I just returned home from my annual 'sisters' vacation. This year, my sister Amy and my brother Gaylon and his wife Nicole accompanied me to the Grand Canyon after a few days of visiting their current state of residence, New Mexico. I can sum up the entire trip in two words: fascinating and hot. The deserts, mountains and history in New Mexico were among the most beautiful and interesting that I've ever seen. We visited White Sands and walked on the glistening gypsum-flecked dunes. We climbed a hill near Alamagordo and took pictures of six hundred-year-old petroglyphs. We strolled and shopped in the historic town of Mesilla. But I struggled in the heat - New Mexico is very hot in May - it was almost 100 degress every day.
It's difficult for me to describe the Grand Canyon. It's certainly a one-of-a-kind location. I visited the Waimea Canyon on the Hawaiian island of Kauai earlier this year, and was quite impressed with its size and colors. But the Grand Canyon - well, there's just nothing else like it in the world. The words vast, immense, rugged, majestic and breathtaking only begin to describe the Canyon's gorgeous spires, gorges, plateaus and cliffs. It's one of those places - like the ocean - where one can sit next to it and just gaze at it and completely lose track of time, caught in some sort of mesmerizing state of awe. Both Amy and I took lots of photos of the Canyon from the various observation points we visited.
I would definitely visit the Canyon again someday. We were only there for two full days and although Amy and I explored as much of the landscape as we could during that time, we didn't even make it out to the Desert Rim trail to see the Painted Desert. We also didn't have time for the 200-mile road trip to the more secluded North Rim, which is only 10 or so miles as the crow flies from the South Rim but which requires an entire day for the round trip by road.
My next vacation will be here at home. My sister Danita and her husband Kerry will be visiting us in Oregon in July. We'll drive over to the Oregon coast, and we've scheduled a trip to Mount St. Helens to see the changes since the eruption 26 years ago. I'm looking forward to a week of vacation that doesn't have such a busy itinerary, but to me, the Grand Canyon was definitely worth all the airport hassles and long car trips.