Fungii On A Log

I took these photos last winter at Payne Lake Campground in the Talladega National Forest. I thought they looked interesting then, and when I came across the photos today, they still did. So, for your viewing pleasure:

Downed wood at Payne Lake hosts many lichens and fungi

These fungi are really pretty to me

Payne Lake Campground

These fungi have some elegant ruffles

I love the unusual shape of these fungi

The End Of The Trail

I have been doing some hiking here at the Grand Canyon. You may recall my trek out to Widforss Point, the day we went on the Uncle Jim Trail, or the Cliff Springs Trail. But the mama of them all, the one true test of a hiker here at the Grand Canyon has not been mine to experience until today. I am proud to say I am no longer a virgin to the North Kaibab Trail, the one that the rim to rim hikers take. So, OK, I didn’t go very far. You have to start somewhere, everyone does. Today, my friend and co-worker, Sally along with the campground host Bob, and I went to the first bend in the trail.

(Sally and me on the North Kaibab Trail)

Sally and Bob have hiked the North Kaibab before, so they knew I could do this little piece of it. And I am very grateful to them for encouraging me to try it, and for going with me today so that they could be my “brains” and make me turn around when they knew I would want to continue.

(Bob the camphost on the trail)

They called it the “500 Steps” because from that bend in the trail, it is about 500 steps to the top, to the end of the trail. The going down was very easy, but I have to tell you, I felt every pound of the fat on my body going back up. Next week we are going to go to the Coconino Overlook. I can hardly wait!

(me at the end of the trail)

Hiking The Cliff Springs Trail

If you ever get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Cliff Springs Trail is one you are definitely going to have to hike. FabGrandpa and I went on that trail today. The day was beautiful, with blue skies, a gentle breeze and the temperature around 65 degrees.

(The beginning of the trail)

The trail starts at the Angel’s Window overlook. It is a half mile to the springs, but you can go beyond that point if you want to. We went about a mile out, then turned around and came back. The views were breathtaking, absolutely beautiful.

(A huge boulder at the side of the trail)

The springs are more like a “drips”, as the water was dripping out of the cliffs onto the ground, making a small pool. Lots of plant life was taking advantage of the moisture there, so it looked cool and green. I can see why ancient Indians sought out this place in the summer as a respite from the boiling sun down in the canyon below.

(The cliffs, wow!)

The drive up the Cape Royal Road to the Angel’s Window Overlook is about 30 miles from the entrance to the park. There are four or five paved parking areas on the drive up so you can take advantage of the awesome view up there. At the end of the road is Cape Royal, where you can take a paved hiking trail out to the gorgeous viewpoints. You can see the Colorado River from this trail.

(Looking up. The cliffs hung over life a roof in places)

I’m going back up there in two weeks, because the Aspens are just starting to change to their blazing gold color, and I want to get some pictures of them at their peak. Of course, I’ll be putting some pictures up here for you to see.

(Looking across the canyon to the other side)

In other news, Becca and Ken have moved into their new apartment in Denver. She has already found a job, just two miles from home at the Williams Sonoma. She worked for them in Norfolk for years, so it was just a matter of interviewing with the manager there. Today they went sightseeing in their new hometown. I can hardly wait to make use of their guest room!

(Taking a rest on a stump)

The FabGrandson Owen had his first birthday on Friday. Judging from the pictures his mother sent me, he loved his birthday cake! And his Dad, Seth, told me he is feeling better than he has ever felt in his life since having his surgery for sleep apnea. His exact words “I feel high just from breathing”.

(Cliff Spring. Indians came here as early as 1100 A.D.)

Emily has gone back to school to get her master’s degree in education. She has her hands full with her teaching job, her own school homework, and her son, The FabGrandson Spencer. He is in first grade and doing pretty good this year.

(Another view across the canyon)

And my stepdaughter, Becky just got back from Mexico on a business trip, a two-day training class. Lucky dog!

(Click on this picture to see the tiny little people up ahead of us, to get an idea of the size of these cliffs)

(In some places, the cliffs where so low you had to crouch down to walk on the trail.)

(A gnarled tree on the edge of the canyon at Walhalla Overlook)

(A bee on a dried thistle flower.)