Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Visiting the Grand Canyon NP, but staying at Zion NP.

Today we drove from Zion to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It is about a 120 miles, good roads and moderate hills.  The weather was cool (really cold for us) and with almost no sunshine.  But it was a pleasant drive otherwise.

Upon arriving at the north rim, we proceeded to the visitor's center (our standard policy).  It is small, with a few items of educational value.  As I read some of them, I tuned into one of the Ranger's behind the counter explaining something to another visitor.  Later I went to her to inquire if she had ever kept track of how often she went through her spiel?    She admitted she had never thought of it that way, but also,  she defended the practice saying that her customers would never tolerate a recording (which I agree with her on.)  But it is nearly the same for each visitor.

We then went to the Lodge, which is built on the very edge of the canyon wall.  As you walk into the lobby and look south through the viewing windows, it is a big empty valley.   There is nothing in the foreground.    We went out a side door intending to take a short walk.   At one point,  Sandy turned to me and said, "What a big hole!"  I reminded her that perhaps it should more properly be called "a Big Ditch".

It is hard to describe.  It is awesome   The space between the two walls is tremendous plus the depth of a mile is further mind boggling.   Our quarter of a mile walk ended about half way through.  It was windy and very cold plus to be honest about it, I became chicken!   That walking on the edge of space is just not my cup of tea.  So we returned to the lodge and listened to a ranger's talk until she finished.

By then I knew I was in trouble.   We were to drive out to a point called Cape Royal, about 20 miles out on a ridge projecting into the canyon.  Of course, the road goes up and down plus from one peninsula wall to the other.  I drove (slowly) and we made it, but there was no way you were going to get me to go on the eighth of a mile walk into never never land.  The observation point is on a stone pillar connected by a stone  slab to the base ridge.  (It looks very much like the Crazy Horse monument in SD, if you built a viewing platform on top of the horse's head and you had a walk way the length of his arm.)   It probably has been there for thousands of years and even today has a guard rail around the top, but forget it.  I may gamble like all farmers with my crops, but I'm not about to gamble with my life.  Why push my luck?

Perhaps the message here ought to be to our daughters (the rest of you ), do those things while you're young and adventurous.  I had always wanted to hike across the canyon.   Then when my hips bothered me, it was to ride the mules across. It never happened, not because  of money but we just didn't have enough time.  There were too many other challenges (or opportunities) in life that got into the way.  Until today when we do have the time, but no guts!  (I think at one time there was also an age limit, which we also now exceed.)

We had a pleasant drive back to Zion NP, with Sandy doing some  of the driving.  How nice it is to be in our motorhome, with the heater on and able to surf some.   It was cloudy and rainy all day here and our solar panels did not recharge our batteries one little bit.  So we ran our generator from 6 to 8 (generator hours) and I think fully recharged our batteries.  So we're good to surf as long as we want to this evening.   It continues to rain (heavily) out, so perhaps we'll see how fast the runoff really is on this rocky landscape.   We are parked well away from the Virgin River and on higher ground, so I don't think we have much to worry about.   But we do have plenty of food, so even if we get blocked in (missing bridges)  for a few days, we'll survive.  Okay, so the meals might not meet the proper mix of foods, but  if one is hungry, anything will work (except liver!)

It is about 45 degrees out and the rain continues to play on the roof top.  At least we don't hear any other noises.


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