I love wildflowers. I go on driving trips just to see them and take pictures of them. I had no idea that the North Rim of the Grand Canyon would be a wildflower paradise, but they are everywhere up here. If you drive slower than the speed limit you will be able to see tons of them. Whenever I drive anywhere it makes me think of easter, with all the pastel colors on the roadsides and in the meadows. Here are just a few of them:
I know if I refused to participate in these Meme’s that 1. people would stop tagging me, and 2. people would stop reading me. So what are you gonna do? I was tagged by Witchypoo over at Psychicgeek, who really makes me laugh, so I have to do this.
The tag is for a Meme, in which I have to list eight things I want to do before I die. Once upon a time, there was a lot of things I wanted to do, and places I wanted to go, so it would have been really easy to this several years ago. But now? It has taken me days to think about this. I have most of what I want, and have been to or have plans in the works for going to most of the places I want to go. So, yeah, this one has been hard for me.
1. I want to lose 50 pounds. And somehow, I often think that I will die much too early if I don’t lose 50 pounds. I really need to do this one because I want to be around to still be FabGrandma for my gran chilluns.
2. I want to learn how to speak Spanish fluently. I want to do this because I will need to know how to do it if I get to:
3. Spend the winter in La Paz, Mexico, down at the end of the Baja. I want to loll on the beach, eat fish tacos til I pop, and take a ferry ride over to that island where the Blue Footed Boobies live.
4. I want to add Blue Footed Boobies to my lifetime list. For those of you who are not birdwatchers, a lifetime list is “just” a list of the different birds you have seen whilst birdwatching.
5. I want to publish a cookbook. Yeah, Me. I have one in the works, but have not gotten very far with it. A few years ago, all the members of my family–sister, sisters-in-love, nieces, some nephews, mother, etc., all wrote down our recipes and made up a family cookbook. All the new brides in our family get a copy of it, and let me tell you, it has probably saved a couple of marriages on that side of the family. But this new cookbook I have in mind is solely my creation, and will remain secret until I get further down the road with it.
6. I want to own a really good digital camera. Not a cheap one. I want one with multiple lenses, that will take excellent pictures of Blue Footed Boobies and Gluten Free Cherry Pie. One that will cost a month’s pay, but that will let me take pictures worthy of selling and suitable for framing.
7. A short term goal I have is to have to buy new pants before this season is over in mid-October. I ain’t telling what size I wear, just suffice it to say it is way too big. And even one size smaller would be one small step for womankind, and make this old lady very happy. Oh, and this is probably almost the same as #1, but because it is so important, I have put it in here twice, and because if I accomplish this one, it will help me to accomplish #8:
8. I want to be able to hike the Grand Canyon on the Kaibab Trail, from the North Rim to the South Rim. I want to stay overnight at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon. I want to drench myself in the Colorado River, and see for myself the waterfalls at Havasu Falls, Ribbon Falls, and Roaring Springs. Even seeing one of them would make it for me.
So, there you have it. I am not tagging anyone to do this, but if you decide on your own to list your eight things you want to do before you die, please come back here and leave a comment so I will know you have done it and I can come over and read what you want to do, OK?
Over the weekend we drove the 150 miles to Page, Arizona. we had to get some work done on our truck, and we wanted to be there when the Ford dealership opened, so we went on Sunday afternoon and spent the night at Motel 6.
On Monday morning we walked across the street to the service department, and made an appointment for 1:00 p.m. That left us with the morning to do some sightseeing.
We drove over to Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. What an amazing sight! Even though the lake is 67 feet below full pool, it is still a beautiful oasis in the desert.
We took a 45 minuted guided tour of the dam. Construction on the dam began in 1956 when President Eisenhower pushed a button in the Oval Office that triggered the switch by telegraph to ignite the first dynamite blast of the cliffs above the Colorado River. The construction work continued 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, until the dam was completed in 1963.
On the way home, we took highway 89 north through southern Utah and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The visitors center there had great displays of dinosaur bones that have been discovered in Utah. I asked FabGrandpa to put his hand on this dinosaur foot to show you just how big it is! I ‘m glad these guys aren’t walking the earth these days.
We found a really good restaurant in Page, you can read about our dining experiences at Fiesta Mexicana by clicking here. Although we came to this area because the Grand Canyon is here, there is so much more to see and do here, it is unbelievable.
On June 9, Jim and I and our neighbor across the street went for a hike on the Uncle Jim Trail. The Uncle Jim is a 5 mile loop, that starts out at the North Kaibab Trailhead. The North Kaibab is the trail that goes down into the canyon. It goes across to the South Rim, where you meet up with the Bright Angel Trail and up to the top of the South Rim. The Uncle Jim Trail takes you through the forest out onto the North Rim, where you can get a fabulous view of the winding North Kaibab Trail. This first picture is the beginning of the Uncle Jim Trail.
One thing I did not like about the Uncle Jim Trail is that you have to share the trail with the mule rides, so you can just guess what it LOOKED like and what it SMELLED like. (can you say peee yewwww!!!) But after about a mile or so, the mule rides turn left and follow the Ken Patrick Trail and the Uncle Jim Trail turn right, so it did improve after that. Here is FabGrandpa standing at the intersection of the Ken Patrick and the Uncle Jim Trails.
I was ready for this hike, or so I thought, because I brought plenty of water and snacks, and it was ONLY 5 miles, right? But, we were surprised by the ravenous mosquitos. They came out after two o’clock, and wouldn’t let us rest. We couldn’t sit down or take a break at all, because if we did, the vicious little b#$@%r&* were relentless. I learned on THIS hike that I should pack some bug repellent wipes or spray in my backpack. Oh, and another thing I learned is that your hiking partner needs to take their own backpack. Here is the backpackless Jim hiking along on the Uncle Jim Trail:
Jim and Gary went all the way to the edge. I was a little afraid, so I didn’t go down there. Don’t they look like they are observing their kingdom?
If you click on the picture below, you will be able to see the winding North Kaibab Trail, down in the canyon below. You would not believe how many people hike down that trail to get to the bottom of the canyon. And can you believe those shear rock walls? It is an awesome view that just boggles my mind about how this area was formed.
It seems like everywhere I go on the North Rim, I wind up taking pictures of Humphrey’s Peak. The mountain in the distance in this pic is 70 miles away, in Flagstaff. It still has a snowcap. When we were on our way up here we camped at a campground on the other side of that mountain.
And, I know this is not an attractive picture, but I wanted to show you that my feet are ok. No blisters, no sores, no cracks. Just fat feet. Oh, and I have to tell you, I have lost 17 pounds since I got here in April, so this hiking stuff is beginning to pay off. Yay me!
For one thing, not many people get a chance to take this hike. Not many people get to see the view from Widforss Point. And I wanted to be one of those people. But, I have a confession to make. It was one of the most stupid things I have ever done. I put myself in danger, because I am not in good enough shape to take that hike.
The Widforss Trail is a 5 miles one way, 10 mile round trip, trail that takes you from meadow through forest and along the edge of the Transept Canyon, up and down hills, ending at Widforss Point with a panoramic view of Bright Angel Canyon and Oza Butte.
I learned a lot from my project day, about hiking in general and about myself. Here are a few of the things I learned:
- Take more water than you think you will need. I did not take enough water, and that fact became apparent on the trip back. It was very embarrassing for me, to be in my uniform out on the trail, and have to ask other hikers if they had extra water. I will repeat this point, both for your sake and for mine: Take more water than you think you will need.
- Take more food than you think you will need. You use an awful lot of energy when you hike 10 miles, no matter what shape you are in. I had an apple, some applesauce, some cookies, some beef jerky, and some Fritos. I ate every bit of it, and needed more. I should have had at least twice what I took.
- Know when to turn back. I should have listened to my legs, to my entire body. I should not have let my heart and pride be in charge. They could well have killed me. Yes, that does sound rather dramatic, but it is very true.
- Walk slower, and rest more often. Don’t go out there trying to prove a point. I wanted to succeed, and in my desire to succeed, took on more than I should have for the shape I am in. Twice I had to lie down on the ground and sleep for half an hour because my feet would just not go another step. And in those times, I was terrified that I wouldn’t make it.
- I learned that I can walk 10 miles in one day, but that I should not have, and that it was a terribly stupid thing for me to do.
Now that all that was said, I have to say that I was greatly rewarded for my efforts. I saw some really awesome views. I met some very nice people on the trail. I ate my meager lunch with a hiker from Alaska. I saw a flock of western tanagers, swooping down into the canyon, and perching in the trees to put on a fabulous bird fashion show of yellow and red just for me.
I had my picture taken by a stately ponderosa pine that is more than 13 feet in circumference.
And I sat on a rock and soaked in the view from the end of the trail.
Most of all, I made it back out, much the wiser for the experience.
Today, on my day off, I am taking it pretty easy. My feet hurt, and I have a blister on the bottom of one of them. My legs hurt, all the way up to my hips. I am unusually thirsty, so I am drinking more water than usual. And I am hungry. I have already eaten breakfast, but I am still hungry. And, I am very thankful that I was able to make it out of the Widforss Trail.
Yesterday was my birthday. I don’t normally toot my own horn about my birthday. But, this year, when I woke up and started to get ready to go to work, I looked outside and it was snowing! I have never lived in a place where there was much snow, ever. I grew up and lived in Georgia for the first 48 years of my life. So to look outside and see snow on May 24th, well, that is just different for me.
When I got to the office, my first task for the day was to drive down to Jacob Lake to take some stuff down there. So, I went home and got my camera.
Hooooo Wheeeeee! Now that is some snow!
Here are a couple more pics:
I love the little patch of blue sky showing through the snow clouds in this pic.
The reflection on this meadow lake sure does make it look more like mid-winter than soon to be summer.
This is the entrance station to the Grand Canyon, on May 24th, the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, 2008. It is where I work. Even with the snow, I still love it here.
When FabGrandpa and I left the house early this morning, I told him “I am not taking my camera with me today.” It has been a “thing” for him to tease me about taking that camera everywhere. I take pictures of everything, because you never know what you may need to illustrate something with. So, I left without it.
We were on our way to a routine day of shopping, but the routine since we got to Arizona is that we drive 125 miles to go grocery shopping, so we better have a real good list. We stopped at the cafe at Jacob Lake, 43 miles north of the Grand Canyon, to have breakfast.
At the cafe we sat at the counter because the place was pretty full. I struck up a conversation with the lady sitting beside me. She asked me where I was from, and when I said “Georgia”, she asked me where in Georgia. I told her “Douglasville.” She said her great aunt was a school teacher in Douglasville, and it turns out that her great aunt was Margaret Warren, one of my teachers when I was in high school. What a neat coincidence.
After breakfast, we drove to St. George, Utah to do our shopping. We went to Best Buy, a health food store called Dixie Nutrition (where I found my Pamela’s Baking Mix and a jackpot of other gluten free foods); on to Wal-Mart for groceries and a hair cut for me. We bought a new cooler to put our groceries in so they wouldn’t rot on the trip home. A stop at the Paiute Reservation for beer, wine and cigarettes completed the shopping day.
As we entered the Kaibab National Forest at Jacob Lake on the last leg of our trip home, we started counting the deer we saw, just for the heck of it. There were a total of 105 mule deer on that 43 miles road. But the coolest thing we saw, after we entered the Grand Canyon National Park, was the biggest beast of a bison, standing in the middle of the road. We stopped the truck, and it looked for a moment like he was going to charge us, but he turned at the last second and ran off into the woods. FabGrandpa and I just sat there, stunned, looking at each other. What a Fabulous day! But wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t have my camera!!!