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Grand Canyon minitrip

Originally when we planned our our winter holiday moving road trip we had anticipated the movers coming on Tuesday 12/28 and arriving in Texas with our stuff between Jan 3 and 13 (this was their range… We thought they were a little crazy, but we figured it gave us plenty of time to enjoy our trip). However, the movers decided that they would show up a day late and promise delivery even before their ridiculous range began. So much for a weeklong driving trip through the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes National Parks.

To deal with the 4 day move instead of the one week plus we’d anticipated, we ended up shortening our trip to only the Grand Canyon, which ended up being miserable and cold with lots of road closures and ice.

Moving Day!!
After waking up from 3 hours of sleep to find it unexpectedly raining (a rarity in CA, so we hadn’t even thought to check the weather in advance), we spent the morning preparing for movers who were supposed to arrive between 10 and 1. They arrived an hour late and proceeded to take 9 hours to pack our 2 bedroom apartment into their truck.

We finally left CA at 11pm hoping to reach the Grand Canyon by sunrise (it would be an ~8 hour drive in good condition); however our plans were thwarted by rain, sleet, icy roads and excessive road closures, slowly turning our 8 hour drive into 13 (we got to sleep on the I-40!).

We then decided to hold off on sleep to wander the Grand Canyon briefly in sub-freezing temperatures (15°F when we got there, 9°F when we left, not including windchill and the fact it was snowing on and off). Had a little bit of luck when the clouds cleared, but it was mostly just snowy and cold.

A moody storm clears just before sunset at the Grand Canyon; taken from Mather Point.
Moody sunset views from Mather Point in Grand Canyon National Park.

The next morning we woke up to watch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon. After checking the weather on the internet (see, we’re learning), I found it was supposedly -30°F outside (oh, it was only -19°F or so), so I dressed like a crazy person with fuzzy plush pajamas under my jeans tucked into multiple pairs of socks with 3 long sleeved shirts/sweatshirts, a jacket, 2 pairs of gloves, hats and scarves. I even cut holes in one of my long sleeve shirts so I could pull the sleeve over my thumb so not even my wrists would get cold.

I’m not sure whether it was the lack of windchill or my crazy dressing, but I found the weather to be far more tolerable than the evening before, so it wasn’t so bad to stand out there watching the sun rise over the canyon.

Morning views of the snowy Grand Canyon just before sunrise, taken from Yavapai Point.
Sunrise glow lights the snowy walls of the Grand Canyon the day after a winter storm. Taken from Yavapai Point.

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