|Please allow me to whine just a little. We have been overcome by the desert consumption. The dust and wind of Death Valley, very low humidity, smog of Las Vegas, and the greening effects of plants post monsoon season have sent us into a week of progressive allergy type symtoms to infections. We tried to perservere so as not to loose sightseeing opportunities. Late afternoon we just gave up, curled up in our chairs, finally going off to bed at 10:00. Wow! That was a long time to be still.
By now you are growing accustomed to my saying,"this is the second typing". Well, I just love windows vista; despite saving one's work just magically disappears.
When in the GCNP before we did not appreciate its beauty and grandeur. This time we can say we have enjoyed our stay. The only regrets we have are not being able to go on the mule ride to the canyon floor and the train trip to Williams. Breathing on excersion became a problem for me, especially. I didn't go to the clinic as I was afraid they wouldn't let me be in charge. Ha! Breathing saline water over the stove was helpful.
The trail system is of two catergories-easy or strenuous. It is an immediate 300 foot drop off the canyon wall leaving a descent of 4,700 feet to the floor. Combine that with 5.5 increase in the temperature every thousand feet makes it a rugged trip even on mule back. The park does a marvelous job of educating the public re clothing, water, salt, exertion, and even how to recognize certain medical conditions as part of preventive medicine. Despite all that, you would be surprised what you see some people doing.
The cultural ratio at the park is guestimated at 60:40. The larger number being non American. Cultural differences can hit you in the face. I reserve judgement being unfamiliar with the reasoning behind their actions and not understanding their specific language.
I felt the rim trail(easy) was for wimps; however, we got a good workout on it under the circumstances. We hiked from Bright Angel trailhead to Pipe Creek Vista-a good 5 mile plus walk. Each time you look out there is something even more appealing to see. Binoculars are a must. Even via the binoculars people, mules , rafters look miniscule!
Yesterday we opted to take it easy by starting off with breakfast at the Bright Angel Lodge. Anybody ever experienced a young teen girl or boy? We observed the orginazition of a day hike down. Did you know cell phones and make-up are not considered necessary items-they were replaced by bottles of water(each person is recommended to carry two quarts for a day hike). The boys on the other hand are sure they are invincible. Too bad we weren't around for their return!
Anyway, off we went on a 25 mile scenic drive-Desert View. There are portions of the canyon not seen from the canyon village. Magnificent!! coupled with ruins, archeological dig sites, and a ranger led program. The drive is completed by ascending five flights of steps into the Desert Tower. You'll see the interior of this on some of the pictures.
We attended a ranger led evening program on mountain lions complete with power point presentation(from the field), antimated vocal presentation, and hands on exhibits. Thank you Rangers Lori and Erin.
Our bird friends(large black raven like birds) have pecked slits(over an inch) into the sewer hose. The fun never ends! While I'm speaking of wildlife, we saw,again, elk and mule deer. The California condor has been reintroduced to the park; however, we didn't recognize any. Also, the fall hawk migration was in progress. Representatives of the international society were gathering data. This was taking place along the Desert Drive canyon walls.
It is hard not to share every ounce of information we have gleened. We only wish you could see the sites via our eyes. The park has established an eco friendly transit system to eliminate emissions. We took advantage; this decreases one's own frustration with parking, etc and saves our current "sickly" breath.
Uploading is time consumming and frustrating; however, I may add pictures tonight. Stay tuned.