Palm Trees in southern Florida

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Unintended Break

Wow, it's been all month without a new blog.
Then again no one in my life died this month but it was close, real close.  911 has been dialed twice.

It's been that kind of month and it's been hard for me to talk about what I observed.
So I just didn't talk.

On to more pleasent things...

That's a grand flower!

I cannot get enough of the Grand Canyon. Photos do not do it justice, the scale IS (almost) more than my senses can deal with. I come to marvel at it, I'm sure the first visitors bitched about having to deal with it.
Maybe the next time I come I'll try dealing with it, I'd like to go down and see that suspension bridge up close.

Grand canyon trails
More trails

I saw "Four Corners" up close, it had rained and there was mud, tourists and souvenir stands.
Four Corners mud

four corners marker

The Navajo National Monument offered free camping and this view of a pueblo that was occupied for just 50 years. There was a hike that takes you down too the abandoned buildings.

They only lived there 50 years

I spent some of the month in Flagstaff Arizona. I doubt if fate had not intervened that I would have even seen the town for what it is, a very pleasant small town!
How Flagstaff got it's name

 The trains that go by, I like to stand close and feel the energy thru my toes. Almost as good being on the beach with big waves crashing or standing in front of a C-130 on the long wire with all four engines running... you can 'feel' it.

A splendid old section of town with a nice mix of outdoor stores, eateries, bars and collectable shops most of brick & sandstone. Local people & tourists with a variety of languages for your listening pleasure. I actually saw an outstanding gun shop & a dive shop on one street, it had been some time since I went in to a dive shop...a nice place.

Flagstaff dispersed camping

Water, can't do without it

This is a world famous tourist spot and well as a college town. It was not hard to find a parking spot and the walking around the old part of town was not difficult. Flagstaff is nice, not perfect.

The frames were locked

I'm a sucker for a VW bus and farmers markets. There were a lot of VW campers around!
A 70's VW camper in a parking lot

Sunday farmers market in Flagstaff

I took a quick tour along the scenic highway 12 in Utah (124 miles) with an overnight stop at Kodachrome Basin State Park. Bryce Canyon and other spectacular scenery, way too much to take in. You could spend a season here just looking, walking and taking pictures.

The month of June was an overload on so many fronts and I ended up back in Washington state. I keep leaving Washington and then some damn reason or another brings me back...
I have high hopes for July!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Grand Canyon

That's the Colorado River making the Grand Canyon deeper
I am dispersed camping just outside the south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. With the “America The Beautiful Pass” I get in for free! The camping is free! 
Ten pounds of ice on the other hand is going to run you $4.49 and if you like ramin noodles it would be worthwhile to bring some with you or more money.
Bread is reasonable!

I was going to write about Las Vegas , dispersed camping , hot weather and cold water but I can’t. 
The Grand Canyon IS bigger than life.

I arrived here, checked out the first camping area I came to (FS 688, it was on the POI list I down loaded to my Garmin GPS) & saw camping would not be a problem, it even had a toilet!   

Toilet in the woods!

FS 688 area
Then I went to look at the Canyon. How many times can you say “Wow!” in a day? It is bigger than life.

One of my first thoughts as I sat on a bench admiring it was I wonder what the first person who was heading east (or west) thought. Coming thru the trees, maybe following a deer or elk trail  and then getting to the edge… Oh wow! That’s going to take a bit of work to cross.
Driving down I-5 in southern Oregon, where you get to the top of a pass and you can see 6 or more separate mountain ranges in front of you would give you that same feeling if you were traveling on foot.

Today I went to the see the movie at the visitor’s center, about 20 minutes and worth it. 
Then I started walking the rim trail. It’s 17 miles long but there is a free shuttle bus so you can stop and get a ride back to where you left your car. My only problem with that is they don’t allow dogs on the bus & I have a dog… Today I walked from Mather Point to Bright Angle Lodge, and back. A couple of miles maybe, each way. I plan to take it in chunks & see how much of it I can walk.

I have noticed that at times I am short of breath, we are almost seven thousand feet high, I think it's the altitude … and I had an odd urge to go down to the bottom of the canyon just to see what it looks like from down there.
Why is it odd? I KNOW that if I go down there I will have to come back up, that’s a long walk back up!
My camping gear is not set up for that kind of trip (I’d have to spend at least one night down there) and I have the dog. Dogs are not allowed into the canyon. That’s a reason for another trip here.. like I need a reason to go to the Grand Canyon!

 The other thing here at the national park is the people, I heard so many different languages today! It's even better than Chicago!

As a side note to the dispersed camping on national forests…
At the ranger station in Tusayan (just outside the south gate) you can pick up a free “Motor Vehicle Use Map” that shows you the forest service roads. These are great maps & you can pick them up for whatever national forest you are visiting, just watch for the local ranger station.