Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Grand Canyon South Rim Part I

      ** Although I strive to keep this page as up to date as possible,  I have been slacking on getting this post started.  Mainly because I have so many amazing pictures that I do not want to over whelm the reader.  To remedy this I will probably post this amazing adventure in several phases.  I hope you enjoy    and as always   HAPPY TRAILS!!**                                                                                      

     Several months ago I was lucky enough to be invited on a hike trip to and through The Grand Canyon.  I live about 300 miles away, but had the shortest drive by far.  I was meeting several senior citizens for the trek, so did not really prepare at all for this kind of a hike.  Until I was in the motel room -the night before  did I realize what I had gotten myself into.  The husband and wife part of the team travel all over, doing hikes.  In fact they just recently got back from a big hike in the Himalays.  I would like to say I am in good shape, but this was going to be way more than I had bargained for.  We ended up doing 18 miles in one day.  7 on switch backs down the trail from the South Rim - several into a camp down near the Colorado River and than nine long miles back up to the top.  Where happily dinner awaited! I am always up for crazy hikes, but this was even more than what I thought was a good idea.   Even the signs going into the hike warned of the dangers of doing this type of hike all in one day.    All things considered we made amazing time.  At one point we had to wait for pack mules to be re loaded after they had lost all of there packs.  Because the trail was to narrow to make a pass around the blow out.  And coming back up the trail---the others in our party had to wait for me more than a little bit.  Amazingly to me the trail up or down- is only about a mile in distance.  But is so amazingly steep that you follow switchback upon switchback.  I am happy to say that I went on this trip for the experience, memory's, and pictures.   But at one point, I was trying to decide if I could afford to be air lifted out of the canyon by helicopter, because I was done and beyond sore.   I remained very sore for a good two weeks after the trip.  That said, I took WAY more pictures going into the canyon, when I was still full of energy and enjoying life, than on the way out---when I was mostly trying to keep moving.  

On this day I was very glad to find reasonable gas prices in Tucson.

I got to enjoy some late spring sights.  This time of year was also perfect for not sweating it out to much during the big hike. 

The huge variety of plant life found in the desert always amazes me. 
Especially after spending so much time living in Oregon and Washington.
So I try and take pictures of new desert plant life in each and every post. 

I left early enough in the day to check out this area and state park just outside of Tucson.
You can see more pictures and thoughts in my blog post in the archives.

Several hours from Flagstaff I decided it was time to get out of the car and Explore.
This small town has some huge character for sure. 
Just to the left of the visitor center I had spotted some water.

About the middle of town  just past several bars and a very small grocery store. 
I did not get any pictures but just outside of town is the remains of a dog racing track.   The building is huge and I really wished to Explore it more on the journey home, but did not have enough time to stop.  

Back on the road. 

We now have several bobble head critters on our dash to lead the way on our Exploring. 

Closer still to Flagstaff was this casino. 
Most casinos offer free caffeine and free game play if you have never visited before. 
Plus they have super cold air conditioning.  

This one also had a bowling alley in it. 

With the attitude and the smell of the pine trees the drive into Flagstaff is always a great drive.  Especially when you are coming up from the super hot depths of Sedona. 
I lived in Flagstaff years ago, and in many of the towns not to far off the highway between Phoenix and Flagstaff.  The drive was a blast down memory lane also. 

I had slacked a lot on this road trip---and wanted to reach our motel before dark. 
So did not have much time to roam around the town until my journey back home. 
Than I had hoped to take a quick hike or two.   The area is full of amazing hikes, but on the return trip my legs were still a little to rubbery.
I did have time to catch a bite to eat and check my e mails. 
And of course call my wife, who was hugely missing me.
I can not even type that with a straight face. 
It was the first day of the trip, she was super happy!
And to roam by the Wal Mart I worked at for a short time.  Before transferring to the Queen Creek store.   Wal Mart seemed to be the only reason that small town even existed when we lived there.  
More on Flagstaff in another post.  

The motel was amazing!
Complete with it's own bowling alley.
And I have to thank my hike buddies here--because they paid for and my friends room. 
And it was a nice room for sure.  Although we did not have to much time to enjoy it   that night   the hike started at five AM the next day.
We did have enough time to check out the large motel and to 
visit one of the bars.
Where I tried a local Grand Canyon --brew.
It tasted like wet dirt from the canyon. 
Little did I know that later as I was dragging myself to the final parking lot, I might well be tasting the real dirt!

The next morning we got off the shuttle bus just as the sun was fully up.

Just down from the parking lot. 

The crew   while we were all still happy! 

                                   Many more pictures and thoughts in part II!  

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