Saturday, July 28, 2012

Grand Canyon tails.

We've been spending our time on the South Rim, trying to get sick of the Grand Canyon. If at first you don't succeed, hike, hike again.

The first time I saw the Canyon (February 2009) I wept. Racking sobs. I know I am not the only one. You other Canyon Criers, 'fess up.
We stopped here for lunch, and I wondered "Am I really living this life?"
My favorite hike so far (Merikay and Craig would call it a stroll, but would say it kindly) is the unpaved rim trail between Mojave Point and Monument Creek Vista. The unpaved part is the only section that seems like a true hike, insofar as you might expect a hike to include raw terror and clinging to trees.


In my defense, that edge you see just below me is THE edge, and it really does bank downward. I was clammy most of the day.

I got clammy later trying to decide what pictures to show you. I took 200 yesterday, and 150 this morning before 8 AM. Sit back, and say goodbye to your bandwidth.





Does this elk make my butt look big?
After this encounter, we imagined Gaelyn, a Parks Service ranger, shaking her head and saying "You guys." Honest, we did NOT approach the elk, although it's possible the very act of observing him changed everything. Schrödinger's Elk.








This pdf will help you plan a trip. I had no idea there were so many options for getting here! Your interagency pass will get you in. Once inside, ride the shuttle as much as you want. Or, $25 for seven days. Come in before hours and you get in free.

We've done a combination of walking and bus-riding to get where we want to go. After hugging the rim, watching lightning, and counting the Mississippis until we heard the thunder (and the answering echo from the Canyon), we finally opted for the safety of the bus and a stroll around Hermit's Rest.



This morning we were both awake and restless at the same time (4:13 AM). We considered it an opportunity to see the sunrise.




And this is the hindquarters of my story. The tail end.

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Russ Krecklow said...

Love your headquarters, and the hindquarters are not too bad. Of course you cried the first time you saw the Grand Canyon, after all, it is a big water feature! Clammy climbing in the Canyon...could be a new adventure service. Just think, you could be a guide! That might be eerie, and clammy at the same time. Thanks for sharing all the photos. We have network via cable, so go ahead and put up more!

Jim and Sandie said...

I don't know what else to say except WOW!

Anonymous said...

Two words ... Bigger hard drive. Ok that is apparently three words. On our trip out west I left with over 3000 photos after 10 days. When you are surrounded by such beautiful landscape and light it's impossible not to get shutter button happy
:-). Your photos are beautiful and make us want to throw on our jackets, hop in the car, drive really fast, and meet you for breakfast and more photos :-)

The Good Luck Duck said...

Come on, MG! We'll put tea water on now. 3000 shots. I can believe it! And, your professional composition means you don't have to 'shop in beauty later.

I know, right? It's a WOW place.

Russ, I hadn't thought of that part. It all makes sense now. And, I'm liking that entrepreneurial endeavor. We would cater to pudgy, middle-aged women who might be intimidated by physically-fit guides and the potential of falling a mile.

Donna K said...

WOW, what can I say. I think my fav is the old tree in front of the canyon. If you look just right, almost in the middle of the picture, you can imagine that twisted branch is Kokopelli dancing.

The Good Luck Duck said...

I see what you mean!

Gaelyn said...

First visit to GC I was too young to appreciate it at the North Rim, and on my way to Las Vegas. Second time the GC was my birthday present from two lovely lady friends and I made an oath to work there. Now, here I are.

You guys need to step away from the elk. I wouldn't worry about the edge, it's a quick way to go.

I too watched the lightning, over the South Rim. In fact I waved at you.

Walk the "Trail of Time" for a Dr Who into the geo past. Pay close attention to the millions of years markers.

Carolyn said...

Bee u ti ful

Been thinking ;) that maybe if I got something other than flops to walk in, I might hike more ...

The Odd Essay said...

Time to get out the Grand Canyon Suite CD and listen to the clip-clop of the mules, hear the thunderstorm and then the storm pass.... your photos are wonderful! By the way... just how close WAS that elk anyway?

Karen and Al said...

Love the elk photo. It really was pretty close, wasn't it? Keep posting photos. It's as close as I'll get for a while.

Kimbopolo said...

Photos don't do it justice but yours come close. Glad the canyon made you cry.

cathie said...

Absolutely beautiful pictures. We have been there twice and you really captured the beauty of it.

Hiking poles, you need hiking poles. Makes life so much easier and safer. Always have them with you.

Lynne (WinnieViews) said...

Now I'm wishing I hadn't stayed back in the Midwest all summer! The canyon shots, and pics of your new elk friend are amazing--- soak it all up!

VtChris said...

Just incredibly awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve said...

I happen to know based on not one, but multiple visits to Hermit's rest that they probably don't grant the old people running the shops there enough bathroom or lunch breaks. They've been cranky and rude every single time we go there. I wasn't sure whether to hand the poor guy a candy bar or roll of toilet paper.

The Good Luck Duck said...

It IS, Chris!

Lynne, someone has to stay in the Midwest. Pretty soon you'll head out again?

Thanks, Cathie. It's true that photos don't do it justice (or why would I have cried when I saw the Real Thing?), but I appreciate your appreciation.

I WANT hiking poles! I do have a sturdy stick, which I managed to bring to the paved trails, but left behind on the Rim Hugger. But, I like the way they small up for ease of carrying.

I guess I am, too, Kim. Thanks!

Karen, it's true. The elk was VERY close. The shot with Annie gives you an idea. It also tells you who was willing to turn her back on that beast. We could smell him from where we stood (kind of horsey).

I know you guys will "be" wherever you are. I'm sorry you can't light out for new places just now, but you'll find ways to enjoy your spot now.

Sharon, I love the "sound" of that CD! The elk was, oh, ten feet away? Maybe twelve? We were just on one side of the path, and the elk was just on the other.

Carolyn, there is always that danger.

Gaelyn, I do fantasize about working in such a place, but that's different than oathing. Then I imagine the shame I would bring on the NPS if I had to lead a hike in the way you see above. I would like to read how you came to work there, though. Is it on your website?

I think we went in the wrong direction, because we Dr. Who-ed from the past into the present.

Rick Doyle said...

Amazing photos, just beautiful. Awesome even.

My first view of the GC was breathtaking but I can't honestly say I ever got close to crying - must be a duck thing.

Mike and Terri said...

Gosh, my hands are sweating looking at the picture of you hiking next to the edge. Your pictures are AWESOME!! Almost like they're in 3D!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Steve, so sad! I must have gotten the old people's bathroom-break replacements, because they were polite and friendly. I noticed that it's run by Xanterra (based on the huge XANTERRA logo on the little bag).

Thank you, Rick! And, it may have been a problem with my tear ducks.

Thanks, M&T! Not for sweating - that's optional.

Harriet said...

I'm speachless!! Breathingly beautiful. Good job! Carry on, Ducks.

Contessa said... does get better only if you are at the Grand Canyon!! Thank you for sharing the beauty of nature.

Campers4Life said...

TY so much for sharing...I hope to get tothe GC one of these days, but dare not imagine any pics I may get, turn out as great as yours.

Wheelingit said...

Ok...I wept at seeing your shots...does that count? Oh and for the record it was the good type of weeping, although seeing a 2-legged duck and an elk in the same shot was rather disturbing.
Nina (wheelingit)

The Good Luck Duck said...

It counts twice, Nina. Yes, I've continued the practice of good weeping since I've been here; the weeping I did at the elk may or may not have been the good kind.

You're very kind C4L, and the photos you get will be breathtaking. There just are no bad shots here, or bad seats.

My profound pleasure, Contessa!

Thanks, Harriet! Carrying on!

Sherry said...

My jaw is dropping over those pictures. I was there and my camera didn't do anywhere near as good a job. Not to mention that no elk walked up and tapped me on the shoulder. With that rack on his head he could have tossed you back to Florida.

The Good Luck Duck said...

He could have, Sherry. I reminded him that in a few months he was going to look all wimpy without a rack to call his own. I do like my camera, but it's a mere point-and-shoot.

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

OMG! I must go before I die. Absolutely gorgeous photos! Wow!

The Good Luck Duck said...

You must!

I just went to your Facebook page, and I LOVE your illustrations. They remind me of Gorey. Have you illustrated for The New Yorker? Because you will.

Pam and Wayne said...

No one else commented on Schrödinger's Elk?? Thank goodness I watch Big Bang Theory so I got the joke...I'm certainly no physicist, but I love a good Scrödinger's cat joke.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Thank you! Wanted: Dead and Alive.

longdog2 said...

OMG--your photos are spectacular. I was weeping when I saw you hanging on the edge of that path. I would have been terrified. Does that count? Seriously, stay off the edge, some of us are height challenged or rather challenged by fear of heights.

Brenda A. said...

First trip to GC was on my honeymoon trip wth my now ex-husband (why oh why did it have to be with him???). Second and third times were with him and the kids in tow. Fourth and fifth times were with my sweetie girl and some of her family. All of the above were tear inducing (in one way or another. HA!). Am hoping the next visit is just with my sweetie. And I hope it's a long visit like you two are having. :)

The Good Luck Duck said...

Brenda, you need to change your Grand Canyon luck. JUST the sweetie, and a nice, long, relaxing visit. We actually feel like we're on vacation here.

LD2, it counts. I can get clammy vicariously, too. I am terribly, horribly afraid of heights, and those are just heights I could recover from.

Gaelyn said...

Considering we don't lead hikes into the canyon on the North Rim, you'd be good.

Here's the story you asked for

Barbara and Ron said...

Amazing pictures of a national treasure. That trail did look scary. I got sweaty palms just looking at the picture.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Okay, then! Now, all I need are qualifications, and I'm set! Thanks for the story link and pics! You've been working there for five years?

Barbara, if it had just been my hands! It's funny the differences in locale. Back in Ithaca, the City and Cornell have cooperated by putting chain link fence at every place where a distraught student might possibly leap. The places are many. I don't begrudge any saved lives. It's just that the mindset is so different.

Emily said...

Yes, I cried too. April 30, 2006. You never forget the first time you see the Grand Canyon. Thanks for the lovely post and beautiful photos!

The Good Luck Duck said...

You even remember the date. Now I cry remembering crying. You're welcome, and thanks!