Sunday, March 9, 2014

Grand Canyon Jeep Tour

Grand Canyon Jeep Tour. Best idea ever. 
I have seen the Grand Canyon several times from the air, primarily on the way to Vegas. This was my first up close and personal visit to the Canyon. 

After returning from Spring Training last year, my dad dropped hints that the Grand Canyon was on his bucket list, so this year I had to make it happen. 

Planning a trip to the Grand Canyon seemed a bit overwhelming to me, so I left it to the professionals and scheduled a tour through the Grand Canyon Jeep Tours peeps.  We went with the Sunset Tour package and I am here to tell you, it was awesome. The tour took us through the Kaibab National Forest to the Canyon's edge. Our guide, Colleen, was knowledgeable about every aspect of the tour, from the wildlife, to great picture taking spots to how to find pine nuts.

Bloggity blog note...the only picture that was adjusted with a filter is the one of the jeep.

The drive to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix is about 3 1/2 hours and we decided to make a day trip of it. 

A friendly cactus waving us along. 

With any road trip, you need snacks. I grabbed this and I want to let you know that the Turbos Flamas burnt a hole through my tongue. 

The Kaibib National Forest was beautiful. We didn't see much wildlife, but there was quite a bit of fire damage from campers that didn't properly extinguish their camp fire and several lightning strikes. 

There are numerous trees that have tags on them, making them Bearing Trees. You can get a map, and use the trees to, ahem, get you bearings. This was key in the time before GPS locators. Word of note, around this area my phone service started to die out. 

This 80 foot high tower is used to monitor for forest fires. There is a 70+ year old man that climbs this tower 5 or 6 times a day during the season. I made it to the first platform or so before I chickened out. You can climb almost to the top. 

I'm going to let the next few pictures speak for themselves. The view was majestic. You can climb around at your will and in some areas I was a braver than others. There was some teen trying to do hand stands at the Canyon edge.

I don't recommend that. 

The ravens were ginormous.

Not every day you see a mountain lion crossing sign. 

This is my favorite picture. 

During one of our stops, the tour guide, Colleen, shared with us the Navajo legend of ghost beads, made from juniper berries. The Navajo and other tribes use the dried berries in jewelry, creating pieces that are meant to offer harmony and protection to those that wear them. Colleen then gave us all a bracelet made from the ghost beads.

It was pretty darn cool. 

If you are planning a trip out West, this tour needs to be on your stop.

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