Tom and Kris (aka Grandpa and Grandma)

Well, after almost 9 hours in the car with four adults and two 4-month-olds, we made it to our first National Park – The Grand Canyon.  If we were to summarize this trip in one sentence it would be: “Nothing goes according to plan, but it’s fun anyway (and you’ll have plenty of laughing material for years to come)”.

Now don’t get me wrong, if we hadn’t planned, things would have been far more chaotic and probably not as fun but you have to be flexible and be ok with game time decisions.  Here was our proposed plan for Friday:

  • depart at 3 am
  • stop at 7:30 for breakfast and baby feeding
  • drive more and arrive at hotel for second feeding
  • drive to farthest point east (Desert View) for a driving rim tour
  • walk Trail of Time and bop around the Grand Canyon Village
  • back to the visitor’s center for sunset at 7:41pm

Looking back at this plan now, I realize that we might be crazy and we will be building in a lot more room for error going forward.  Everyone needs a learning experience.  Here’s what actually happened:

  • depart at 3 am
  • stop at 7:30 for breakfast and baby feeding
  • drive more but we didn’t make it to the hotel for the second feeding – that happened in a gas station parking lot 50 miles short of the hotel
  • everyone was sick of driving so we scrapped the driving tour and walked the Trail of Time
  • it’s monsoon season and thunder rolled in so we left the rim to not get struck by lightning (no Village time)
  • during the excitement of arriving, all 4 adults neglected to remember where we parked the Sienna and we spent 45 minutes searching for it with 2 crying babies
  • sunset was scrapped in favor of pizza and beer to recover from the very upset babies
Mather Point

Suffice to say, Saturday was somewhat similar.  We went in with a plan that had to be slightly altered multiple times for everyone’s safety and sanity but we still managed to be completely awestruck and overwhelmed by the beauty of this indescribable place.  Saturday’s plan was:

  • sunrise at 5:29am at Mather Point
  • hike South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point
  • head back to the hotel for rest and pool during midday heat
  • head west to Hermit’s Rest and hike the Greenway Trail back to the Village
  • sunset at Hopi Point


  • sunrise at 5:29am at GC Village followed by breakfast at El Tovar Lodge (so delicious!)
  • South Kaibab hike was scrapped due to heat
  • hopped on the Red Route shuttle with the intention of going to Hermit’s Rest and hiking the roughly 8 miles back east to the Village (there are some paved, fairly flat trails on this route)
  • the above plan was altered while on the shuttle when we saw a section of the trail that was unpaved, narrow, and far too close to a 2,000 foot sheer cliff wall for our liking considering the bulk of our double stroller.  So we got off the shuttle at Monument Creek Vista and walked west toward Hermit’s Rest on the paved greenway trail
  • Quincy got HANGRY once we got to Hermit’s Rest so our intention of feeding her back in the Village was foiled and we fed her on the shuttle back east to Powell Point (holy guacamole this point is a MUST SEE – 180 degree views up and down the canyon).  Leona ate at Powell Point
  • when we finally made it back to the Village, we hopped in the van (we remembered where we parked this time) and put the girls down for a brief nap at the hotel before we took them to the pool for a quick dip
  • Sean and his parents went out to the sunset at Grandview Point while I stayed back with the girls.  They were exhausted and needed a normal bedtime routine.
Sunset from Grandview Point

We definitely have room for improvement in how we plan while toting 2 infants and when we start camping in a couple months, we’ll have more to experiment with.  Overall, the girls were amazing considering how much we messed with their schedule.  They amaze us everyday and we know that we are setting ourselves up for kids who can be adaptable.  My guess is that starting early can make a big difference.

Happy babies out of the stroller

The Quintessence

1.the pure and concentrated essence of a substance.
2.the most perfect embodiment of something.

For every park that we visit, we will be letting you know what everyone’s individual quintessence was.  Everyone is moved in their own way so hopefully this gives an even broader look at the beauty of these parks.

Sean: The peaceful, quiet hike from Monument Creek to Hermit’s Rest (getting out early in parks is crucial to experiencing the true quiet they offer)


Mary: Feeling small at Powell Point – the canyon seemed infinite here


Tom: Sunset at Grandview Point


Kris: The aromatic juniper trees along the rim – the scent filled the air giving her Grand Canyon experience something that she can revisit with just a smell


Here is a sampling of the few hundred pictures from the weekend.  We hope you enjoy them.  1 down, 58 to go!  Next stop: Joshua Tree in October.

10 thoughts

  1. This is such an awesome recap! Not sure when (if) baby(ies) will be in my future but I am totally inspired to adventure early with them (and adventure more NOW)! The pictures are incredible and your girls are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kirsten! We’re going to be working on some micro-adventure ideas between parks to keep us adventuring and exploring. It’s amazing what you can do in just a few hours


  2. A surprise and trip of a lifetime. It was beautiful, we laughed, we walked and made great memories. It took me 40 years to get there (I wanted to go there for our honeymoon but we drove to Florida instead) and my granddaughters only 4 months. We’ll go back when they can remember. Words cannot describe the Grand Canyon…it truly is breath taking.


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