After having lunch with my cousins (hey ya’ll) I continued on the road to the Grand Canyon. After being in the desert like Valley of Fire, I was forced to don my favorite crocheted poncho to ward off the chill as I headed towards the rim for my first glimpse at the power of nature. And it was powerful. However, it seemed my visit was ill-timed, because there was a maintenance forest fire in one of the national forests north of the canyon. Needless to say, the first thing I saw was a great cloud of smoke and some colorful haze since the smoke settled into the canyon as the sun was setting, only to lift late morning. I made my way to the campground (I originally planned on staying at a hotel in Flagstaff since it was said that I might not be able to get a space without a reservation, but it turns out that people don’t flock to the canyon in late October) and set up my tent nestled amongst a small stand of pine trees. As had become my practice, I woke at dawn and hurried to catch the views and get some errands done. I spent the rest of the day hiking around the rim, and catching the free shuttle towards the west where I was finally able to get some smoke free shots. That evening I attended a ranger presentation, and then a lantern lit walk in the cemetery where a ranger dressed in period costume and told the story of one of the first pioneers in the first person. It was extremely entertaining and a memory I will treasure. While the Grand Canyon was beautiful, I don’t really see how people visit it every year. Perhaps if I go with a loved one who has never seen it before I would go again, other than that, I can wait a good 20 years. The next day, I was to leave to visit the last natural attraction on this particular road trip, but boy was my visit grand!