Greg wanted to implement something on this trip that he’d heard about. It’s the Rule of Twos. Drive no more than 200 miles a day, stop before 2pm, and stay for 2 days. We hadn’t been really successful at that so far but today we did it. (Well, except the two days thing!)
We got an early start out this morning -- we were on the road by 7:30am. We made a few stops on the way out and Greg, Gage, and Ruth even hiked down into the canyon a bit at Grandview Trail. Our last stop in GC was at Desert View Tower. Most of the buildings at Grand Canyon were designed by a woman architect in the 30’s. Her name was Mary Coulter and she was hired by the Harvey Company to develop buildings for the area. She had an amazing vision and created some truly stunning buildings.
The drive out of the east side of the canyon is beautiful. You drive along the Little Colorado River and have amazing views. We stopped at Wupatki National Monument. This spot is where Greg and I felt that the tone of our Honeymoon Trip changed. We were planning to travel from National Wonder to Natural Wonder. After Wupatki, we spent most of our time visiting Anasazi Ruins. They have improved the site quite a bit in 23 years which was nice to see.
We stopped at The Citadel and were so moved by what we saw there. It’s so gorgeous. We drove on to the Visitor’s Center and the Wupatki Pueblo. We walked all around the trail there and were quite overheated when we got back to the FMC -- what is it about hiking in the desert! We were glad to get on the road again. Luckily, the road started climbing again and soon, we were back in the cool pines again. Sunset Crater National Monument was next. We drove by, heading for our campground. We camped at Bonito Campground just outside the monument. It was another gorgeous National Forest campground -- The Coconino National Forest, this time. We got settled, had lunch, and then drove over to learn about the crater and the lava flow. We learned a lot about volcanos and the lava flow is like nothing I’ve ever seen.
When we got back to camp, we pulled up chairs in the shade and sipped drinks while talking about how lovely the campground was. We kept hearing a tinkling sound. We had to assume that we weren’t being surrounded by Tinkerbell and her friends -- I was thrilled to see that it was hummingbirds. Never got a good look at them but they enjoyed buzzing us.
There is a stunning flower that is native to the area -- Pink Penstemon It’s so beautiful.
It was very windy at the campground so there was ban on fires. We were fine with that and really were more comfortable inside eating and playing games after dinner.
That Rule of Twos thing makes for a nice combination of travel and relaxation. While we aren't staying two days here, it's still easier than doing marathon slogs and driving for 6 hours a day.