4.10.2015

Grand Canyon 1

I'm blogging using my cell phone which isn't nimble or quick. But I want to remember today because it has been filled with new sights and places. We're sitting in a little restaurant called the Arizona Room...right on the edge of the south rim of Grand Canyon. If we walked ten yards, we'd fall off the edge of the magnificent cliffs in this Bright Angel Trailhead area of the canyon. Below...so far down that it looks like a dark green ribbon weaving through the red cliffs, is the Colorado River. There seems to be a magnetic pull to the river - people up here just have to get down there - and back.

In fact, one of the reasons we came to Grand Canyon is so Scott could show me where he and our son, Mike, hiked two years ago - from the south rim to the north rim - a distance of 22 miles - in one day. Also on the hike were Mike's good friend Gordo and his wife Jessie, our friend Dr. Gordon Wood and his sister, and Dr. Frank Peterson and his wife Jodi. AND toward the end, were a couple of Nepali college students who helped Scott along the way when he got separated from the group and was so tired and dehydrated that he could hardly walk. Today, I said a quiet prayer of gratitude for those two young men from Nepal who let Scott join them and kept him putting one foot in front of the other as he pushed up the slick, steep, and dark uphill trail. I just did not appreciate the magnitude of the hike until I saw the trail for myself today - well, I saw a small part of the trail...but I saw the beginning and ending of the hike and that was enough.
Our selfie as we started our day exploring Grand Canyon.
It's so beautiful here. Because it's spring, the sagebrush and prarie grasses are green, there are purple and yellow wildflowers, and lots of birds in the air. The weather has been cold at night but warming up to the low sixties during the day. It's perfect hiking weather. The south rim village area reminds me of Yellowstone and other national parks with vintage-looking lodges and rock-lined pathways that were built in the heyday of national park improvements by the Conservation Corp back in the thirties. Many of the Grand Canyon buildings have Indian and motifs and architecture. If you wander into a gift shop you'd better want to buy silver or turquoise jewelry or Native American hand-woven rugs and pottery. It's all so fun to look at. (The views and the gift shops.)

Scott has been spending a little bit of time sketching and while he sketches I write or go for walks. Today I left him at a lookout point sketching a gorgeous view and drove the rental car in search of a restroom. I missed the turnoff to the picnic area and drove and drove and drove and began to feel frantic and lost. Plus I had no cell reception nor GPS reception. I got a little panicky because the road was abandoned, and I couldn't believe the picnic area was so far away. Finally, I pulled over, found the MAP that Scott had thankfully bought and thrown in the back seat and tried to figure out where I was. I realized that I had driven WAY out of the main public area and so I turned around. When I finally arrived back, Scott was just finishing his sketch and hadn't worried about me at all. All's well that ends well, but I hate being lost and I need to be smarter when I take off alone in a strange place. Better to just stay put. I like to people watch...I should just do that. I'm reading a new book called Thrive by Arianna Huffington. If I have a good book, I don't mind sitting by Scott and reading while he paints or sketches.

Scott's sketchpad with today's pencil sketch. 
We hiked both yesterday and today...yesterday we took the Rim Trail and saw spectacular views from the top of the south rim for miles and miles. We also saw a herd of elk and lots of squirrels and ravens. And an eagle soaring from cliff to ravine. It's funny to see the tourists go crazy over the elk and deer here. Since we have deer in our back yard on a daily basis, they seem like no big deal to me. But, just like Yellowstone, if someone spots wildlife here, everyone stops whether walking or driving, to take photos and enjoy the novelty of it.  Today, we went about an hour down the Bright Angel trail then turned around and hiked back up. It was enough for my knee - I'm still being careful and healing from a tear in the meniscus. I did pretty well, but I've about decided I need to have it scoped. I loved every minute of the hike. The scenery was amazing, the hikers were entertaining, the sense of accomplishment felt good - even though it was one-tenth of Scott's grand Grand Canyon hike. 
Beginning the Bright Angel trail.

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