How I spent the hurricane
While visiting family in Scottsdale, Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, preventing us from getting home to New York. We decided to make lemonade from lemons and use our extra time to visit the Grand Canyon. The three-and-a-half hour drive took us through a changing landscape, from Phoenix's sprawl to the saguaro cactus-covered hills of the desert, past Sedona's red rocks and across the scrubby flatlands of northern Arizona. There, there's little indication of the enormous chasm that awaits, and one can only imagine how early explorers and settlers must have felt upon discovering its depths.
At the visitors center, a friendly ranger gave us trail suggestions based on our level of preparation (Chuck Taylors, borrowed clothes). We took the park's shuttle bus to the South Kaibab trailhead and hiked down into the canyon as far as aptly named Ooh Aah Point, an invigorating route that gave the perfect taste of canyon hiking.
In the afternoon we walked the flat, mostly paved Rim Trail to Mohave Point, which the ranger recommended as a "magical" spot for sunset. As the sun dropped, the canyon's colors changed from bright siennas and ochres to deep lavenders and blues. Suddenly I noticed, opposite of where the sun had just disappeared, a full moon rising through the now pink haze over the north rim. The same moon that caused the high tides wreaking havoc at home was giving us a moment as magical as the ranger promised. All we could do was savor it.