Usually at this time of the year things have slowed way down and I get to catch up on all sorts of things that don't get done during the season. This year I've had some personal projects that I wanted to work on during the winter too. But as usual things have been more hectic than planned. We had a great trip to Sundance, came home and had visitors, hiked in Sedona, did a trip to the Grand Canyon and now it's today already.
The Grand Canyon was pretty, well.......grand. It was way better than expected. I've been there before and peered over the edge and thought wow, now that's a big hole. But this time it was different, somehow the scale and beauty of it really hit me. I visited the famous Kolb Brothers studio and saw the photos they had painstakingly gotten of the canyon so many years ago. I also got to go there with my neighbor and friend, Doug. He goes up every year and hikes the canyon on, or as close as he can get, to his birthday. This year he hiked from the north rim to the south rim all in one day. He left the north rim at 3:30am and hiked straight through until I met him on the south rim about 11 hours later. I'm not sure if he wants me to advertise his age but I hope I can do half of what he does when I am 73, or geez even now for that matter.
I did actually hike down a ways on the Bright Angel Trail and it was spectacular. The trail is steep, rocky in places and rutted from tourists and mules. On my way down I was lucky enough to spot a family of big horn sheep. What a site they were perched there on the edge of that rocky precipice. Mom was there and one of her babies with a couple other adults further out on the ledge. I stayed for a while and then moved on down the trail all while strategically avoiding the gasping tourists and mule poo. It kind of reminded me of this Tour de France stage finish back in '04.........
The night before I had a little time to get out under a full moon to take some photos. I don't do that very often but it was good fun. It was great to be out there at places that I had been at a few hours earlier and was elbow to elbow with tourists. They had no idea what they were missing. I was going along and feeling pretty proud of myself for braving the cold breeze late that night when I could have been back in the hotel room snuggled up with a movie. That was just about when I started hearing things. A little earlier I had left the car and saw a sign warning against mountain lions and it was messing with my head. I knew that if a mountain lion was there I wouldn't hear it anyway so their weren't any there, right? After balancing myself on the edge of ledge over the black pit of a canyon below and hearing more rustling in the bushes I decided I had enough and packed it in for the night.
I'm not sure what made my trip to the Grand Canyon so good. I think part of it was that I had taken the Grand Canyon for granted and now I saw it in a different light. And I think part of it was going with Doug and seeing his joy at accomplishing his goal. But either way I'll be anxious for another trip up there soon, rustling bushes or not!