boom..... "what was that?" "a deer", we pull over to the side of the dark texas highway to look at the damage, it's two in the morning. our bumper is smashed and scraping against the ground, the grill shattered, hood dented and we see shards of rubber around the tires. taylor diligently runs her hands over the tires making sure they are still intact while i pull out my shiny new pocket knife, a christmas present in fact, and start cutting away at our bumper so we can at least try to drive away. we slowly make our way to the nearest town so we can regroup and take a look at the car under the dim streetlights. after weighing our options we decide to continue onward, it's been four years since we have been to the coconino forest and grand canyon and there is no way this hiccup is going to stop us.
northern arizona holds a special place in our hearts. when we found ourselves in flagstaff during a bicycle tour years ago it was a perfectly unexpected union of new friends, old friends, adventures and personal growth for us. what was supposed to be a night or two just passing through turned into three weeks and countless memories. ever since we have been yearning to go back, so revisiting flagstaff, sedona and the grand canyon seemed like the perfect way to start the new year.
after seventeen long hours on the road driving through the west texas desert, new mexico, arizona, and a night of sleeping in the car; we finally arrived at our first stop, sedona. greeted by red rocks and pine trees we made our way through town and into the coconino national forest. with temperatures in the low twenties we stacked on the layers before heading out to explore some of the trails.
driving higher into the mountains through scenic switchbacks we made one last stop at a native american market atop the oak creek vista. at 6500 feet, the view was strikingly different than that of just ten miles down the road; snow covered pine trees as far as the eye could see.
heading north we found ourselves in flagstaff which brought out an intense feeling of nostalgia. flagstaff always felt like our home away from home, and what better way to celebrate being back than stopping at a local bagel shop where we had grabbed breakfast everyday for the three weeks we had been in town more than four years ago. driving through downtown to get to the san francisco peaks both taylor and i felt like it was just yesterday we were riding our bicycles on these same streets. our previous visit to the san francisco peaks was towards the end of the summer months, an apparent lull in the tourism season. this time around the mountains were full of people enjoying some skiing, snowboarding and even tobogganing. nonetheless we made it to the top and snapped a few photos of the sweeping views.
after all of our previous stops along the way we finally made it to the grand canyon late in the afternoon. by this point the temperatures had dropped even more and small snow squalls were starting to pop up. we hopped out of the car and headed to the edge of the world. although this was our second time visiting the grand canyon the view was still breathtaking; something that pictures or words will never do justice to.
it didn't take long for the small snow showers to turn into full blown white out conditions. looking over the edge of the canyon yielded nothing more than a view of a cloud, but this only added to the mystique, making it a much different experience than our first.