Saturday, October 29, 2011

Albuquerque for Awhile

We left North Rim on Sunday 10/23 and after a night in Holbrook AZ we arrived in Albuquerque on Monday. We have been busy working on the 5er and getting ready to head to Organ Pipe. We are supposed to be in ORPI by 11/13. Amy has a break in her cosmetology classes so she came up from Las Cruces to spend a few days with us. It's great to see her and interesting having three in the RV.
It's good to see friends and family and be in Albuquerque. A not so good thing is I went to a Lobo football game today and the worst team in D1 lost to Air Force 42-0. At least the Frontier cinnamon rolls and Lota Burger breakfast burritos were as good as ever. I had a good time tailgating this morning with some old friends.
A very sad note is Mark Taylor passed away this week. Mark, his brother Clay and I went on our first golf trip to Myrtle Beach in 1986. Mark was a golf buddy and good friend. Sherri and I will be going to the Memorial Service on Monday morning. Our condolences go out to his wife Kay and the family.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

End of Season

This week has been filled with lot's of goodbyes and closing down the Gift Shop. Most of the services at the North Rim closed on October 16 for the winter. We will be heading to Albuquerque tomorrow and arriving on Monday. Out of the 230 employees there are 25 of us still here. Living and working so closely with people for five months makes it hard to say goodbye. Most of the people we became friends with we will probably never see again...I guess that is seasonal work.
On the flip side it is very cool being up here with almost nobody else in the park. I took a couple of parting shots in the "grassy knoll" and from the veranda.

It's so quiet around the RV park that the deer are foraging in areas that have been too populated up until this week. They are wary of us but let us get pretty close.
We will miss the North Rim and we are looking forward to coming back next year. We are also looking forward to spending a couple of weeks in Albuquerque with friends and family, before we head off to a new adventure in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Well we did it, went rim-to-rim Monday and Tuesday. We got up at 4:30a on Monday and we were on the trail by 6:30 in 25deg. temps. As we hiked into the canyon it quickly warmed up. The above picture shows the sun coming up behind us on the North Rim. A friend and co-worker from the gift shop, Anthony, hiked down with us to Cottonwood Campground, he turned around and hiked up from there. At the eight mile mark we took a short detour to a beautiful spot, Ribbon Falls.

Just after Ribbon Falls North Kaibab Trail enters a section called the box. It is a beautiful stretch where the trail winds along Bright Angel Creek through narrow cliffs.
We reached Phantom Ranch by 2:30p and stopped for a cool beverage in the Cantina. It was 80deg when we reached Phantom. We had hiked 14 miles down from 8,250' to 2,400'. We then set up our campsite in Bright Angel Campground.
We were up at 4:00a and anxious to hit the trail. By 6:00 we were off and crossing the Colorado River before sunrise.
The hike from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim is 9 miles and the elevation gain is 4,600'. The first half is a geourgeous hike again along Bright Angel Creek.

At the half-way point is Indian Gardens a nice place for camping or taking a shady break from the heat. The rest of the hike is straight up and is open.
The next stop is the three mile rest area and we are going UP! This photo is from just above the rest stop, Indian Gardens is the trees in the distance, on the flat.
It's a great feeling to get close to the rim, but it is a lot of work to make it to the top. Here is Sherri making her final push.
From this photo you can see the Roaring Springs Canyon which we came down on the north side and where the trail comes up on the south side.
Here is a neat shot of the last section below the rim of the Bright Angel Trail.
We were on the South Rim by 12:30, so in two days we hiked 23 miles in a total of 13 hours, not too bad for a couple of old farts. After finding our hotel room and cleaning up we celebrated with a nice dinner at the Arizona Room, right on the rim.
The next day we played tourists on the South Rim. Sherri paused to reflect on our hike across the Grand Canyon.
We had a great three days and we are proud of accomplishing our goal of hiking rim-to-rim. We took several great hikes this summer and this was the culmination of our hard work. Wednesday afternoon we took the Trans Canyon shuttle back to the North Rim. Here we are hanging out in front of the Bright Angel Lodge waiting to board the shuttle.
It was back to work Thursday for the final push. Almost all of the facilities close on Sunday the 16th and we will be wrapping up and taking inventory in the gift shop through the 20th. Sherri has been asked to work through Saturday the 22nd, doing a final payroll. We plan to pack up on Sunday and leave on Monday the 24th and be in Albuquerque Tuesday.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


The weather quickly went from summer to winter this week. Thursday and Friday we had snow and low temps in the mid 20's. We had to disconnect the water and the heater has been busy. Here is a picture of the light snow in the forest.
Sherri and I are excited about our Rim-to-Rim trek on Monday-Tuesday. I wanted to get a warm up hike in Friday afternoon, but at noon it was blowing, snowy and cold. Sherri said no way to a hike, so I had a lot of convincing to do. We left at 1:30 for a short hike down the North Kaibab Trail. Fortunately for me, the weather changed and we were taking off layers as we hiked into the canyon. Photos from yesterday's hike.

Snow is visible on the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff. Next weeks blog post should have lots of photos from our rim-to-rim hike. Saturday 10/15 is the final night that the rooms are open, so it will be very quite by Sunday afternoon...moving on soon.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Widforss Again

We got our back country permit, Yea!! On October 10th we will hike down 14 miles to Bright Angel Campground, near Phantom Ranch, and spend the night. The next day we will hike out to the South Rim, which is 8 miles up, and spend the night in a room on the South Rim. On Wednesday we will take the Trans Canyon Shuttle back to the North Rim. We are excited and apprehensive about hiking rim-to-rim. If you get tired or hurt they don't send someone to pick you up.
On Friday we went on a fast 10 mile warmup on a beautiful trail we hiked earlier in the year, the Widforss Trail. We did the ten miles in less than four hours, which is good for us. The day was perfect, overcast and cool. The overcast doesn't make for the best pictures, plus there was a fire on the South Rim adding smoke to the overcast. I'll post a few pictures anyway:

The summer rains lead to tall grasses. Taller than Sherri.
The Aspens are too beautiful to not post at least one picture. So here is the Aspen picture of the week:
Since I am working tonight we went to the Lodge last night to celebrate our 28th Wedding Anniversary. It's the first time since the free employee night at the beginning of the season that we have dined at the Lodge. We had a very nice dinner and Sherri got a gift from the Gift Shop, a gorgeous ring. 
Looking forward to seeing those of you in ABQ soon!!