Friday, December 30, 2016

an afternoon at the grand canyon

Today was our last full day in Arizona and we decided to head over to the Grand Canyon - it's only about two hours from Sedona.

A sign at the top of the Bright Angel Trail advised the use of crampons. Hmmm. We hadn't thought to bring our YakTrax (rubbery devices that fit over your shoes, strung with wound wire, that provide grip on icy surfaces) so we decided to proceed with caution and see how it went.

This is the ONE sun-exposed bit of trail we encountered.

The rest was more like this:

Not bad, but not great either. 

Looking up toward the rim.

You can see the pale line of the trail, far out on a plateau (just to the left of the tree in the foreground) that is still quite a ways above the river.

I did that hike once, a long time ago... in 1999. It was in April, and the cactus was in bloom.

Kev and I turned around pretty early - the trail was in deep shade, and it got to a point where it was going to be getting icy and steep. 

So we headed back up and contented ourselves with walking the south rim trail as far as the main visitor center, a couple of miles east. Along with seemingly half the rest of humanity.

I remember my first imaginings of the Grand Canyon: a single, deep, long, trench. The reality, of course, is that it's really the Grand Canyons and there is no easy way to wrap your mind around it.

It's our last night here, and we've got to pack up our gear for the drive to Las Vegas for our flight home tomorrow evening. I believe southern Vermont got buried under a foot or two of snow today. Fortunately, we parked in the fancypants lot at Bradley airport where they clean off your car and fetch it for you, so you don't have to go digging it out from under a snowdrift. Worth it, in winter.

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