National Park Road Trip: Photo essay

Exploring Arizona before our family grows

With the arrival of our first baby only three months away, we wanted to take a trip to enjoy being a couple before we become a trio.

When it came time to choose a destination, the Grand Canyon called to us instantly. Having the chance to explore Arizona along the way was an incredible bonus.

As we made our way to the Grand Canyon we took plenty of time to take in the sights. A stop in Sedona was a must.

Setting our own lives against the timeless expanse of a national park somehow enriched our feelings of legacy that come with having a baby. We felt like part of a saga, standing where our fathers stood, and where our child would someday return.

Taking time to savor being alone together before we had our baby was a simple thing but it was really powerful.

When it came time to meet our tour group for Antelope Canyon we had to leave before dawn.

Before dawn we drove along the rim of the Grand Canyon and stumbled into this sunrise.

Watching the sun seep into the fathomless depths of the canyon made me calibrate how I defined beauty.

Antelope Canyon fortunately was just as striking. We at long last made it a priority to visit this place.

Antelope Canyon is even more incredible than pictures would lead you to believe. It is often hard to remember that places this extraordinary really exist.

Each formation in the canyon conjures a figure. This one is called "Lady in the Wind" for obvious reasons. For Tawny and I it summerizes the wild passion and timeless grace of Arizona's National Parks, and our time there.

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Captain And Clark

Chris Staudinger and Tawny Clark (also known as "Captain and Clark") have spent the majority of their relationship exploring this great big world. After meeting on Kilimanjaro, courting in South Korea, getting engaged at the Taj Mahal, and sealing the deal in the Cascade Mountains, the two decided it was time to add another explorer to the mix. Traveling the world with kiddo-in-tow might alter the way they navigate the globe, but they welcome the challenge with open suitcases.

Chris and Tawny have had articles and videos published on USA TODAY TRAVEL, BBC Travel, Matador Network, as well as appeared as guest stars on TLC Asia's Fun Taiwan television series. When not on the road, you can find Chris and Tawny nestled in their home in Tacoma, Washington fueling up on coffee and cat cuddles while planning their future adventures. You can follow their travels on their blog, Instagram, and YouTube

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