Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grand Canyon - Day Two

August 16th, 2010 – Day two at the Grand Canyon.

Today there was no reason to wake up. We had nowhere to be, nothing to do, a whole morning to sleep in and relax. It is for this reason, of course, that Katherine and I both woke up at eight in the morning, unable to go back to sleep. While you may think you want to sleep, after setting your cycles to such a degree that the body thinks such a thing impossible, well – there's not going to be all that much luck.

We stayed in the tent, Katherine reading more of Timeline, as we kept plugging away at that book. Not Chretien at his best, but he's not at his worst either. It's fun, and pulpy. That's what you need when you're on the road – some good filler.

When we decided that no more of the day could be wasted with inactivity, we gathered all of our dirty clothing and made our way to the camp's laundry room. For only a couple of bucks, we managed to get our well worth shirts, pants, and underthings their springtime fresh. Personally, I could have stretched what I had for two more weeks, but hey – why turn up ones nose at clean clothes? It just might be that I'll be able to wear a different shirt each day now. What a treat. I don't think I've been able to do that since Beijing – though I'm not entirely sure I took advantage of that at the time.

While the laundry was swishing its way around I played some ukulele – this time, rather than just fumbling my way through San Dimas High School Football Rocks, I started to write my own song. In the hour or so it took to bring clothes from, “please burn these,” to, “I guess I could wear them again,” I had the chords worked out and some lyrics. I like two lines from the whole song, but it's complete. It's the first song I've written in ages, and for that reason alone it was worth the effort. Plus – two lines I like is better than the whole thing just being blah.

My clothes were all dry, but Kath's cotton collection of shirts were still pretty wet. Hanging them on the tent, we left them in the sun and made our way to the canyon's edge once more.

Fresh from sleep, and no longer in the funk of having just experienced a transition day, I decided to look out into the vast expanse with new eyes. Maybe it was this great magical thing that I just did not experience the day before. Peering into the canyon today I felt a sense of -

Nope, it's the same. Just some rocks. Impressive rocks, but just rocks.

It wasn't just a feeling of blah from the day before, I just am not all that impressed with the Grand Canyon. It will be a good thing to say I've seen, and it was interesting, it just shouldn't be on anyone's must see list in my opinion. It was pretty – just not a change your life thing. It's no Victoria Falls, from the Zimbabwe side. And we'll leave it at that. (It could be equal to Vic Falls from the Zambia side, though.)

As if sensing my disapproval, the sky became dark. Not so dark as for us to fear anything – we grabbed some quick lunch at the cafe, but when we were there – then the sky opened up and it started to pour. This would be all fine and well if not for Katherine's drying clothes.

Coming back to the tent, she was not impressed. Especially since the water had kicked up some mud on one of her white tops. I, on the other hand, was more concerned with the water pooling inside the tent. The seam sealer worked – but we had a small hole, and like most holes it let in water. I did my best to glue it shut (my kingdom for some duct tape) but failed. Just as I was putting the tarp up over and pulling it tight, I was told the rain had stopped.

How could that be? I was still getting wet. I was still being rained on. Feeling the water pour from the trees overhanging, I may have been the last person in the area to feel the rain – and of course once the tent was ready to meet the flood head on, the sky turned blue and all chance of precipitation dried up. Of course it did.

With the sky clear, we headed out to the shuttle bus stop. The bus takes visitors to all the areas of the park, from a number of trailheads to all the big viewing stations. There would be no hiking into the canyon for us. I have had it with hard hikes, and the idea of trying to walk up after walking down – it just didn't seem like fun. I will admit, though, that hiking down over two days and seeing the canyon from below probably would make for an unforgettable amazing experience. Maybe that's how to best 'do' The Canyon.

We spent a few hours hiking the rim, and riding from one stop to the next, snapping photos, and being less that impressed with the murky brown sludge that is called the Colorado river.

While the walk may not have shown anything all that spectacular, when we got back to our initial stop, and made our way to the rim to watch the sun set once more, I was rewarded in a way I could only hope to experience once more. The sunsets here really are spectacular.

Not as timid as before, Katherine made her way to the edge. She even allowed her feet to dangle over for a moment or two. Together we watched the sun set, as the sky turned to burning orange. While day transitioned into night I softly played the Uke (no doubt ruining a moment for those who wanted peace and quiet) while a girl behind us sketched away in pastels.

This moment, the sun setting, makes this a place worth visiting. Whatever I might say about being less than thrilled – I take it all back during these ten to twenty minutes of perfection.

I am told the sun rise is even better – but waking up at four thirty to get to a good viewing area by five? That just will not be in the cards.

Once darkness had fallen we made our way to the grocery store – the fully stocked grocery store, better than most we had come across in the small towns we've made our way through – and bought some dinner. Pasta salad, flat bread, and dip. It was like a dinner from the early European months of my travels. And to top it all off? A quart of ice cream. It's not that we wanted that much – but it was the only size the flavour came in. And it was limited edition. Limited. Edition! We had to act now!

The flavour? Root beer. Not as good as the Popsicles, but pretty tasty. I do love me some root beer. And while it may have made us sick, it was worth every bite.

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