Published: February 16th 2008September 26th 2007
The Grand Canyon Show
Maybe the Greatest Show on Earth?
I got up around 8 and went for a swim. The air temperature was colder than the water. I had slept pretty good and the swim felt great and refreshing. I swam for about 15 minutes and then headed back to the truck to get ready to mosey on out of these parts. Actually, these parts were very nice and I really enjoyed my stay. It is amazing how somethings things turn out a lot better than expected. I really was not impressed by Lake Powell at first and then realized this was just a finger of the lake and it is a much bigger lake. Some locals said too the lake is about 100 ft. down and has been down for a long time and they had no confidence it would ever get back to pool stage. The campsite I did not think was going to be that great, but I really enjoyed the swimming. My neighbors I did not think were going to be that interesting, but they were. The moon I did not expect to be that fantastic, but it was. Just an awesome all around good time. I waved and honked at the French folks as
Time to think here in Sedona! I definitely have dork qualities! :(
I cantered off into the sunrise.
I went past the Glen Canyon Dam and decided I would come back after breakfast for a tour. I had a quick breakfast at McDonalds and headed back to the Dam. I wanted to keep on trucking but it was just too convenient not to visit this dam. I was in luck there was a tour in about an hour so I went to my truck to journal and then went back in for the tour. The tour guide was very young and overly dramatic. She was pretty thorough in her knowledge about this dam and others. One time she boisterously, which is how she always talks, said the concrete used is 3,000 pounds per square inch in strength. She said it in a manner as if it was super strong concrete. We use stronger concrete than that in all our projects. The tour was pretty good and I was glad I went. I took exception to her saying that the 20 year drought that is occurring hear is not global warming causing it. I thought now how does she know that. People are quick to discount global warming with non science or
even science, but when the science or nonscience says just the opposite then global warming can not be happening. It just depends on what side of the fence your on. I have stated before lets exercise caution and reduce pollution just in case. Doesn’t that make better sense. Reducing pollution? Sure maybe there has to be some sacrifices. Maybe somebody has to build a 3,000 sq. ft. house instead of a 3,200 sq.ft. house. Maybe someone has to not buy a fifth pair of sunglasses. We have it so good already why do we always need more?
She also said this dam is second in a lot of things. One of the things she said the service elevator is over 500 ft. deep and I thought to myself that the elevator in Carlsbad Caverns is deeper than that. She then said the only deeper elevator is at Carlsbad Caverns which made me smile as this trip is pretty cool as I had been to Carlsbad. I can watch a lot of movies now and recognize things and know what the places are really like. In pictures we are always trying to make the picture look the best not necessarily
how things really look.
I hopped in the truck and headed to Sedona. It will be good to see Janis again. I made it to Flagstaff in the late afternoon and called Janis. She seemed a little surprised that I was this close already. As I drove down Oak Creek Canyon I saw lots of trees. I thought now Sedona is a lot of Red Rocks. When do the Red Rocks appear? Well they appear at the bottom of the Canyon, which is where Sedona is situated. The Canyon itself is beautiful and there was a lot of camping which I am always happy to see. I drove straight through the touristy part of Sedona and the GPS guided me to Janis’s pad. Her house is beautifully situated near some great Red Rock formations. She pointed to one of the formations and said that has been in movies before. Her house inside is beautiful as well. A sculptor from Disney owned it before her. She has a waterfall feature right as you walk in. I was quickly greeted with some scowls at first and then happiness by Gracie her canine. We were best buds immediately and I soon fell
in love with her dog, which is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Now how many people can say they have one of those? I instantly recognized the dog as the one Dad was interested in getting. This particular one was a rescue dog and it has only one ear canal. I was pretty beat and really did not feel like getting too crazy sight seeing so I just chilled out for awhile. I got situated with her wifi and used the computer for awhile. I really needed to get the next phase of my trip figured out. My around the world trip.
A little later in the evening Janis fixed some pizza that I really liked and I had a Oak Creek Canyon Amber that was awesome as well. I am a big fan of Amber beer. It is not hoppy, really smooth and has lots of flavor. It is a lot like New Castle Brown Ale. It was good to be staying with someone I knew again. I hit the hay around 11:00. Good night from Sedona, a very beautiful and magical place. Oh I have a new girlfriend as well. Her name is Gracie and she
Kill your television!
You know for the last year I have watched virtually no tv and really have not missed it at all!
is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever!
I awoke and went immediately to the computer to continue working. I was afraid a little that Janis might think I just came there to use the internet, which is not the case at all. I came there to see Sedona and to see Janis of course. I try to use the computer everyday, and this time I just happen to be in Sedona at Janis’s.
Janis takes my girlfriend Gracie for a walk everyday. This morning she invited me to go along and I definitely wanted to. We walked through the subdivision and then into the red rock. Red Rock is Sedona. It is all over the place. We went up the trail towards the top of the rock. Did I mention this rock is red? Of course it is, this is Sedona. Gracie stayed ahead of us and I watch her every stride as lovers so often do. Ok that is getting to be a little weird even for me and must be even more weird for the reader.
We made it to the top having met a couple people that Janis knew and was greeted with
See how far the water level is down?
an amazing view of downtown Sedona. Sedona’s shops are pretty much around the main streets in town. There are two main streets forming a wye, with all the shops along those two streets. It is not a wide City more narrow to allow it to fit inside the rock formations. Sedona to me seems very small, but I know it is not. There are lots of churches and gallerys. It is a very unique and special place. Sedona is known for it’s energy. I was not really taking the time to try to feel the energy and I am not generally an energy kind of guy, but I can understand how one might feel energy here sooner than in other places. There are places where the energy is found more frequently than others and I had not been to those places yet so maybe I would feel it. I hope I am not in any sounding like I am making fun of this energy thing that people feel here. I think it is great that people find this place to be soulful. Good for them. We all need happy places to go to where we can get away from all
the craziness in our lives.
We headed back down with Gracie always in the lead. Janis had to slow her down several times as she really liked to get out ahead of us. Janis said really it was not a big deal if she got too far out as she would stop at the tree near the exit of the trail anyway. She said she always does that. I looked forward to seeing that as it is kind of cool to see dogs do tricks like that and sure enough she did. When we came around the corner there Gracie stood about 20 yds from the subdivision street. I was impressed by that. When we got there Janis put her leash on and we continued on. As we walked down the street she said Gracie is ready to head back to the barn. This seemed like a cool thing to say. Janis exudes coolness.
After making it back Janis fixed some breakfast consisting of French toast that I really liked. Instead of putting syrup on it however we put peanut butter and some blueberry jam. I really liked it especially the peanut butter which was organic peanut butter.
Full Moon Over Lake Powell
I was not too excited about camping here either but ended up having a great time!
Afterwards I spent most of the day working on the computer and Janis worked as well. Janis was excited about having got accepted to college. She is going back to school in her 50’s. I really admire that. I too plan to go back to school once this trip is over and get a wastewater operators license and work on my masters degree in wastewater engineering.
In the evening Janis and I went to the Sedona airport to take pictures of the sunset. She said the sunsets are the best when there are clouds in the western sky which we had. The sunset was indeed very nice and there were many people enjoying it. Sedona is for sure a magical place. I know of none other like it. It is living up to what I expected. A very spiritual, reflective place.
Afterwards we went to Havelina’s to get some supper. Havelina is a wild pig found in the Sedona area and this particular place served Mexican food. Janis had an Oak Creek Canyon beer which seemed funny to me sense she has the same beer in her refrigerator at home. I thought she would have something different. I
Full Moon Rendevous
These folks come to this campsite and kayak on Lake Powell under the full moon every month and play music. Pretty cool!
by the way love that kind of beer, but decided on a Margherita since it is kind of a tradition for me to have at Mexican restaurants. The meals were very good and we headed back to Janis’s barn, as she refers to it. I convinced her to watch a little of the Boss then we worked for awhile and went to bed. Janis is a very busy lady and works a lot. She also meditates which she said is hard for her to do currently because she is so excited about starting school again. We called it a night. It was a good day and I spent most of it working on the computer readying for my next trip. Janis has traveled extensively and encouraged me not to worry about traveling to these foreign countries. She has been to many of them already and worked for the United Arab Emirates as did her husband for a long time. Janis has a very infectious personality and could very well be the life of the party. She is very good at being down home and friendly, while at the same time being classy and sophisticated. She had a lot going for
This French family shipped there RV across the water for $2,700 and are traveling across the US and into South America. He quit his job and is traveling with his wife and 3 young kids. Pretty neat!
her. Ok good night from Sedona, Arizona. Do you feel the energy. I do! :)
Today was the day I left this magical place. I passed on the walk with Janis and Gracie to the top of the mountain as I was going to do some hiking in Sedona before I left for the Grand Canyon. Man what a great place to be. Having two magical places so close together. I worked on the computer and had a bowl of cereal for breakfast. I love cereal for breakfast and missed it when I was in Europe. It is a treat to get that whenever possible.
Janis offered to have lunch with me at a taco place, but I told her I should do my hiking before eating. I thanked her and headed out around noon. I was always joking about taking Gracie with me and she had been saying how she was going to have to keep her locked up. As I walked out the door, Gracie was not around and Janis asked me if I had Gracie? I said uhhhhhh, I got to go and took off running for my truck. We both laughed. I took
a picture of Janis’s beautiful home as I drove away as I often due at the places I stay. I also took another picture of the rock above her house that is so cool looking.
I headed for Altar rock which is what Janis suggested. She said if I am just going to do one hike this is the one to do. I had a little trouble finding the turn off to the trail and ended up driving past and having to turn around when realizing I had to be past it. I did find it on the way back and parked in the parking lot. I was a little frustrated having to pay to use this trail which was probably only going to take me about an hour to hike. Just as I pulled in two vans of kids pulled in. I did not want to get behind them on the trail so I hurried up and got moving after paying my $5. Got to pay to play I guess. I headed up to the altar rock and felt like I really had my legs under me having not done anything substantial the last couple days. I quickly
made it past a couple who I believe were headed up, but resting at the time. They said something to the affect of look at him go. I was flattered but they were pretty old. In certain parts you have to climb with your hands as well as you feet. I really enjoyed this trail as that is the kind of thing I enjoy. I do not want to do any technical stuff on the rocks, but doing this kind of stuff is fine and desirable.
I made it to the top and felt the wind funneling through the necked area. I am not sure if that is the energy you are supposed to feel, but the location does seem to exude a certain something. I remember Janis saying I needed to continue on when I made it to the top so I asked the people there if that is a trail off to the left and they said it was. They were 3 kids in their early 20’s. They seemed pretty nice and I responded groovy, which for some reason they seemed to think was a cool thing to say by their reaction. Maybe Janis’s coolness is rubbing
off on me. Maybe I am cool these days? Surely not!
I quickly made it around the rock and to the end of the trail. And yes there was a great view there. I staged a couple photos and then headed back down. The van group was mostly up there but there were a few stragglers still coming up. On my way down I heard someone singing profanity’s and I was a little irritated by it. There were 3 people from the van that were sitting there drinking beer and singing the song with the profanities. I was almost past them and decided to ask them where they were from. The one guy who was not singing said that he was embarrassed to say after that singing, but then said the girl is from England and the singer was from the Netherlands. I forget where the guy speaking said he was from but it was from? I walked away thinking well maybe they will shut up now as they did say they were embarrassed. This is a place to reflect and it is hard to do with this guy yelling/singing this profanity laden song. I got a little farther
away and disappointedly the singing continued. I met up with the people again that I got the vibe that they might think I am cool earlier. As I passed them they said something about how fast I was hiking and then went on to say that guy up there sure ruins the ambience. I was scrambling trying to think of something cool to say as it would be great to have three people in this world thinking I am a cool person so I blurted out, “yeah it is hard to feel the energy.” They laughed at that response and I scurried away thinking, you know I think they still believe I am cool. I continued on down the mountain with a Fonzi like stride.
At the parking lot I decided to find someone to give my parking pass to so they would not have to spend the $5 and I quickly did. It was a guy that had two women in the car with him. I was thinking after I handed over the pass, why am I helping this guy out. He obviously has it pretty good the way it is.
I got back on the road
and drove to the Catholic Church that is built into the rock. I was thinking about the church in Helsinki that was built in the rock. This church was not as neat as the Helsinki church but was neat nonetheless. There were people there parking people. It is a really small church and can probably only a hold a congregation of maybe a hundred but the location and architecture is pretty unique. After only about 5 minutes though I had gotten the jist of the church and it was time for me to keep on keeping on.
Janis had said I needed to also stop at a Gallery nearby since this a big part of Sedona. I agreed and did stop there. They had a sign there that said please help us keep the dog in. Sure enough inside there was this little dog walking around. This was cool to me and fit in with my recent discovered cool persona. I also thought man these artistic people are really eccentric. Not exactly me but was cool to see. They had the doors of this building open, which it would make more sense to help keep the dog in to
close them. I know the dog thing is a gimmick maybe to help distract your mind from the prices. There was a little boy chasing the dog around which surprised me since there were some very expensive pieces in this gallery that could be damaged. Some of this stuff cost around $20.000. Sure I thought the pieces were neat but not that neat. For $20,000 I could spend about 8 months traveling in Europe. Outside the shop there was a sculpture of a man whose lower body is a block. His upper body was sculpted and he had a hammer and chisel in his hand forming his lower body. The emblem below it said self made man. I thought that was clever and that was my favorite sculpture. Inside there were the Hoodoos from Bryce which I quickly recognized. Man is it cool to recognize pictures like this due to my extensive travels.
After that I had my obligations in Sedona covered and I was ready to make my way to the Grand Canyon another place I was excited about seeing. I grabbed some fuel for my truck and some fuel for me and I was off. I enjoyed
the drive up Oak Creek Canyon and thought of that good beer with the same name. I made it to Flagstaff where I decided to buy a book on World traveling as I needed to find a source to develop a plan on where to go. I need some kind of basis as my knowledge of the world is very limited. I found a decent book and got a Bruce Springsteen album. I am liking Bruce’s less popular songs the best for some reason. I have never experienced that before with a musician. I guess I am a full fledged van. Bruce is the kind of musician where it is a little hard to understand the lyrics so you need to read through the lyrics at least once while he sings the song. He is similar to Bob Dylan I believe in many ways.
I got back on the road and headed up 180 to 64. I made it to the Grand Canyon Park around 6 and asked the lady what campground she would think someone would be at that was at campsite 209 and she said probably Mather Campground. It was getting late so I decided to head
to the Canyon for some sunset photos and too see the Canyon for that matter. This whole area is a lot more developed than I expected and it was very busy. I parked the truck, which took a few minutes to find a spot and then headed to the edge. I just stood there and smiled when I first saw this place. Holy crap this place is amazing. I put this place towards the top of the places I have been to. I was at Mather Point and decided to walk west towards the museum. As I walked the Canyon really started to light up with some brilliant red colors. I was amazed and smiling. I told the lady near me wow the Canyon is putting on a show tonight. I looked at a couple of the pictures and thought I think I have some keepers here. That is always a good feeling when you capture a picture that you think will become a classic for this trip. Some of these I believe will be in the top 20 for this trip.
I continued on and went to the museum for awhile after the sunset. The museum was very
My friend Janis said all the street signs in her subdivision were named after western movies.
cool, but I didn’t stay long. I hiked the mile or so back to my truck. I was really pleased with the sunset and thought the Canyon itself is awesome. At Mather Campground I asked the guard if anyone has checked into 209 and he said no but he did confirm that Brian did have it reserved. I knew I had the right site. I drove there and was impressed as well at the campsite. There were lots of trees and it was very pretty and well spaced. I got some supper going and Brian just showed up. He said he had not eaten so I fixed enough of the pasta for him as well. During supper we talked about hike possibilities. I told him at the end of tomorrow I wanted to feel like I had done something. Brian had originally talked about walking the rim but I told him I wanted him to do something that was good for him as well and not for him to be catering to me. He asked me what kind of shape I am in and I told him about the 12 miles of hiking I had done in Zion recently and
the times I had done it. He said I thought you would be in pretty good shape and said if you think you can handle it maybe we will go down to the river and back. I said that sounds good lets plan on doing that. He said it is a 16 mile hike with about 4,500 ft. of elevation change. I was pretty much committed now and wondered how tough this would be. I was questioning my abilities a little but thought I could do it although I must admit I spent the rest of the night wondering about being able to do that. I was pretty much committed and couldn’t back out now. It just wouldn’t be cool and I am cool these days!
After eating, talking and doing dishes I told Brian I really needed to spend some time planning my next trip. He said he usually does not stay up late anyway when camping and was ready to head for the tent. I worked for a couple hours on the trip and then called it a night around 11. Man what a a great day. I was a cool person that was feeling the energy
Sedona Red Rocks
I believe Janis said this rock formation is in several westerns.
of Sedona this morning and now I am on the banks of the Grand Canyon. Things are good!
I got up around 7 and thought Brian was still sleeping. I walked to the bathroom and on
the way heard someone call my name and it was Brian who said he found a closer bathroom so I went there. After the bathroom break I fixed some oatmeal for us and we ate it up. I ate about twice as much oatmeal as Brian. When hiking I really struggle when I eat a lot so this was going to be my main meal. Brian left his tent set up and we headed to the bus stop. Like Zyon the Grand Canyon has it’s own bus system which is free with your park admission. We had some difficulty finding the bus stop, but finally did. We rode the bus for about 20 minutes before getting to the South Kaibab Trailhead. This is near Yaki Point and is where we were starting our 4,500 ft. decent into the depths of this hollow(r). I kept referring to the Grand Canyon as a hollor trying to stay cool but I think my coolness was
Very unusal hiking train based on where I come from!
gone this day. It was just a one day phenomena. Brian ask me how I spell that and told him it is actually hollow but I hickify it by pronouncing it as if it ends in an r. I can always remember pronouncing Cockrell Hollow back home as if it ends in an r.
We hurriedly plopped down into the canyon and were making our descent into the depths of this canyon. We quickly came across this sign that said do not leave the south rim of the Canyon going to the river and then try to make it back up in one day. There is another sign with a picture of a male that appears to be in great shape and the sign says this is what the people look like that we medical evacuate out of this Canyon. They then go through a list of warnings and restate do not hike to the river and back in one day. They were very clear that this should not be done. This is what we were doing. I again second guessed my physical conditioning. It is funny that they have all these warnings and then glamorize hiking from Rim
to Rim with that stated on t-shirts and other items and these items are for sale at one of the gift shops at a lodge. This is a 22 mile hike with 4,500 ft. descent and accent. The signs in the park says not to do that kind of thing but they will make money off of people doing it. Good ole money. Yippee. I guess they can say they are referring to a rim to rim hike consisting of camping at the bottom one night, but I know everybody thinks of a one day hike when they see the sign. This is the hike I want to do next year if todays hike goes ok.
We continued on stopping for a bathroom break at Cedar Ridge. We were really traveling fast and passed a lot of people. I preferred to lead which seemed better psychologically to me. We made it past Skeleton Point and encountered our first mule caravan on the way down. There are instructions on what to do on signs when encountering the Mule Trains and we did just that hugged the cliff walls. I felt more safe being on the ground rather than on these
horse size mules. Man these are some big guys. Evidently they are really sure footed but I still felt more comfortable on the ground. There also were signs on the trail that gave a list of things that you should be doing like drinking water of course but another was eating a lot. I was not doing that at all as it seems to make things worse for me. I felt good actually and the oatmeal seemed to be hanging in there and I was drinking plenty of water.
After about 3 hours we had made it down to South Kaibab Bridge where you can cross the footbridge and go to Phantom Ranch for a snack. The Colorado River does seem to have lots of current, which is what the tour guide at the Glen Canyon Dam had said. We crossed over and I went down to the touch the river water. The Colorado River, at least this time of year, was very murky. It had rained recently so I suspect that was part of the reason as well. We walked another ¼ mile to get to Phantom Ranch. I purchases some chocolate and an energy drink mixture for
View of Sedona from Airport
This is where people gather to watch sunsets.
my water. I also decided to have the sardines that I brought along, but was concerned about doing such. We left after a half hour and then started the 4,500 ft. accent out of this Canyon. The hike down was 7 miles but the hike up is 9 miles. Brian said this is a better route since it is a more gradual slope. The hike out seemed to be going well and we really didn’t stop anywhere except for a few picture stops until we got to Indian Garden. After Indian Garden we still had about 3 miles left before getting out of the Canyon but this is very steep and Brian even said this is where he gets tired at times. I now know why. I kid him a little about all his electrolyte and scientific formulized food he consumes but there is no doubt about this guy can hike. He is the best hiker that I had ever seen.
On the way up we met a lady hiking by herself that asked for us to take a picture of her. She ended the sentence by saying “A” so I said Canadian but I also noticed another accent
and guessed English as well and was right on both accounts and she also added she grew up in the Philippines. I felt like a real linguistic, but knew that she was easy to peg. We also encountered an Irish guy and his girlfriend from Hungary. They both live in Austria now. I commented how much I like Austria and he mentioned they need to be cheered up. I didn’t notice that especially in meeting Hans, but this guy has been there much longer than I have and has a much better sampling of people. I do suspect if you do not get out and active in the Winter time the trips would be long. We talked to them for a long time as we hiked and his girlfriend coughed a lot which she said was because she just got over a flu. She said historically she has had asthma and I wondered if maybe some of that was the problem as well.
It seemed like the last leg of this hike would never end and a couple times I took off running when I thought the end was close only to find out there was more hiking. I
Janis, ??? and Me
I fell in love with ????. See Janis's shirt it says mom of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Not many people can say that. The dog was almost like a person in it's mannerisms.
was being a little silly which seemed to take my mind off my legs and feet that were tired. I saw a sign that said to elevate your feet every once in awhile for a few minutes to help drain the lactic acid from that region of your body. Brian had mentioned the same thing but I never took the time to do such and I wish I had, as my calves and feet felt swollen. We made it out and headed to a restaurant at the top. I had done the hike they said not to do and now am ready for the Rim to Rim maybe next year. I hope I can develop some interest with other people back home to do this hike. I will definitely condition myself for this hike before coming out there. Part of the reason I am somewhat effective in hiking right now is that I am acclimated to the altitude which is something I have never taken the time to do in the past. At the time of the rim to rim, we will have to go to the Havasupi area as well as I have heard some people say this is
their favorite place in the world and is beautiful with the waterfalls and rock formations.
We went in I had a beer and Brian had lemonade. Brian does not drink much if ever? I felt like a steak as I had not had one of those for many weeks. I felt like I earned. It feels good to accomplish something and we had accomplished something today. Brian had done this before so it was not as big a deal to him, but for me it was a great achievement.
I saw the folks from Austria as they had just made it up and I invited them to the restaurant but they said they had to drive to Antelope Canyon yet. It is funny the Europeans travel very wistfully as well but often told me while I was there I was traveling too fast and could not really get to know a place the way I traveled.
After our meal we headed back to camp. Brian said when camping he pretty much goes to bed at sunset and gets up at sunrise. I was kind of glad, as that gave me more time to get this next trip
planned, which is a priority these days. So that is what I did I worked on the trip planning and called it a night around 10. Definitely had a good day!
Man last day of September already. I must say this trip just goes faster and faster kind of like time as a person ages. I wonder how we can recreate the mentality of a kid. I once read of a reverse life cycle and it seems I have already blogged about it too not sure. But it says you start your life out old and work your way younger. Such that when you’re the youngest you have the most money. I am kind of taking a page out of that story by taking a year of retirement in my 30’s.
We got up and I was hungry for some eggs as I could not handle another day of oatmeal. That is the only breakfast I have had on my travels and I just did not feel like it again today. Fortunately that was fine by Brian as well so we headed to the lodge for breakfast. We were going to have a light day of hiking
today anyway so we pretty much took our time. Today, at least for me, was a day to sit back and not go after the hiking too hard. I had my typical 2 eggs sunny side up, hash browns and wheat toast with jam. That was a breakfast that I really enjoy and it does not way me down. I could hike long distances on that fuel. I forget exactly what Brian had but I know he had two eggs over hard because I had not heard eggs ordered that way before but it did make sense. I use to order eggs over easy but then thought you know lets give the cooks a break and tell them not to even bother flipping them anymore. I always thought maybe I would get a discounted meal since the cooks do not have to work as much but I never have.
After breakfast on the shuttle, we headed to Hopi and Mohave Points for observations and short rim hikes. We then went to Hermits point and decided to call it a weekend around 11ish. We jumped on the shuttle and headed back to our cars and went our separate ways. Brian
is an amazing hiker and I suspect was not in much pain at all after that grueling hike the day before. I on the other hand felt like I had been run over by a heard of buffaloes, followed by a convoy of semis. I felt I had done a pretty good job of hiding that from Brian, but I was sore. I really wasn’t trying to hide anything I just wasn’t complaining too much about it.
I am not sure where the Grand Canyon ranks on this trip with regards to cool nature stuff but it definitely is in the top ten probably top 5 actually. It is after all one of the natural wonders of the world. Is it more impressive than the sequoia trees. They are both amazing. The Grand Canyon might be the number one most amazing thing I have ever seen. Lets not think about rating things right now. I just so badly wanted the giant sequoia trees of northern California to be the most amazing thing but I am not sure now. This Hollor is right there with the Big Dogs. It may be the biggest dog?
From there I headed to
the Navajo National Monument as suggested by Jim Keeton the Rick Steve’s of the American West. It took a couple hours to get there and once I did the visitor’s center was closed. I continued on and went to the Camp Site. I found a spot somewhat in the sun so as to hopefully warm my truck a little before the night put it’s cold grip on everything. I was concerned this might be one of those cold nights when you wake up the glass is all covered with ice. I had two extremely cold nights on this trip one was in Joshua Tree National Park late February of this year and the other was in Bryce Canyon about a week ago. I talked to a guy for awhile that was I believe he aid 70 plus years old and travels the country photographing Ghost Towns. I know it sounds both romantic and creepy. At least for me it does. The stars were absolutely amazing on this night and he pointed out the Milky Way. I do not ever remember seeing it any brighter. I often spend a few minutes looking up at the night sky. It just makes me
Church in the Rock
Sedona's nature is spiritual itself. There are lots of different churches in Sedona.
feel very insignificant at times but yet brings back the wonderment in me as you do when you are a kid. Is someone else out there? How did the night sky get created. Is George Bush watching me right now with a satellite up there as allowed by his spying program?
Every time I gaze into the night sky I always wish I knew more about constellations when I look up there. I took a internet class once at the Junior College near Carlyle but got so busy with work I ended up doing nothing with the class. I got a letter in the mail later saying I was on probation with Kaskaskia College. This seemed a little funny to me. This was the first time in my life I have ever been on academic probation. I should clarify that this was the first time I have been on probation of any kind ! My new boss once said that going to a junior college is like not even going to college. That was one of the reasons I quit was his arrogance, as manifested in statements like that. Some people that make it through a junior
college achieve more than people that go to the best Universities in the world at least in my mind. People are all different having different biochemical makeups, different mental capacities, different sociological influences etc. etc. It is extremely arrogant to judge anybody in this world as we do not know what they may or may not have overcome.
This older guy and I discussed how to stay warm as he was traveling like me in a truck. He said he has a foam mattress that works great. I told him this air mattress is great to sleep on but I have gotten chili on nights where the mercury sinks into the 20’s. He said I need to put some sort of insulation over top the air mattress. He said air is not a good insulator. I mentioned well that is what they use in double pane windows for insulation so it must not be too bad. He was sticking to his guns and I thought well maybe this dynamic is a little different. Maybe I am trying to heat up the air in the mattress with my body, which I can not really do because of the volume. I
thought what the heck I would give it a try. I will throw the wool blanket I have over the mattress and see what happens. We talked about bands for awhile and he said he grew up in California during the hay day of rock bands. He said guys like Jimi Hendrix were giving free concerts back in those days. He said he use to follow music but have not even talked about it for a long time. He seemed to enjoy talking about it on this night. I of course brought up the Boss. I ate supper and did the dishes while he stood there. He said there is a gps now that you can point towards the stars and it will tell you the constellation you are pointing at. Man that sounds cool. That would be a great way to learn the constellations. He headed back to his truck and once he got there I saw he had a light in the back of his camper shell. He had a bike hanging on the front of the truck. He said he likes to bike and the bike allows him to continue on at times when the truck will
A rich Man
He must be a happy man to have a house like that?
no longer make it in search of these ghost towns. I wondered what other contraptions he might have in that truck.
After spending a little time typing I turned in for the night. Jim said I must see some Indian ruins and this is the location he recommended. Tomorrow I was going to head to the visitors center bright and early and try to participate in a guided tour. Good night from the Navajo National Monument in northeastern Arizona. I really sympathize for Native Americans but I do not blame myself as I had nothing to do with it. Those were different times and different ways to live back then. Who am I to judge. I think a man I use to work with however would say well if your Native American then you are not really even a human being your more animal like. Yea junior colleges are not even like going college. Whatever as my youngest sister use to say and it would always frustrate me. Whatever!
I slept good last night, but felt rushed when I got up a little after 7 as I wanted to be at the Visitor’s Center by 8
to get signed up for the tour. The older gentleman that I spoke with the previous night swung by and we talked as I tried to get the oatmeal cooked, eaten and dishes cleaned. I did not stop what I was doing as I talked to him. You can always tell who is traveling by their self as they are always wanting to talk. I do the same thing. Around 8 he headed back to camp and I was within a few minutes of being ready to go as well. I made it to the visitors center and there was not much action as it doesn’t open until 9 so I walked around a bit and then jumped into my truck and journaled. There’s always something to do.
As I sat there a few workers showed up and they were all Native American which made sense to me. I asked a worker if it was going to rain and he indicated probably but his English or comprehension of what I asked was not too good. There was another worker who showed up and I didn’t bother to ask him a question about the tour as I assumed his English
Pink Jeep Tours
You can take a tour in these jeeps into the nearby Red Rock. Sounded cool but I did not do it.
was not good either. Around 9 there was a young lady who showed up. She got out of her car and was scrambling around and ran to the door. I guess she was running a little late. I walked in the door a little after 9 when the place opened and signed up for the tour. I was the only one signed up and the tour started at 10:00. I could have slept in. There were a couple people that came in probably in there 50’s that started drilling the lady with all these questions about how long the tour took, can we hurry the tour etc. etc. She said you can leave the tour whenever you want and on the hike out you can go at your own pace. I was having a hard time telling if they were American or German with good English. I was confused as their English was good, but at times I thought I heard an accent.
I asked the lady if I could watch the tape about the Native American people which she went ahead and put in for me. The tape was pretty good and I am positive during the movie
I quickely fell in love with this place.
I heard that the Navajo’s became powerful and fought often with the Pueblo’s to expand their territories. I thought the white man did the same thing. Became powerful and expanded their empire. I do not think empires will get bigger these days at least not by war like they use to. This place however was not about the Navajo. It was about the Anasazi people who were the first to settle in the region at least the first to leave ruins. There may have been Native Americans before them not sure. They settled in the 1300’s and were only there for about 70 years before they left for some unknown reason.
After the movie I left to get hiking boots on and came back right when things were getting organized. The young lady that I saw earlier was giving the tour and she was waiting for another person to arrive. You could tell this place was disorganized. Finally without the other person ever showing up she said we are going to get going and that we would drive part of the way. She asked if everyone had 4 wheel drive trucks as the road is not that great. Some
The Grand Canyon Show
Quite the performance this night.
people did not so the people divided up accordingly. A guy from Seattle who writes books jumped in with me he was probably in his 50’s but is the type that is hard to really tell as he was a little out of shape. He wrote a book about Ireland but he said it never caught on. I suspect that is true for about 80% of the books ever written but I do not know. I am not even sure how many times the book was read if it does not catch on. Does that mean it is read by less than 100 people not including family members? Not sure?
When we arrived at a gate, the guide ask if we wanted to walk from here or drive farther. Everybody except the German or American couple of course wanted to walk. These people were going to get old for me. The guide was a young lady and not the assertive type and for some odd reason I just pretty much kept my mouth shut in the matter and finally the guide said ok we will walk from here. We started out and the guide and the hurried guy, walked
Warning Sign Number 1
This the trail we took down into the Canyon
ahead and then it was me and the hurried lady and the rest of the group followed. I asked the lady where she was from and she said San Francisco. I told her for some weird reason I thought you two might be German. She said well I lived in Germany for 15 years and he is German. We are just friends. Now it all made sense why I was always confused about if these two were German or American?
We stopped a couple times and the guide would tell us about certain things. She said there are mountain loins in the area and she said they like to get sit in trees but are mainly nocturnal. I ask her if she ever seen one and she said yes and went onto ask the inevitable question at what time of day was it and she said during the day. I was not trying to embarrass her, but suspected if was during the day. She said it just ran away. Our tour guide seemed like a nice young lady. The lady from San Francisco was always asking questions and her tone and how she asked the question always seemed to
Warning Sign No. 2
Just a little ways down into the Canyon you run across this warning sign which says not to hike down to the Colorado River and back out in one day. Of course that is what we were doing.
be a little whiney. She is an attractive lady and I suspect all through life she could get away with that as if you are attractive at least for guys they are going to treat you the same in your personal and business life. If you happen to marry that person however, mainly for looks that most likely will not work out. Looks might be where you start in a relationship but you definitely should not end there. You learn those kind of things as you age. We pressed on and the lady said this is why the tour takes 5 hours as the people were getting strung out. I was tempted to tell her that this is the way groups work you always get different abilities in any group but I didn’t. I did start talking to the couple behind me and I should have already guessed it by the ladies nose but I asked them where they were from. They said Italy. Well you can guess who I spent the rest of the trip talking to. I told them everything I loved about Italy. I didn’t once make fun of Italy, but I was concerned I might have
insulted them a little talking about their country’s emotional people. They should know that already so I probably had not offended them. They were on their honeymoon. I loved that an adventure honeymoon. Sounds perfect to me!
As we got to the actual relics location we came upon a fence that was locked. The guide said there are some burial grounds in the area, but I think some of the burial grounds is outside the fence but hard to stumble upon. We went to use the restroom which was a compost toilet. After using the toilet you shoveled in a small amount of wood chips with a small spoon resulting in less than a cup of wood chips being dumped in. I had to really go so I heaped the wood chips onto the small shovel. This was one of the cleanest and best smelling toilets I have ever used and you have to hike 1.5 miles to get to it. After some of us used the restroom and talked a little the German guy made a comment about no wonder this trip takes so long. I didn’t even comment. We walked to the ruins and they were quite
Warning Sign Number 3
A sign telling us not to do what we were doing. Again I wondered if maybe I was in over my head?
impressive. Essentially the structures you saw were big enough for the people to lay inside and sleep. Nothing like the houses we have. Often to keep warm they built fires inside the houses to heat up the rocks and then put the fire out and went to bed. Some of the time though they were in this small spaces with the fire burning so the occupants would breathe in smoke. This lead to lots of health problems and the people only lived about 33 years. Wow I thought as I stood there and looked at the site feeling pretty healthy at age 38. If I were an Anastazia Indian and waited as long as I had I probably would have not gotten the opportunity to even take this trip. A few other small logistical problems would have been present as well . It was starting to rain but this area where the ruins are was protected from the rain as it sat in an indentation in the rock. We got to walk around the site somewhat, but obviously could not traipse everywhere. The guide pointed out a spring but emphasized it was not potable water but is very clean. She
said she drinks out of it but for liability reasons have to tell us not to. I was tempted to drink but I didn’t. We looked at some petroglyphs, but as usual I was not impressed by them. I think sometimes too much significance is put into these things. I suspect as I have stated before some of this is just rebellious teenagers writing on the walls.
The rain started coming down harder and it was time for us to head out. I had a jacket but no raincoat so I was getting pretty wet. On the way out I was tickled to see that the German guy and San Francisco lady were way behind. They were in such a hurry to get to the site and complaining the whole time and now that it was time to leave they were slowing theirself down as it was hike out on your own even though most people were staying in a small group. The rain picked up more and I was in the lead with two people from Boston. I enjoyed talking to them and the guy said he world right outside of Fenway near Beerworks a Microbrewery that I
like there. We could barely see the rest of the group when we met a truck that was going to pick up the rest of the group. The truck came back with everybody including the German and Frisker. We were almost back so we just finished the hike and did get in the truck, as offered, as it would have been a wet ride in the back of that truck and we about back anyway.
We got in our respective rides. The guy I brought rode back with me again and I dropped him off at the Visitors Center. He thanked me and we went on our separate ways never to be seen again I suspect. I was on my way to Monument Valley and pretty excited to be doing that. Jim Keeton had said lots of Westerns had been filmed there. It is always cool to see places that you have or will be seeing in movies. For some reason it makes me feel special or maybe I should say it makes the movies more enjoyable to me. I think everybody that has insight into something makes that person feel special. I at times am concerned I talk
to much about this trip. Sometimes things come up that I have direct insight into from these travels and I do shut my mouth. If you know me you know that takes great restraint as I am a talker.
The rain was coming down hard at times as I drove northward towards Kayenta. I stopped and grabbed some fast food in Kayenta. I decided to just spend the night there if I could find a reasonably priced motel and I thought the chances of doing such were good as this place is in the middle of nowhere. I saw Mariott along the highway which I knew would be expensive. There was a Best Western in town so I decided to head in that direction. I drove a long ways before coming to the Best Western. I walked towards the entrance thinking how it was going to be nice staying in a motel as I had not done that this entire trip. I was horrified though to see the handwritten note stating they were already full for the night. Damn. I went in anyway and ask them what is the price and it was like $80 a night. I could
not believe it. I asked them about other lodging and they said the lodging out by the highway is indeed even more. I decided to continue on in the rain towards Monument Valley to see what I stumble upon. Unfortunately, nothing except some really cool rock formations. I took a few pictures from my moving truck wondering how I have made it this entire trip without crashing this truck. It was a little dangerous taking pictures like this. I convinced myself just to be more conscious of the road than the picture taking and I would be fine. I found a campsite but decided to just keep on trucking.
I made it to Monument Valley and was indeed impressed by the rocks and they did indeed look familiar. I think I have seen them in John Wayne movies before at least on the covers of the movies. As I drove to the entrance I saw the ticket booth off the right side of the road. This park was ran by the Navajo Indians and was not ran very well it appeared at first glance. I rolled down my passenger window and paid the lady the entrance fee. I ask
her why she had her booth on that side of the road? She said she is not comfortable having the booth n the middle of road, which is the case for almost all the US National Parks. I thought they could just put up some bollards and it would be much more convenient for the driver to reach her. I had to put my truck in park and roll down the passenger window and hand he money across passenger seat and out the window. Anyway I headed into the monument and went to the museum.
The visitor center was just ok. The exhibits appeared pretty make shift although I did learn a lot. I learned that Navajo translators played and integral part in transmitting messages in WWII. The enemy was not familiar with the Navajo language and therefore could not decipher messages. It seemed cool to me. They showed movies where this area was used as a backdrop and there were about 5 John Wayne Movies. This excited me most about this place. I also learned that a these huge rock formations were called Buttes. There were three categories of these rocks a plateau, mesa and butte listed in
Brian and I
Brian is an amazing hiker. I had to almost run to stay with him at times. Thanks for your guide service Brian as with out him this hike would not have been possible. He has hiked here many times.
decreasing order of size. I do not have internet access to look up the differences and wording as I think I may have it a little messed up. Everything was extremely expensive in the gift shop. I was not looking to buy anything so it didn’t much matter to me anyway. I decided to drive amongst the butte formations. The drive around these formations was described as taking about 45 minutes. I really didn’t want to take that long. It was sprinkling rain as I drove around and the roads were pretty wet but not that muddy. I saw the Three Sisters, which were three rocks side by side that were pretty cool. This is a great place for some good photographs but on this day the weather was not close to ideal. It was a horrible day to be here but what are you going to do. I kept opening and closing the shutter and driving. The drive took me about 30 minutes and it was impressive. There were a few people living very near the rocks. Man it is night and day difference between a Native American Park and a US National Park. If it had not been
raining I probably would have taken a horse ride as there were horse tours. With the rain however this really was not an option. As I got back to the visitor center I saw a car stuck in the road. I figured they were just bad drivers and jokingly assumed it must be a woman driver. I was getting ready t get out and push but they finally got it going. It appeared to be a man driving too. The Navajo’s take tours out amongst the buttes with jeep like vehicles that some are covered and some are not. This place kind of reminded me of Mexico in how it is operated. One of the jeeps just drove by this car that was stuck. I thought they would have stopped but they didn’t. I stopped and tried to get a picture of my truck with these amazing rocks in the background. Because of the weather however I figured the pictures would not turn out well. On the way out a lot of the people were confused how to exit the place as they had shut the gate to the visitor center as it was after 5 when they closed. I
There are two walking bridges across it down here.
saw the exit and continued out. This place is cool and worth taking a look at but 4 hours is all the time you really need. There is some hiking, but you can pretty much see the same stuff from your vehicle.
As I got back on the road I saw some other cool buttes from the highway. The sun even started coming out at times and I was hoping for a rainbow picture but never did see any. I again dangerously took a few pictures as I drove. I saw a sign that said something about a balancing rock are something like that and saw to my right the rock but couldn’t get a good picture from my vehicle that was traveling at 60 mph. I came to the town of Mexican Hat and found some camping and motel lodging. I thought now this place has to be cheap as this is nowhere, USA. Again the prices were in the $70 region. Unbelievable. This is just a busy time of year I think. I stopped at the gas station and filled her up. The gas station attendants said yes lodging is expensive around here and told me maybe
near Monticello I might find cheaper lodging. I continued on and toyed around with the idea of driving to Four Corners but everyone says it is kind of silly so I decided against it. In Bluffs I saw a private camp ground area that advertised as having wifi. Man this seemed to good to be true so I stopped in and I ask them how much to park my truck and they said $12 and they had showers too. Wow this was an awesome price so I decided to spend the night there. They gave me directions to a restaurant just up the road which I went to for supper. It was called Twin Rocks as it had two huge rocks just above the restaurant that were amazing. I really liked this place and enjoyed the meal more because of the location and the beer. They had a red amber beer that is brewed in Provo that was yummy. I headed back to my campsite and typed for awhile and used the internet. The internet connection was not too good but I did manage to get some use out of it after trying several different parking spots and asking the
owners to reset it. I as really pleased with the value of this place. The private campgrounds have really been good camping spots. I had no idea that they could be this cheap and good. It was starting to rain so I hurriedly got everything set up for sleeping just in time before the rain came in buckets. It was windy. I was not sure I was going to sleep very good this night. As I typed a little earlier too there was a guy out of nowhere that had walked by me. Not sure why but it seemed a little weird to me.
Good night from Bluff, Utah.
There are more photos below