The Day We Missed The Sunset at Grand Canyon National Park

A day after our big family reunion, the whole gang set out to see the Grand Canyon–about five hours drive from home. I woke up early Sunday morning, amidst the campsite that is our bedroom–with siblings still asleep on the floor–so I can pack our stuff for our two-day trip.

The good thing about doing a lot of traveling is, eventually, you get the hang of packing luggage, even if said luggage has to include diapers, wipes, and a whole LOT of other stuff you normally would not include, if, say, only you and the hubs were traveling. It’s actually become second nature to me now…packing for travel with a little one. I used to OVERpack, bringing ten days worth of clothes for a six-day trip. You know…for the IFs, WHENs, and the BUTs of life: IF we get stuck at the airport. WHEN it rains. BUT I just want to bring my boots just in case. Now I pack just right, just enough (though my husband would probably still disagree).

I quickly checked the next two days’ weather forecast for the Grand Canyon: highs in the mid-40’s and lows in the mid-20’s. That’s cold for people used to Arizona warmth. In addition to the staple items we tote along on road trips (day clothes, sleep clothes, toiletries, essential electronics and their chargers, Miggie’s bottles, bottle cleaner, milk, snacks, cooler with water and soft drinks, and pillows for sleeping in the car), I made sure to pack Miguel’s winter coat, as well as mine, and also wear my Ugg Cardy’s (feeling quite giddy inside that I get to wear them for the first time this year).

We were on the road by 1PM, along with four or five other cars with the rest of the family who decided to go and see the grandness of the Grand Canyon. The agenda for today is to make it to Grand Canyon National Park by 5:30PM so we can all witness one of the finest things to see at the Grand Canyon: sunset.

Our drive was not without stops. About one-hour into our journey, mom’s party (composed of my parents, uncles and aunts) requested a restroom stop, which was fine, because the people in our party (Terrence, Miggz, and I, plus my siblings and their other halves) were getting hungry, and Miggz also needed a diaper change. So into McDonald’s near the Anthem Outlets on Rt. 17 we went. After this it was straight driving to Grand Canyon, only slowed down by a road closure that just re-opened on Rt. 40. I was pleasantly surprised to see snow-capped mountains and wintry-wonderland roadsides about two hours north into our trip.

We got to the park with some time to spare before the sun was about to set. But if you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon before, you’ll know just how vast the “National Park” part of it is. At the South Entrance, where we entered and paid our park entrance fee ($25 per vehicle for a seven-day pass), the park ranger/gate attendant handed us a map and guide to the Grand Canyon South Rim (both map and guide were pretty expansive also…not ones you would bother checking if you and everyone else in your party were trying to catch the sunset).

Our entire party itself was pretty big. We literally needed a leash to keep everyone together, and unfortunately, that was quite impossible to do. We all ended up getting somehow separated in the park. At the end of the night, I believe only one or two parties ended up seeing the actual sunset at the Grand Canyon that evening. My mom’s party got lost and ended up taking an “Orange Route” bus. They run free shuttles with different routes in the park. The buses take you to various canyon overlook points. My parents lucked out, because the Orange bus took them to an overlook just in time, and they were able to get there just as the sun was setting on the canyon.

Our party, on the other hand, ended up in a “Blue Route” bus. This bus took us through the village, lodges, marketplace, etc. Anywhere but near the canyon rim, which was where we wanted to be that evening. By the time we got through the bus’ round trip and back to our lodge, it was pitch black (and freezing cold).

We had missed the sunset at the Grand Canyon.

So let this be a lesson learned: Never get on a bus if you don’t know where it’s headed (even if said bus has half your family members in it…LOL!).

In the morning, when the rest of our family set out for Las Vegas, our little party (Terrence and I, Miggz, and my siblings + their other halves) set out to see the Grand Canyon on our own. Two things we made sure of that day:

  1. Stick together.
  2. Take the ORANGE ROUTE bus.

And this, folks, is what we saw:

They were pretty serious when they decided to call it GRAND.

Here are a few more photos to chronicle our first time–including Miguel’s–seeing the Grand Canyon:

Miguel and I inside the Orange Route bus.

First overlook stop on the Orange Route: Mather Point.

With Daddy and Uncle Tedi (Miggz was not happy being stuck in his stroller).

Fam shot overlooking the Canyon.

Miguel with his aunts, uncles, and Daddy.

Family shot.

All of us.

Just the boys.

Another family shot.

Auntie Rose and Uncle Tedi.

Auntie Anna and Uncle Jon.

Terrence and I.

We may not have seen the sunset the previous night, but we didn’t feel like we missed a thing!


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