Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Into the Semi-Wild

The Grand Canyon itself does not disappoint, although the area around it is slightly over-civilized. The silence and serenity of nature which I hold dear is difficult to access when I have to park a mile away because of full parking lots and walk through chaotic traffic to get a glimpse off of the magnificent South Rim. Our more secluded campsite in Kaibab National Forest just a few miles away seemed closer to nature's presence, with Elk sightings, campfires and no Xanterra™️ operated tchotchke stores. 

We returned earlier in the morning on July 4th to attempt a hike part of the way down the Canyon, on the Bright Angel path. It became abundantly clear about 3/4 of a mile and 500 feet of elevation down that it would be foolish to go any farther, for the path was a constant slope down, and any elevation lost must be recovered on the climb up. With the mid-day heat pouring down and our water supplies dwindling we returned up, quite tired even from what could be considered a short hike. The people on the path were of particular interest, all discussing out loud the implications of how much farther down they were going to hike, the conversations surrounding the history and geology and geography of the Canyon, as well as the typical antics that come along with a full family hike. 

Upon returning to the campsite we took a nice nap in our hammock for a couple hours, but soon became frustrated by the desert's unrelenting heat and lack of shade among the sparse pine trees. Leaving our camping integrity out in the forest, we took a short drive to the McDonald's in Tusayan, the small town between our campsite and the entrance to the Grand Canyon, and enjoyed a McFlurry in the air conditioning before returning to our campsite as the sun began to descend. We observed Elk as they walked across the road to our site, and cooked a quick meal of eggs and avocado to finish up our food reserves. The sun mercifully slipped below the horizon and soon the stars were out, their soft brilliance guiding us to sleep. 

With a new city in our sights we left early the next morning, and with that extra time we were able to add a quick venture into Zion National Park as we passed through southern Utah on our way up to Salt Lake City. We saw a herd of buffalo along the way as well as mountain goats, and on the more humbling side a fire raging in the mountains. While the temperature somehow manages to be even hotter here in Salt Lake City and promises to exceed 105 degrees tomorrow, we are excited to be back sleeping in air conditioning, if just for a couple days, and to explore a new city. 

Top to bottom: Our campsite at 10-X Campground in Kaibab National Forest, the view from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Buffalo meandering about, and the stunning canyon view of Zion National Park. 

No comments:

Post a Comment