So here I go. I'm working through the backlog of photos from the past couple blogless months, and I think I'll start with the earliest ones.
In early October Emma and I went with my dad to a family reunion in Phoenix, Arizona. My great-aunt (my maternal grandmother's sister) was celebrating her 90th birthday, and family from near and far gathered. The familial relationships were complicated- there were first cousins, first cousins once removed (two different sets, different generations, from different branches), second cousins, aunts and uncles, and great-aunts and great-uncles. I haven't seen some of these people in thirty years, and some I had never met before. It was fun. There were a lot of us there, about 30 I think, and it was tricky to keep everyone straight. There were four generations of my mother's extended family line represented. I so wish my mom and grandmother could have been there.
Emma and I drove to Salt Lake City and met Dad, then we drove together in his car to Phoenix. I've never traveled in the Southwest at all, except fast along I-40 when we moved to Washington, and was awed by the scenery. We drove over the Hoover Dam, which was quite impressive,
and we got a good view of the construction of the new road bridge downstream of the dam, too.
Salt Lake to Phoenix was a VERY long day, through very pretty country. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the United States is a beautiful land of incredible variety. I regretted the fact that this was to be such a flying fast trip, just a long weekend, and there was no time to stop and look at things more closely.
The most exciting thing for me about Arizona was the cactus. Prickly pear, barrel, cholla, organpipe, and I don't know what all. Very cool. And you know what?
Saguaro really exist!! They are tall and they branch, and are fantastically real. Did you know that they have to be 50-75 years old before they branch for the first time? Amazing. And sobering. The desert is a fragile ecosystem.
After the birthday party/reunion, Dad and Emma and I took a different route back to Salt Lake City. We went north to check out this famous landmark of the southwest we'd heard about a time or two. You may have heard of it as well....
After we'd been driving a while, we started noticing this big crack in the ground.
It just kept getting bigger and bigger, and was joined by more and more cracks, and eventually we saw this near a parking lot.
We got out of the car to see what we could see, and...
Great merciful heavens.
There really are no words.
The Grand Canyon is something that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.
We saw a tiny little piece of the South Rim (that's the Desert View Watchtower, above) for a tiny short time, and it was still a breathtaking sight that I will always remember.