A while back Skylar told me he wanted to go to the Grand Canyon for his birthday, which is in January. I didn't object at the time because I don't care about any event happening more than seven days in the future. Who knows what kind of person I'll be by then. Who am I to presume to make decisions for that slob. What can be done.

But then, just like clockwork, that time in January was suddenly upon us and I found myself explaining to a very stubborn husband (do they all come this way?) all of the reasons we should not be going to the Grand Canyon.

For one, I know it looks like it's only this far [I'm holding my finger and thumb like a centimeter apart. I know you can't see that because this isn't a video conference. That's why I'm explaining it to you.]. It only looks this far away from Salt Lake City. But something weird happens when you try to drive to the Grand Canyon. You go through a time warp or something. It doesn't make any sense. I think the CIA is involved. And maybe the AARP.

It looks like it's right next to various places that are only a four hour drive from us. But somehow it takes ten full hours to drive to the Grand Canyon. I've had to give this lecture many times in my life to explain to people why I, man who grew up in Utah, never go to the Grand Canyon. Somehow it is almost faster for me to drive to Mexico. This does not make sense when you look at a map. I'm not saying the flat earthers are right, but I am saying the math doesn't check out and someone is lying to us about our home planet.

The second reason I told Skylar we should not under any circumstances go to the Grand Canyon for his birthday was that his birthday is in January. I pulled out a calendar for this part of my speech to show him that January falls in the winter portion of the year where we live and I informed him that the winter portion of the year is for staying inside. So is the summer portion. And parts of spring and fall. Basically we should only go outside on May 9th and October 7th. But not at the Grand Canyon because it's ten hours away from us.

And look. I know some people go outside in the winter. I've seen them from my living room window. I don't know what they're doing out there because I don't want to exit my home to ask them.

But we are not the kind of people who go outside in the winter.

Now you might be thinking, but Eli, the Grand Canyon is so far away from you that it's basically on the Equator. It's in Arizona. Arizona is where it's warm all the time. They have a picture of the sun on their state flag. You go blind if you look at it for too long.

But this, my friends, is another series of lies we mouth breathing rat faces have just accepted. For all of Arizona is not hot all the time. The Grand Canyon in particular. And while you might think that a massive hole in the ground would include exceptionally low elevation and the associated temperate climate, what you may not know is the top part of the Grand Canyon, the part where you actually stay and spend your time, is so high it practically has a job at a tattoo shop.

By the time I finished lecturing Skylar about all of this we were pulling into the park and up to the lodge he had booked for three nights.

It was nearly midnight by this point, which surprised Skylar because he "thought the Grand Canyon was a lot closer to our house." This man does not listen to me.

It was 9 degrees when we arrived. Nine. One two three four fivesixseveneightNINE degrees. Fahrenheit. That's basically negative 112 in Celsius. I'm not sure if that's accurate. There's no way to check because science hasn't yet discovered the conversion.

The point is, it was cold.

And the inside of the lodge was the same temperature as the outside.

But worry ye not, my husband "stayed so warm 😊 all night." And I know how he did it, too. You see, he wrapped his entire body around mine on that room's bed that should be the primary subject of a fraud investigation into the hotel that called it "queen" when it was in fact but a sliver. He wrapped himself around me all night, experiencing night terrors he does not remember every 12 to 15 minutes.

By the middle of the next day an active blizzard was beginning to clear and the temperature had risen to 20 so Skylar thought this would be the perfect conditions to go on an all afternoon hike along the edge of a cliff with such a steep and deep drop-off that the federal government used a superlative when they named this park.

We walked, like directionless pioneers, until we couldn't feel our faces, or limbs. Every nine steps my husband, who loves plaques so much he's technically a dentist, stopped to read about what rocks are. As it turns out, rocks are hard things in the ground. The Grand Canyon has put millions of signs up to tell you this. Skylar has read all of these signs while making an inquisitive high-pitched "hmmm!" sound with his throat.

"But isn't it amazing that we basically have the entire park to ourselves," Mr. half glass full of ice told me at one point. I looked around. The only sign of human life I could identify included an Amish family huddled together, shivering, and looking like they, too, had convinced themselves the Grand Canyon was only this far away when they looked at the map.

That afternoon Skylar booked us for a "sunset tour" that just ended up being a circular ride to all of the same locations we had walked to earlier in the day so the driver could repeatedly kick us out and make us stand at the edge of the cliff to again stare into the hole.

There were multiple days of this.

We left Saturday morning. I convinced Skylar to wake up at 5:00 AM and get into the car because, even though it still can't be explained, the drive back to Salt Lake City would take an entire day.

That night Skylar's mother called to ask about the trip.

"It was beautiful," I heard him say to her. "Such a wonderful trip. Can't wait to take our kids there someday."

~It Just Gets Stranger