A Grand Adventure!

Our family trip to the Grand Canyon was full of so many firsts, so many little boy giggles, alien terrain and moments a camera could never do justice!

This was my first time out west. The towering walls of red sandstone rising up against blue sky were shocking to me. (Considering we live fourteen feet above sea level!) While the boys climbed, explored and brushed off scraped knees, I tried to wrap my mind around the raw talent of mother nature. She is quite the artist:

Time seemed to stretch out like the dusty open landscape. Our body clocks had us rising at 5:30 every morning with the sun. With these longer days, we toured the icy Colorado river on a rafting trip in Page, then made the three-hour drive to the North Rim where we hiked (and I practiced calming breathes and tried not to look over the edge):

At the North Rim, the boys camped in a tent for the first time; made their own marshmallow sticks and  smores; learned about fire, absolute darkness and the importance of checking your shoes for critters before you put them back on.

From there, we drove to Sedona were we toured the massive red rock formations in a jeep and then a rock crawler. Yes, this part of the vacation took a sharp turn into boy territory as we bumped and climbed our way over rocks, choking on dust and searching the area for tarantulas and scorpions. I needed a dose of civilization and culture after this.

So, we drove to a quirky little town called Jerome. One of my favorite parts of our adventure! Jerome used to be a copper mining town, then a ghost town and now a thriving artist community. We ate at The Asylum, which really was a mental hospital-turned hotel/restaurant. Oh yeah, right up my alley! After the mind-bending climb and twisty turns, we arrived:

Then we promptly jumped back in the car as two snarling black dogs ran up the hill straight for us. The staff apologized and had no idea where they came from. The hounds of hell, maybe? The food was worth it:

Along with the creepy decor…

All in all, it was an amazing adventure! Even so, in the end, I was ready to come home. One thing I learned about myself. You can take the girl out of Florida, but you can’t take the Florida out of the girl!

Have you been to the Grand Canyon? What amazing adventure did you have this summer?

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  1. #1 by SCOTT on August 6, 2012 - 6:39 pm

    Hey Shannon,
    I, as of yet, have not been to the Grand Canyon. I have had some grand adventures in the rock climbing word, with my family, a few years back we went to Petra in Jordan and also out in the desert, where rock climbing was equally as magnificent and scary (for the parent at least).

    This year my boy being almost 16 and my mother in law being 80, we went en famille to Greece and Italy, and my son still looks for and finds places to climb. Some of the Greek Islands like Zakynthos have great volcanic, sandstone, weathered beach fronting ravines, and of course Italy has some amazing cliffs that allow you to constantly fear for your child’s life. Then we went to Washington State for three weeks which was tame by comparison, but cool to almost chilly, and a true delight for someone who has spent most of there days in Florida.

    I just wanted to say hi. I met you at last years Mystery Writer’s Conference, and found you as charming in person as you are in the written word world.
    I hope all is well with you and your family

    • #2 by Shannon Esposito on August 6, 2012 - 8:07 pm

      Hi, Scott! Greece and Italy are definitely on my bucket list! Especially now that I feel more comfortable flying. Sounds like a great family vacation. Boys never stop climbing then, huh? Thanks for visiting me here and I’m sad there will be no mystery writer’s conference in Sarasota this year. Big bummer.

  2. #3 by Coleen Patrick on August 6, 2012 - 8:02 pm

    Hi Shannon! I stopped at the Grand Canyon once while moving my sister from LA to VA. It was a last minute decision to stop and I am so glad I did. I remember being in awe at the vastness, the quiet. I am planning a trip back with my husband and kids this November. :)
    Thanks for sharing your trip–that rafting trip sounds cool and love those photos!

    • #4 by Shannon Esposito on August 6, 2012 - 8:10 pm

      The rafting trip in Page was definitely one of the highlights, though I imagine it will be colder in November. It was a half day trip and the kids even got to drive the boat! We really liked the Lake Powell Resort, in was in the middle of everything.

  3. #5 by August McLaughlin on August 6, 2012 - 9:37 pm

    So glad you had a glorious trip, Shannon. Love the pics!

    I’m hoping to visit the Grand Canyon in the next few years. I’ve heard that even the best of pics don’t do it justice. Judging from yours, that says a lot. :)

    • #6 by Shannon Esposito on August 7, 2012 - 12:24 am

      Thanks, August! I’d say its a must for your bucket list. The pictures really don’t give more than a glimse…the clean, thin air; the sounds of foriegn wildlife; the sense of awe. Just incredible.

  4. #7 by Jennette Marie Powell on August 7, 2012 - 1:36 am

    My husband and I took a helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon when we went to Vegas several years ago. Without a doubt, it was the best part of the trip. Your photography is beautiful! As close as any can come to doing it justice.

    • #8 by Shannon Esposito on August 7, 2012 - 2:57 am

      Thanks, Jennette! Hmmm..Vegas. Another bucket list. I better get a move on :-)

  5. #9 by jansenschmidt on August 7, 2012 - 8:15 pm

    Shannon, that is one of my most favorite parts of the country. It has such an eery strange quietness and beauty that I just want to keep going back. The Grand Canyon is amazing. I’ve never been down inside because everyone I’ve ever been there with is super scared of heights and won’t even go near the edge. Some day I’m going to take the mules down and camp.

    Jerome is a cool old place and Sedona is just plain awesome! (in my humble opinion) There is something sacred there that keeps me wanting to go back and I don’t think it’s just the vortexes either. It has it’s own unique beauty as all of God’s creations do.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures. Makes me want to go back.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • #10 by Shannon Esposito on August 11, 2012 - 4:52 am

      I am super-scared of heights, also and I did freak out when my kids got too close to the edge during hikes, but I still wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. I didn’t have any feeling one way or the other as far as the vortexes were concerned, though my friends did. But, I know I am more in sync with wide open spaces and the ocean, so it doesn’t surprise me. Everyone is different with different needs. Definitely beautiful, though and worth the trip!

  6. #11 by Kassandra Lamb on August 12, 2012 - 3:32 pm

    The Grand Canyon is one of the most awesome examples of Mother Nature’s power and beauty. We were there roughly twenty years ago, and it is still one of the highlights of my life to look out over that vast and beautiful space (even if it did give me vertigo :) ). Pictures don’t do it justice but yours come close.

    Welcome back to Florida! I’m bummed about no Sarasota conference as well.

  7. #12 by Debra Kristi on August 14, 2012 - 5:50 am

    You’re pictures are beautiful. I haven’t been to the Grand Canyon in years. I can’t beleive your body clocks had you waking up so darn early. When I took the kids camping this year I could totally sleep in if it weren’t for the crazy birds. They have no respect for our desire to sleep. A meal at the Asylum sounds pretty unique. I’d go for that. Glad you got home to Florida. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  8. #13 by Karen McFarland on August 31, 2012 - 8:34 pm

    Shannon, please accept my humble apology for not coming to your blog sooner. I’m just getting on my feet from a month of being burned out and sick on top of it. But as I scrolled down my list of WANAblogs, I noticed that I hadn’t seen you. :(

    I am so glad that you and your family enjoyed the wonderful sights of Arizona. I lived in North Scottsdale for almost twenty years, so I know northern Arizona well.

    Paige is not a major city, but what did you think of Lake Powell? Not sure how much water is in the Lake since the drought. But I’m so glad that you got the chance to take the boys down the river. That was a cool experience. And the north rim of the Grand Canyon is breathe-taking. If you’re like me, I bet you watched your boys like a hawk around the ledge, right? :)

    Jerome is an interesting town. You seemed to find the best place to dine at. I didn’t know that Jerome served up that kind of meal. I’m impressed!

    Sedona is amazing! I’ve been on a Jeep adventure up there and it is so much fun. Your family reminds me so much of mine when our boys were that age. We had a blast taking them on trips such as the one you took.

    So happy that you had a great vacation Shannon! Those are wonderful memories! Thanks for sharing them with us. :)

  9. #14 by Jess Witkins on October 19, 2014 - 4:14 pm

    Wow! Beautiful pictures! I haven’t been to the Grand Canyon, but it’s on my bucket list. I love the terrain of the western states. We did a road trip to Yellowstone 2 years ago and it was mesmerizing. I loved driving through the mountains – hadn’t ever been through them in the U.S. before. I hope to go back someday!

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