Up again in the early hours to drive for about five hours today. With a full tank of gas and my wife asleep in the car, this ride was a boring one. Hours of wide open areas with the occasional trailer home in the middle of it. I think the people here enjoy their solitude and I can agree to that sometimes. The busy cities and drama of people can get exhausting after a while.
We crossed into Arizona and after a while we made it to the Grand Canyon. After circling the parking lot about 5 times next to our hotel trying to find a space, I finally snagged one. We got out and stretched and made our way to the rim of the canyon. The only word that came to mind was "wow". The human eye can't really take in the vastness of this place. You look down and see the floor of the canyon and it looks like a cheesy old west background. But you are seeing for miles and miles to the other side. It's really quite a sight and being first timers it takes your breath away.....or maybe it was just the high winds doing that.
Since it was mid day the light was beyond harsh for photos so we walked to the grocery store in the park and got a snack. The map made it look close but it's well over a mile so Beth wasn't too happy and neither was I really. So by the time we got back to the hotel the light was nice enough for me to get this image
We stayed at the El Tovar hotel which is very old and really gives a vibe that we were in The Shining. Our tiny bed and tiny room didn't really justify the price but the canyon is about 200 feet from the front door so we can't complain. That night we tried for milky way photos as dozens of bats flew uncomfortably close to our heads over and over.
I was right about the creepiness of the hotel because while we were sleeping I woke up to the sound of one if our plastic bags being shifted and the occasional light tapping noise near our door. In the morning I looked online to find there's reports of this hotel being haunted that I didn't see until after we slept there. So that was weird, most likely explainable to be an old building with old plumbing. Except we don't know what rustled our bag when the A.C. was off and the windows were shut.
That morning we frantically drove to a spot for sunrise to find the color appearing before we reached it. I did manage to get a couple images of color before it quickly vanished.
We were getting ready to leave when I couldn't find my wife and found her shooting away from the crowd. I'm glad she did because I got my favorite photo of the trip here
After a long uneventful drive from there to Oklahoma City we were dead tired and checked into our hotel around midnight. Same went for the next day driving from there to Ohio. We did however take a detour to enter Kansas just to say we went there......would have preferred to not have that detour end at a "gentleman's club" but oh well.
Our final zoo trip turned out to be the best zoo we've visited. If you have the time, go to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. All the animals here are happy and friendly. Our favorite part was standing in the underwater viewing area watching the polar bear swim and play. She tried to catch the live fish in the exhibit but wasn't quick enough, though most of the fish show signs that she's gotten a little taste. It's really something being inches away and feeling her power as she launched off the glass to gain momentum. The other thing I liked was putting my hand against the glass and having a baby gorilla try to copy me. Then his older brother saw me trying to wipe the condensation off so I could see him and wiped his side of the glass so he could see me and we "touched knuckles" with each other.
That night we ended up in New York and in the morning we went to Niagara Falls but didn't end up taking photos because it was far too misty and parking was an issue at 5:30am with most of the lots closed. So we headed home early to our long missed cats.
It's bittersweet coming home after vacation, the reality of having to go back to work, do housework, deal with the traffic and just everyday life is depressing. What was worse for me was having to figure out how I can shoot anything here in New England after seeing the beauty the west has. 28 years of seeing the same things really makes you numb to any potential beauty we have here. I haven't really gone out much because I keep thinking that nothing can match what we saw on our trip. Winter is almost here too which means no colorful scenes and bitter temperatures that I'd rather not stand in at 6am. But then this past weekend I headed to Rollinsford NH and shot this image that makes me wonder if there's a little more than obvious places to shoot. Here's to exploring the unknown and making something beautiful that's otherwise ignored.