Tuesday, November 06, 2007

We bid farewell to the Canyon

OK, so The Shepherd is USED to gettting up early - he gets up at "O-dark-30" every morning to feed the sheepies. Every morning during our vacation, he'd get up, go eat breakfast (did I mention that the Hampton Inn's had GREAT breakfasts?) then he would take a walk - by the time he got back to the room, I'd be up and showered and ready to go have a bite, and he would go have the 2nd course of his breakfast with me, and we'd get on with our day.

This was the view of the canyon from our room. I figured I could watch the sun come up, and snuggle back into my nice warm bed and get a few extra Z's - worked for me...

This is the same view, but outside on the lawn. We were in the Thunderbird Lodge - like I said, not fancy, but clean and the bed was comfy - and you just couldn't beat the view.

On John's early morning travels, he found the mule pen with all the dudes and dudettes getting ready to ride down the canyon on their new found buddies.

Off they go down the Bright Angel Trail

And if you click on this picture to biggify it, you can see the trail as it winds along that plateau in the center then drops over the edge down to the river.

We have been trying to get to the Grand Canyon for about 15 years -ever since we got together. A couple of times we almost made it, but it snowed (in April of all times) - the last time was in 2005 when we went to California to see the Redwoods. The gasoline situation looked like it might be kind of iffy, so we canceled the Arizona leg of our trip.

The Shepherd's dad actually helped put the railroad into Arizona when he was a young man - (many, many years before the Shepherd was born) - but the family moved to AZ when The Shepherd was 11 or 12 and they used to visit the Grand Canyon every year. That was before the time of the BIG motor home coaches - Facilities at the Canyon Village were limited. Many families camped, or like The Shepherd's family, rented one of the small cabins that were available. (they are still there, having been refurbished).

In those days, you could drive anywhere along the rim in the canyon - today many areas, private vehicles are restricted - - these areas, having been loved to death by the public are only accessable by bus. From looking at the handouts the the National Park Service it appears that they are developing a whole system of bus routes to transport the tourists from one area of the canyon to the other. I am glad we got to go when we did.

It will be sad, because you will be shoved into someone else's timetable. But, I can see their reasoning. Vehicles are responsible for a lot of the haze and smog that settles over the canyon. We were lucky - there was a bit of a breeze blowing the whole time we were there - keeping the skies bright and blue. The only smoke & haze we saw was from a few fires that the park service had started to keep the underbrush down.

So we left the canyon - back to Kathy & Ralph's Sheep Thrills Farm in Flagstaff to get a closer look at their little flock of sheeps, and to help them celebrate their 31st anniversary!


shepherdchik said...

The view looks great. We've been meaning to go the GC but haven't made it yet. Maybe we better hurry up before the bus tours become the only way to do it.

Sharon said...

Oh man, look at that red fleece. I don't think I've seen red on a Shetland before - only llamas and alpaca. It's gorgeous!!!

Leigh said...

You have been having an absolutely super fantastic vacation! All the pix have been gorgeous (except perhaps the unmade bed :)

Kathy L. said...

I can't think of anyone else to share it with! It was great!

Good food, good friends...what more can one ask for? (OK, well, good sheep and good cats too!)