(Events of Friday April 10th blogged Tuesday April 14th) Another super chilly morning up on the South Rim. It’s really hard to drag one’s self out of… van when you’re all cuddled up with a snoring bundle of furry warmth. In fact, I would likely sleep the day away if the snoring bundle didn’t quickly stop snoozing and start grumbling to empty her bladder and fill her belly.
I did, however, take a few minutes to get the van organized so I could show off my sleeping and eating compartments for the curious.That drawer on the bottom right is my “refrigerator”.
After waiting in line behind a pack of giggly teenage girls at the $2 shower (which allegedly lasts eight minutes, but seemed much longer), Annie and I decided to hike a four mile section of the rim trail which involved turning right at the main observation point, when most of the tourists were turning left. We quickly left the bulk of them behind, but Annie still found a few admirers.
In fact, at one point we were waiting behind an Asian family to use the facilities, and the small boy and girl took quite an interest, asking loads of questions about Annie and petting her and complimenting her. They seemed so taken with her, that I asked the little girl if she would like to hold the leash while I went in the loo. Up until this point, Annie had been calm, cool, and collected. The moment I stepped two feet away, she lurched toward me BARKING up a storm and nearly pulling the girl off her feet. I offered to take the leash back, but the mom stepped in to hold it. Annie then proceeded to BARKBARK like the world was on fire the entire 3 minutes I was out of her vision, despite seeing exactly where I went and receiving plenty of reassurances. She can’t let me out of her sight, but she’s more than willing to tiptoe up to the very edge of danger when she’s exploring.
Of course, most of the time she’d rather have her snout snuffling down a much smaller hole.
We hiked all the way to one of the main trailheads for folks who actually have the lung power to hike DOWN into the canyon (and more importantly, back UP). As per usual, loads of folks who seemed far less fit than I,, and frequently in inappropriate clothing and footwear, chugged up and down with no problem. At one point I started to take Annie down just a tiny bit of the trail (which she wasn’t technically allowed on), when we saw mules coming back up! Discretion seemed to prove the better part of valor, and we beat a hasty retreat.
And that wasn’t the only animal meandering about. We also encountered a small herd of elk on our hike. (Trying to keep Annie from noticing while simultaneously trying to snap a photo was a feat in itself.)
After all that excitement, one of us was so tuckered out she fell asleep on her water bowl.
I was fairly worn out as well, but decided to take advantage of her snooze to ride the free shuttle to points of interest to the westward side of the park that weren’t accessible via car. Every time you hop on and off the shuttle to view different overlooks, you get a different driver when you get back on. And they were a mixed bag for sure. Some were fonts of fascinating information about what lie ahead at the next stop, and some just played their pre-recorded tapes about proper exit etiquette. Lacking info from the drivers, these “cell phone guides” would have been a great help. Provided there was working cell service at any point on the rim. Ah well.
Same canyon, different day. You can tell because I’m in a different shirt. Also it was warm and sunny and lovely. I only remember this because I’m wearing my short sleeved Bluebird Cafe T I got in Nashville.
I did see a California Condor perched on a rock which I thought was super cool until I learned later this was most likely because he had a broken wing or some other malady.
These two were doing synchronized selfie stick shots. They were embarrassed when they caught me watching until I explained I was a proud member of the club as well.
This is just a cool pic of one of the trails going down into the canyon. It’s just so freaking vast!
I had planned to travel all the way to Hermit’s Rest at the end of the line, but I was rapidly growing cold, tired, and worried about leaving Annie alone for so long. What I had anticipated to be a ninety minute jaunt was turning in to closer to three hours. Even though I knew she was safe in Marigold, and she had water and pillows, and it wasn’t near warm enough to be concerned about overheating, I was nearly frantic by the time I got back to the parking lot. I don’t know if it was having my ability to get back to her basically out of my hands, or the fact that I was at the point of exhaustion, but I was convinced I was going to find her in a terrible state. Of course, she was contentedly snoozing away.
I was running on fumes, so we swung by the Grand Canyon grocery for some grub and were soon back at our campsite, nestled in our bed, awaiting another freezing night ahead.