Photos by: Val and other random GC-ers
“To stand upon the edge of this stupendous gorge, as it receives its earliest greeting from the god of day, is to enjoy in a moment compensation for long years of ordinary uneventful life.”
-John L. Stoddard
Its been almost a month since I left the mundane life in Ann Arbor for my Spring Break trip to the Grand Canyon National Park with the University of Michigan’s Outdoor Adventures Club. I would say for sure that this has got to be the most significant experience during my short stint in America (which thankfully got prolonged by some good news!=). There was nothing more I could ask for: 9 days away in the majestic canyons, humbled by nature, the scenery, the people, the night sky blanketed with stars, isolation, the bittersweet pain of the sore-d muscles and burnt skin, 10 strangers evolving into 10 great friends..
I find that the most amazing thing about being close to nature was the way in which we learn the subtle lessons on humility and courage. Our tiny existence gets lost in the grander scheme of the world around us and we take these lessons away from that short moment in our lives in the depths of the canyons and forests.. The magic in all this was that it continues to inspire us long after we’ve conquered them…
Is has been a month, memories will fade no doubt but I guess it was really the moments that matter, up the Mesa, by the Colorado River, camping in knee deep snow at the Rim.. they were my little snippets of Paradise.
The charming town of Flagstaff was amazing. I wouldn’t say that I’d love to live there forever, but it was a unique community with the distinctive “mountain culture” oozing from every shop and establishment. We had a great time stuffing ourselves silly at the eateries after climbing out of the canyon (You really can’t blame us, it was so exhausting!)The pleasant streets were lined with hotels from the yesteryears, microbrewries, historic brick buildings and chic restaurants. I also had an awesome time walking into all the outdoor equipment shops with Wilson (and lamenting about how expensive the stuff were!).
I intended to put up NOLS’s (North-American Outdoor Leadership School)recipes of the meals that were made in our backcountry kitchen (right under the stars and by the river.oooo.) but I decided it will be too long a post (and its already 315am over here!) so I shall spare you (and me) the misery. Would definitely feature those yummy deserts soon though!
Anyways, here are some restaurants that we tried at Flagstaff based on recommendations by our hostel staff..
Beaver Street Brewery
11 S. Beaver St., Flagstaff, Arizona
This brewery prides itself with its beer of course, but sadly, we were unable to try it due to the no-alcohol policy set by the Outdoor Adventures Center (which I can understand why after witnessing my dear GC-ers turn insane back in Ann Arbor on St. Patrick’s Day under the influence of alcohol=)
Besides beers, there was also a really sweet wood-fired oven near the entrance of the restaurant for their popular wood-fire pizzas..
I chose the Salmon B.L.T sandwich though and it was a decent choice. The guys went crazy over their Beaver St Burger which consisted of 1/2 pound of certified Angus ground chuck and erm..ALOT of fries. We were all really hungry and had no problems wolfing down those calorific and sinful burgers. Our powerful stench (from not bathing for 6 days)that came from the jackets, pants, shirts, bandanas managed to attract the attention of the brewery’s customers while they walked past us after their meal. It was a wonder why they didn’t barf.
Mountain Oasis International Restaurant
11 E Aspen Ave
For lunch on our rest day, we hopped down to Mountain Oasis after having our lattes and capuccinos at Flagstaff Coffee Company. I loved the ambience at that cosy cafe, and the Pesto Chicken sandwich i had….was TO DIE FOR. I may be biased though because I am a huge fan on Pesto! Give me anything with Pesto and I am sure to give it a two thumbs up!They have daily specials too and their meals (lunch menu) are reasonably priced.
(sorry.no valeebelly photographers with me on the trip.haha)
101 S Beaver St. Flagstaff, AZ
The locals view it as the “best way to sit and enjoy the best pizza in town, drink beer and watch football” The 2 memorable pizzas we had there was the one with the pesto (duh.) and this one called “meat lovers”….and you REALLY have to be one to fully enjoy it.
Macy’s European Coffee House
14 South Beaver Street
I wished I had more time to hang out at this cafe! I loved the interior decor..the old-fashioned way of selling pastries over the wooden counter…some chess action going on near the corner..the country singer crooning away at the other end of the cafe ( i sat there mesmerized by the songs.i think some country songs are so heartwrenching! GAH). Thank goodness I had a chance to actually try some of their pastries when Wilson decided to go hunt it down right before we met up with the group for dinner. Though their prices are steep, you would definitely enjoy soaking up the laid-back and almost hippy-like atmosphere blanketing the cafe.
If you are in the area, do remember to pop by one of these restaurants for a meal!
Till the next post…
almost at our campsite..almost…after about 9 hours of trekking