Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Grand Canyon and a Chance Encounter…

When we left Bullhead City we first took the Interstate to Kingman and then swung onto Route 66 to the Grand Canyon. We set up at Trailer Village, right at the National Park. Boy, does that National Park Annual Pass ever pay for itself after seven months touring the US of A.

What can someone possibly say about the Grand Canyon? The pictures below, hopefully, will help to tell just a little of the story.

The first glimpse of the canyon, as you approach it, is the tops of sheer cliffs on the other side of the canyon, about ten miles away. Your instincts tell you immediately the scale of the cliffs are an indication that what you’re seeing is just the tip of something really BIG. We were approaching the rim of the canyon on foot and every step revealed more of the magnitude of the scene, totally exposing itself only when we got right to the rim where we looked six thousand feet down to a giant yawing chasm, literally taking our breath away.

Pictured below is our first view of the canyon from near The Village, where we began our 7.5 mile hike of the South Rim Trail.

Yes, I have vertigo. As soon as we arrived at a spot where the trail narrowed and there were no guardrails I started to lean heavily to the high side side of the trail. My footsteps become heavy and deliberate. I tend to hurry through these uncomfortable spots and my breathing gets heavy - kind of a moan, I guess, because Janice says it sounds to her like, "I'm listening to a foot race in the Special Olympics."

Janice stands in awe of one of the Natural Wonders of the World. The luster of this spectacle would surely never wear off. Just to her right is a cut in the side of the cliff, and to the left, the same Bright Angel Trail, culminates at the edge of a grassy viewpoint.

Janice takes another pause, at Maricopa Point, to view the unbelievable depth and immensity of the canyon.

Ok, so I didn’t hike the entire South Rim Trail. The only reason the picture below made it into the blog is because it tells a story. The picture is deceiving because, until you study it closely, you would have no idea that it would have turned me into a quivering bag of mush, causing me to turn around, declaring that I couldn’t pass this point. See, the cliffs on the left overhang the trail, which make a six-footer have to duck. To the right, if you look closely, you can see that there is no rail or anything else to grab onto, only a few decorative rocks that wouldn't stop a Toy Poodle from sliding six thousand feet into oblivion. We turned around, walked back to the free bus that stops every half mile, and started the trail again at the next viewpoint.

The red rocks at Mohave Point are equally as glorious as those at Sedona.

We pose near Mojave Point as a stranger snaps a picture.

The clouds sweep swiflty over the canyon, causing shadows that look like giant mutated Manta Rays slithering over an irregular ocean floor.

The Colorado River, 6,000 feet below.

At Hermits rest we caught the bus back to The Village, just in time to have a cocktail at the lodge lounge before capturing the colour caused by the waning sun.

The Canyon appears at its best just as the sun is about to go down.

We met some Americans who have done all the trails in the canyon and they said that that the spot where I turned around was the scariest on the trail, and one of the scafiest in the canyon. It was certainly scary enough to turn me around. When we inquired how many Americans they thought might have visited the Grand Canyon they replied, "Less than five." Most people they meet on the trails are European.

By the way, Janice and I were at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon thirty years ago,which, incidentally, was about six months after we moved in together.

On the way back to Bullhead City, we stopped at Seligman, on Route 66, for lunch. A couple of businesses from there are pictured below.

As soon as we got back to the Avi Casino and RV Park at Bullhead City I went to the clubhouse to check our email. There was one from a certain Vince Croswell of Kamloops. Vince is the brother of our good friend Howard Croswell, and his wife Leia, whom we’ve known well for fifteen years. Howard and Leia are from Barriere but they house sit Vince and, and his wife Maureen’s, condo while they are away for the winters in Mexico.

Anyway, Howard had told me that Vince would like to be on the list for the blog and so I put him on the list when we left. Over the years we’ve been to two of Vince and Maureen’s houses for dinners with Howard and Leia, and, we‘ve been to their cabin at East Barriere Lake. We knew a lot about their lives but, still, we‘d never met them.

Anyway, Vince’s email to me said that they were enjoying the blog and that they were in Laughlin, on there way back from Mexico. I emailed back and said we were near there, at the Casino and would they like to meet?

When I got back to the trailer Janice was standing talking to the neighbour, who turned out to be none other than Vince Crswell. They were set up right beside us! We sat and had happy hour with them and a couple of their friends, from Kamloops and Vernon, whom they’d travelled to Mexico with. They were all going to the two-for-one meal at the Casino but I had to decline because the dental work was still really sore. I’m still on Yogurt, bananas, V8 Juice, muffins, scrambled eggs or pasta.

We did have another nice meeting with them in the morning though. What a small world and, how amazing we would end up in exactly the same place, side by side, so far from home.

Pictured are Vince and Maureen with us two.

Vince and Maureen are headed to San Francisco to see some friends there, while we pulled up stakes for Pahrump Nevada. Ya, that’s right, Pahrump. I asked Janice how she thought Pahrump might have come by it’s name. Without a hiccup she replied, “Well it’s from Pahrump Pa Pum Pum, of course.” The truth, apparently, is that it’s a native word and it’s meaning has something to do with water under the ground.

Any way we’re set up at the Preferred RV Park right behind Terrible’s Casino. Pahrump is an hour either way between Vegas and Death Valley, so it’s a good base for a few days before we fly out to Tulum...

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