Minnesotans who can afford to get away do not stay in Minnesota all winter. Most go south to tropical venues that offer beaches but we took a more moderate tack and headed to Northern Arizona in late January 2015.
It was my second ever visit to the Grand Canyon. The first was in a blizzard, so I never really saw much of the canyon. The canyon walls, yes. Vistas, no.
This day was warm by January standards, the sky mostly sunny. But the chasm was blanketed in fog. Like whipped cream in a big stone bowl. The rise and fall of the fog gave us some glimpses of glory below, but the fog stayed all day. At times, it rose to envelope the area above the rim, literally putting a wet blanket on our enthusiasm. The forecast for the next day was sunny and warm. So we booked a room and spent the night, expectant.
With the first fingers of sunlight on our faces, we hastily pulled on our jeans and raced to the edge.
Only fog. And disappointment. But breakfast and little glimpses of hope on the backs of the sun’s insistent rays pushed us to explore the South Rim from as far west to as far east as we could go. Each complex dance of fog and sun, with the changing vistas, was met with wonder, even among those who are frequent canyon visitors. Still, our view was limited. Sometime around midday, our persistence was rewarded as the sun won out. Our afternoon views were vast and unbroken, the fog all but a forgotten memory.
It was not until we got home that I discovered two amazing things:
1. Fog that blankets the canyon on a sunny day is a very rare occurrence. In fact, although it was the second such occurrence this year, it is considered a once-in-a-decade sight. Many of our friends saw national news clips about the event that we witnessed firsthand.
2. The pictures we took in the fog are much, so much, more amazing than those we took when the fog cleared.
So, I will quit my prattling and let you enjoy our Grand views.