The Grand Canyon: not just a big weird ditch!

I’d like to start this post off by publicly apologizing to my mother, who has been trying to convince my family to go to the Grand Canyon for years. Turns out that the Grand Canyon is amazing. I’m sorry, Mom. I take back what I said about it being “just a big hole in the ground.”

(I do, however, maintain that Niagara Falls is pretty lame.)

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no such thing as too much cactus

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My friends Allison and Kelsey moved out to Phoenix in July, and without them my life has been joyless and bleak, how dare they leave me here, etc etc. In all seriousness, their lives are amazing and I’m super happy for them: they have new jobs in their fields, a new apartment, and two new cats. I miss their faces a lot, I was so glad that I got to head out to Arizona and spend the weekend with them over my “fall break” (having Columbus Day off does not a fall break make, Pitt!). While they were at Grove City I got to know Allison and Kelsey’s roommate Mandy, who is from Phoenix and is living there as well now, so this weekend was like three friends for the price of one! WHAT A DEAL.

Mandy is a hiker with the calves of an Olympian, so she convinced us to go hike Shaw Butte on Saturday morning. I am very much not a hiker — as it combines the outdoors with physical exertion, which are two things I am not about — but it turned out to be a really nice hike! I mean, after four miles and 700 feet of elevation I was pretty sure I was going to die, but the view from the peak was capital-S Scenic, I felt very accomplished on the way back down, and it gave me the opportunity to make a metric ton of terrible butte jokes. In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I may have looked into hiking at North Park? Clearly the end times are upon us.

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I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, and neither had Allison and Kelsey have only been in Phoenix for a few months now so that was our plan for Sunday. As I mentioned earlier, I have a history of being underwhelmed by the majesty of nature — I’m an indoor cat — but I was not about to leave Arizona without seeing the one exciting thing in it. So we got up early Sunday and hit the road!

I’m used to the rolling hills and forests of Pennsylvania, or alternately the endless flat cornfields of Missouri, so driving through Arizona was a surprisingly interesting change. It’s all desert and cacti around Phoenix, then it shifts to little scrubby trees, and then by the time you get to Flagstaff it’s beautiful pine forest. There’s several thousand feet of elevation difference between Phoenix and Flagstaff, so it gets much cooler as you go north, which I seriously appreciated. The people in Phoenix will talk your ear off about how it’s a dry heat but dry or not, it was still in the 80s in October and I don’t like any weather where I can’t wear my leather jacket. It was in the 60s by the time we got to the Canyon, so I was happily layered up again.

The Grand Canyon was incredible. I cannot understate how amazing it is. It’s absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, and my lame iPhone photos do not do it justice in the slightest. It’s so big, and every part of it looks different, and I so wish that we had had more than a few hours there. Allison at one point declared that she wanted “to live in the canyon” and I can’t say that I blame her. I really want to make it back there some day for a longer period of time and go hiking or rafting or camping or something, because: CANYON.

So that was my long weekend! It seems like more and more of my friends are scattering across the country, and it’s getting harder and harder to keep in contact with them, so I’m really glad that I got to see Allison and Kelsey. Even with Skype and email and the varied and sundry social networks, there’s nothing quite like seeing friends face-to-face.

Plus, the Grand Canyon, am I right? Man, I am still not over how cool the Grand Canyon is.



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