermit’s Rest · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,
Hermit's Rest is on the far western end of the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

Hermit’s Rest is on the far western end of the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

We had made it clear to the boys that we would be hiking at least part of our two days at the Grand Canyon. I saw a list of family-friendly activities in the park summer guide. We chose the Junior Ranger Family Adventure Program, in which families can descend down into the canyon via the challenging Hermit’s Trail. Dave and I wanted to get some exercise, and we were confident our kids could handle it.

Getting to Hermit’s Rest, where the program began, was a task in itself. We drove to the¬†Grand Canyon Village part of the park, where we then caught a bus that took us on the 45 minute drive to the western end of the park. It was a gorgeous drive with several views of the canyon to enjoy. More »

01. September 2014 · Comments Off on Grand Canyon: Mather Campground Elk! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

We arrived at our campsite with plenty of time to set up camp. We enjoyed a relaxing evening with a camp stove dinner (I can’t remember what, probably burgers and hot dogs).

We had to walk 1-2 campsites over to reach the restroom building. On one of our walks to the restroom building, we saw this magnificent elk feasting on tree branches. The kids were awestruck, and I rushed over to the truck for our camera’s telephoto lens.

We chatted with the kids about what we were observing: the size of the elk, the size of his antlers (at least 4′), what he was choosing to eat, the trouble he seemed to be having getting his antlers tangled in the tree branches. Enjoy some photos of what we spent about 20 minutes observing. You can see the full album here. Several other nearby campers were similarly photographing it.

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Jacob said, “Hey Mom, take a picture of me with the elk!”

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Then Timmy said, “Take a picture of me too!” This photo cracks me up!

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My favorite of the 70+ photos I took.

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Our first views of the Grand Canyon were breathtaking.

Our first views of the Grand Canyon at the Desert View overlook were breathtaking.

The day we stopped at Mesa Verde National Park and the Four Corners Monument, we had to eventually make it to the Grand Canyon campground. It’s only about 5-6 hours worth of driving from Durango, but we made several stops. So we were hard pressed to get to the campsite with enough time to pitch our tents before dark. More »

29. July 2014 · Comments Off on A Grand Canyon Preview · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

I ¬†have several posts to write about our trip out west in June, but between my full time work and making sure the kids are squared away this summer, I’ve been quite slow.

Feel free to browse these Grand Canyon photo albums and at the end of this post I’ll attach the text of the post I wrote for GeekMom about the Grand Canyon, which has a little of everything but not quite so much detail.

Drive to the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Mather Campground Elk Sighting

Grand Canyon Hermit Trail

Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trail

Grand Canyon Visitor Center & Mather Point

Grand Canyon Sunset at Mather Point

Timmy the Junior Ranger

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When Geeks Go on Vacation: Grand Canyon, originally published at GeekMom.com 24 July 2014 More »