After eating a picnic lunch at Walnut Canyon, we packed up and drove up and through Flagstaff to come back down on Lake Mary Road for, you guessed it, Lake Mary.
Lake Mary is a reservoir that captures meltwater from Mt Humphreys. It serves as the primary supply for Flagstaff and is a popular fishing/recreation area for locals. Lower Lake Mary, pictured above, was mostly dry.
Without fishing poles, there wasn’t much to do so we moved on. Back in downtown Flag, we parked next to the library and forded over the mighty Rio de Flag (Flag River). You can see it in the background of this picture. Yep, it was also dry and is essentially a ditch.
Ed knew of a park nearby so we walked there along the river trail and waited for Frugal Boy’s cousin and parents to arrive via car from the Midwest.
With everyone together, snacked, and settled down, we hit a grocery store on our way out of town to stock up on dinner ingredients for the next few days.
If you are making the drive from Flag to the Grand Canyon or vice versa you can stop at Snowbowl, a winter sports mecca. The scenic drive up the mountain provides a sweeping vista of the surrounding area.
That night, Shae and I made fish tacos for the crowd. We’d need the energy for the next day’s hike down into the canyon with two one year olds!
The Grand Canyon isn’t my favorite hiking destination because the easiest part of the hike is first and the hardest part is last. Most hikes it is reversed and if the going gets too tough you can call it quits and stomp downhill. With the Grand Canyon though, you have to haul your butt out of whatever elevation drop you put yourself into. The one benefit of hiking up at the end is that it also cools off the closer to the rim you get.
Frugal Boy and his cousin (also in a backpack carrier) drew many remarks from fellow hikers about them having the best seats in the house. Later in the trip I used a ‘hiking’ carrier and found it to be much more uncomfortable than the Boba. The Boba distributes the weight better onto the hips and because it plasters FB across your back, the center of gravity is better than the taller carrier that my brother used to carry my niece.
Our hike below the rim was short by our standards, at a mere 3 miles round trip, but with the elevation change and little ones, it turned out to be just right.
After eating a picnic lunch at the top we took the free shuttle out to Hermit’s Rest. In February when I visited you could drive your own car out there and stop at the various overlooks along the way. Due to traffic, the road shuts down to all unauthorized vehicles during Spring, Summer, and Fall so you have to walk or ride the shuttle.
The rest of the day was spent lounging around Ed’s apartment. The south rim of the Grand Canyon houses around 2000 workers for the NPS and concessionaires (Xanterra being the largest). Most of the village is tucked away and not marked on visitors maps, and the labyrinth of roads, paved trails, and complexes can be quite confusing to navigate. Due to the lack of internet access, spotty cell coverage, and physical remoteness, the Grand Canyon Village feels like a world of its own.