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Found 7 results

  1. Flight's actually tomorrow, but I'm packed and already over at my parents so I figure "why not start the blog travelogue?" As before, I don't know if I will be able to keep it up but let's see! If not, I'll switch to note-taking and update post-fact. The trip is to Latvia (and a little of France.) The flight over is in three parts: one small 'n short one first, then a 4-hour layover in Detroit (*snap* KEVLAR! I knew I forgot to pack something!), and then it's off to Amsterdam on an 8 hour flight, finally ending with a 2 hour flight to Riga. I'm lucky to have a window seat on the first flight. I might be even luckier on the International flight because the seat next to my aisle seat is currently empty! With wifi, power sockets, and an upgrade for legroom, I stand to have comfortable flight with plenty of time to watch LPs, play Stellaris, and just maybe the privacy to do some posting in peace! Tune in tomorrow for more updates! (should be plenty of time for it in Detroit XP ) 8:00 am Up and at them! grab a quick shower, get dressed and get going. 8:10 We are immediately side tracked when my younger sib's glasses break and we can't find his backup pair. 8:21 I just realized we forgot to budget time for at least 15 minutes of older sib criticizing our dress! 8:33 We finally found the glasses case. They were in the napkin holder, underneath the napkins... We finish moving luggage into the van. 8:50 The garage door won't close via keypad. We hide a door opener for tge lady who will be taking care of things. 9:00 We head off to pick up mom, get out and help finish up. 9:45 Time to head off to older sib before driving to the airport. 11:00 Arrival at the airport. My checked bag is 47 lbs and I land a sweet TSA precheck! 11:15 new title 11:45 Dad realized he forgot his laptop. He was planning on doing some work on the plane. I guess I know where I get it from. We have no wifi and the network sucks out here. Still, we're all in high spirits. 1:10 pm boarding. My window seat has a lovely view... of the wing We take off at 1:35. I will never get tired of seeing clouds from the other side. I settle into my Otter book for the short flight. 2:00 We start our descent. So much farm land to see! 2:30 We get off and there's no wifi. Detroit has a pretty terminal, all steel and concrete and grey. Then there was an uderground tunnel and it turns psychedelic. Shame I didn't pack my glowsticks. On the other end of the tunnel we reach the main terminal even more massive and has a big red elevated team running indoors. It's no O'Hare, but its very impressive in its own right. I settle in for a bit of Stellaris. 3:50 A Void Cloud nearly wiped out my first and only fleet. I probably shouldn't have chosen the 'weak' trait. 4:00 We wander off to our now-moved gate and stop off at a PF Chang's for a small snack. Plenty of time left in delightful Detroit. I broke down and use some data. 5:21 Time to leave work and head home for the day! Wait... Still plenty of time to twiddle my thumbs. 4 books, a laptop with tons of vids and games and I spend most my time on my phone with the forum and Discord. Go figure. 5:30 They announced a delay due to cleaning and prep but simultaneously announce they expect we will land 16 minutes ahead of time Airplanes seem to practice flex time very much like the company I work for. :V 6:06 pm cleaners still is haven't gotten on the plane. Now planning for 6:45 departure. AirFrance... guess they must have been on strike XP 6:17 Cleaning crew's here! 6:47pm Stiiiiill cleaning. Still in Detroit. We have a 2 hour layover in Amsterdam but we have customs and security we have to go through, not to mention picking up our bags, beforw we nab to Riga flight. 7:07 Finally boarding 7:15 Got my seat! Such legroom! Little screens, power plug claimed. 2 sockets between 4 seats, so I plugged in early. It is now mine and people shall ask permission >:V 7:27 pm They mentioned we will fly over Scotland/Ireland/England. I'll be sure to wave to all the UK furs! This will probably be the last update for a while. Take off will be soon. Once Laptops are allowed again, I have a Void Cloud to deal with... 12:00 Void clouds suck! Stupid non-sentient clouds smashed my fleets again. I should try to get a bit of sleep, it's going to be a long day today. But, I've given in to my stomach pressure and checked out the restroom. I have also discovered that my phone carrier nets me a free hour of wifi on the plane! So, I figured a little update. It is sonewhere around 4/5 am in Amsterdam if I'm right. We are to arrive in at 9am. Even after our 2 hour 3rd flight we only have a few hours to get checked in before we meet with a priest relative, so we'll mostly spend it getting cleaned up. I figure that means I have 6-8 hours before I'll have a chance to sleep again once we start down. Better grab what I can now. I'll fill in some trip details (didn't just play Stellaris XP) later. 1:00 am Sleep did not happen. It was inevitable; I've never been able to sleep on a plane. Instead I chat a bit on Discord using the last on my WiFi freebe. 1:30 I give in to my inner furry and start watching Zootopia again. 1:40 I give up on Zootopia, I can't seem to enjoy something I've seen this many times when I'm this tired. Doesn't matter, as the cabin lights just came on. 2am / 8am They serve a breakfast snack : Frozen Orange juice, biscoff bar, roll with jam, slice of cheese, and yogurt. I skip the cheese and yogurt as I still have stomach pains. I do nab some black tea to wake me a bit. 8:05 We're over about the center point of the UK. I wave like a dork 8:35 am We begin our descent. 3:03 Two for two! It was a bit bumpier than the other and the weather is cloudy but cool in Amsterdam. 3:20 Apparently the plane had to drive around a but to find a parking spot :V Taxiing finally ends and he disembark. We're late. Some people have already missed their connections, but we might still make ours if we really leg it! The gate is on the literal opposite end of the terminal. The airport layout is chaotic; there's no sense of flow like the others. But, we also have customs to get through... 3:45 / 9:45 we made it to the other side just in time for the plane to start boarding. Customs was a single question and a passport stamp. They had our boarding passes at the gate. 10:05 We're on board. The tiny plane stands in stark contrast to the massive international plane we got off. It's very hot inside. People look eerily familiar.There's a lot of cute girls on board, too. 10:33 They announce the luggage was late and being brought on board now. Announcements are made in Latvian, English, and Russian. 10:45 The plane finally starts moving. 11:04 Finally take off after another long taxiing session. My window seat affords me a view as the plane drives along a highway overpass. 1:45 We land in Latvia! The flight we largely uneventful. It's rainy but not raining. Forests abound below as we made our surprisingly smooth landing. 2:00 / 1:00 I don't know what timezone it is. We lost another hour, the flight was 1hour 45 minutes. We're at the baggage carousel after disembarking via stairs and taking a 2 minute bus ride. The airport is smaller than Dayton. 1:23 They've lost our luggage. -_-; Well that's about it for the flying! It would be quiet a few hours before I get to bed, but that is a story for another blog post. Hope you all enjoyed hearing about the trip so far!
  2. Continuing with the second day of the hike, I figured I'd just give a quick run down of the highlights rather than a detailed story-like entry. I had the foresight to make notes at various points on the trail, so most of the important details are have not been forgotten, even though I didn't get as many pictures on the second day. The imgur pictures will be up either later today or tomorrow. 7:00 am - Up and at 'em! Still majorly sore from the day before, but it shakes of quickly and I'm left mostly with a bit of stiffness and slightly tender inner thighs. Breakfast is freeze dried Apple crisps cereal. Yes, you really want to eliminate even the small amount of weight that moisture in cereal takes up. Plus, it helps long term storage. Like the spaghetti dinner of the previous day, it is re-hydrated with boiling water. Unlike the previous day, however, this was not at all tasty. It was not so much like oatmeal as it was soggy cereal using water in place of milk and heated up. It tasted like chunky snot. I didn't eat much. Today was to be a 9 mile journey back up the canyon along the popular Bright Angel trail. We finished up taking everything down, packing it all up and set off... 9:26 am - And Then It Rained. The rain was a mercifully short drizzle, lasting only a few minutes longer than it took us to get our rain gear on and packs covered. This first 1.75 miles are sandy paths winding along the river with mostly gentle up and down slopes with little vertical progress. I was still quite stiff and going down any level of step was incredibly difficult. Going up was surprisingly easier but still a bit problematic. 10:45 am - Our first little rest stop! We took off our unneeded rain gear and I took out my camera. From here we had about 3 miles largely composed of switchbacks, those zig-zag vertical gaining trails sections. It was the switchbacks of Kaybab that had murdered my knees. Thankfully, going up them really is better than coming down them. At least for your the knees. 12:35 pm - The switchbacks open up into a beautiful, verdant sandstone area! Miniature waterfalls, formed by the mild rain combined with natural streams, dot the landscape. 12:42 pm - We stop for our second break by a large outcropping of rocks, along a small trickling stream in the middle of lush vegetation. Having gladly heeded the ranger's advice, we only had a liter in our camelbacks instead of 3 and most of our water was to be drunk from our water bottles. This is because Bright Angle, unlike Kaybab, has several places where water is available. My dad goes to collect water from the stream using the filter pump. He entirely forgot that the pump is broken and must be held together. Like me, it immediately pops off. This time, however, he isn't able to grab the backflow disk before it washes away and so we're down a pump. Fortunately, he has a back up gravity-fed filter that we can squeeze by with. We begin to enjoy some much needed snacks... And Then It Rained. It wasn't going to be a merciful drizzle this time. I could see it just before it hit us: a wall of water. We quickly got our gear on and our packs covered. We had to cut the break short and move on. Much of the most beautiful parts of the trail were here in the rain, and me without access to my camera. Most of the path here was gentle climbing slopes. The rain lasted maybe 30 minutes, but by the end of it I was in no mood for pictures. 2:04 pm - We break here again for snacks and a much needed 30 minute rest. This is the mid-point of Bright Angel a lovely little campground. I didn't know that the beginner trail was supposed to have an overnight in the middle of it. It was here that I learned about it first and that we simply hadn't been able to get a permit for it. Which is why we were going the whole 9 miles in a day. In the distance we hear soft rumbling. 3:00 pm - We clearly hear thunder. The trail briefly became sharply steep again here. This is the start of last 4.5 miles, most of which will be steep straights and laborious switchbacks. 3:30 pm - We hear thunder again and what sounded like possibly a coyote. Oh how I would love to capture a coyote with my camera! The thought of it brightens me up... And Then It Rained. I had to put away my camera and never saw a coyote. 4:10 pm - The rain subsides and we are left with what will be the remained of the trail: steep, muddy climbs and switchbacks. Lots of switchbacks. We're all very tired and chilled from the rain. I had completely given up on using my camera. At this point conversation had turned to personifying the canyon as being angry that a trio of flat-land midwesterners were tromping up it. I taunt the canyon, asking it show us what it can really do! 4:30 pm - Exhausted, we reach the 3rd break area: a small rest stop wit a roof and water pump with cess-pit restrooms near by. 6 miles down, 3 to go. I'm shivering cold from the rain and feeling sick to my stomach. Skipping the snotty breakfast is fast catching up to me as a bad idea. The last of my salty beef jerky helps settle my stomach as we hydrate with much needed water. We put on our fleeces but I still feel unnaturally chilly, even though it's only 50 degrees. Screw the rules, we pull out our mini-stove and make tea. 5:30 pm - After much needed rest and warmth, I'm feeling better. We're running low on food. We bundle up: The sun will be setting soon. We set off. 6:00 pm - The sun is setting. My father isn't doing so well, either. He's the experienced hiker and he's having to stop to catch his breath every so often. A party coming down the trail warns us they were nearly hit by falling boulders. It's virtually all switchbacks from here on out. 7:30 pm - The sun has long since set. We reach the last rest stop. It sucks. The restrooms sit up a set of steep stairs that may as well be called the Devil's Stairmaster. Water is a distance away, ensuring you have to inch your way over to the rest room after getting your drink. I now know what it's like to be 90 years old: everything is stiff, you can barely move without pain let alone move quickly. I am hobbled on canes that were my walking sticks. It's cold, and pitch black as I weakly trundle off to use the restroom with only my little headlamp. The stench is unimaginable. We take this last water opportunity to refill and to make a small meal. We split a freeze dried chicken and mashed potato. Thankfully it is pretty decent and gives us a bit of a boost. Mice creep round near by and as I greedily guard my pack. The mice in my house over the last year have left a bit of an impact on me, I think. It's hard to give a sense of just how exhausted we were at this point. And Then It Rained. Again. At 40 Degrees. In Pitch Darkness. On sheer-cliff canyon-side switchback trail. The heaviest, longest rain of the day. 9:00-ish - My notes are largely incoherent here. I recall being very jumpy about the shadows cast by our head lamps. Lots of little mouse droppings along the trail made me paranoid about the mice. Being so near the start/end, the ever-present donkey dung along the trail had greatly increased in volume and stench. Around 9:30 we ran completely out of food. I'm told I was quite out of it at this point, but somewhere around here the rain had stopped. I seem to have scribbled something about barely being able to lift my legs up the steps. I recall the next day there was a severe rash on my inner thighs from all the sweat and motion, so this likely a major contributing factor. There were many such rashes, gashes, and pains. 10:10pm - We finally made it out, exiting just by a gift shop that also houses a lovely art gallery. We stumbled into the Bright Angle Lodge after bumbling around the parking lot barely with any senses. We call a cab to take us the relatively short distance to the lodge we're staying the night in. We manage to snag some buffalo wings from the last open bar just before they close around 11pm.
  3. As we shamble forward, dead on our feet, the lifeless rocky terrain of the South Kaibab trail gives way to a verdant oasis: the Bright Angel campground. A rich canyon floor dotted with colorful domes and colorful people. The hikers who periodically passed us on the trail were polite and friendly and the people of the campground are no different. Words of sympathy and encouragement wash over us as the canopy above dapples and diffuses the harsh sun into pleasant light. We find an open campsite, number 9. A small plot of sand delineated by stones and separated by other such plots by a thin strip of greenery. The plot sit next a small bank leading to shallow creek. We relieve the burden of our packs on the plot's parkbench and find ourselves a moment of rest. Before long, we set back to work. Stiff limbs pull through the packs, unloading supplies on the rubber-covered wire tabletop. Mess-kit, portable stove, dinnerware and everything you'd need for dinner. Except for water, having exhausted our supply on the desert trail. While the others prepared camp and dinner, it fell to me to pump it. With convienent stone seat, I drop the "dirty" labelled intake hose into the creek and begin to pump. Immediately, the dirty hose's connection to the filler pump pops off. I scramble to grab a small white disk before it washes away. Consulting with my father, we determine that the connection's busted and that the disk prevents back-flow. Our innovative solution is to hold the connection together with one hand while pumping with the other. Water seeps out the connection as I slowly work through the collective 9 liters of our camelback waterpacks. By the end of it, my pant leg is refreshingly soaked. Dinner consists of freeze dried food, rehydrated and cooked by boiling water. I have a surprisingly delicious spagetti and meat sauce. Once complete, we clean our utensils in more boiling water. By the end of it, we've used the 9 liters and it's time to pump more for bottling. The oasis is deceptive and the desert air still steals water from our bodies. We must remain hydrated. The Ranger stops by to check our permits and welcome us. Conversation turns to weather and she reassures us that a 40% chance of rain also a 60% chance of no rain. This is the desert, afterall. You know what? I'm sick of this entry. It's tedious, boring to read and badly written. Let's cut to the chase: I go to bed early at 7:30. I wake up around 3am to stumble to the restroom under the full moon, like a werewolf whose just transformed for the first time. It's a real flush toilet, but a busted pipe means we flush it by pouring a bucket of water in it real fast. The End. I'll try to make the next entry suck less.
  4. DrGravitas

    Day 1: Descent

    South Kaibab trail: my first real hike. We packed our 65-pound packs and showered the night before to save time. At 5:30am we awoke, dressed, checked out and grabbed breakfast when it opened at 6. We hopped on the 7 am Hiker's Express to the trailhead. My brother and father were in high spirits but I am not so enthusiastic. I jokingly toss out a Star Wars quote: "I have a bad feeling about this." I have never carried a real pack before, but I am greatful for how it is expertly balanced to rest on my hips and tailbone, saving my shoulders from bearing the hefty weight. Much of that weight being in the form of 3 liters of water, accessible by a tube, and an additional 1.5 liters in an ultralight bottle. There are granola bars, high-energy sugery foods like raisens/craisens and high-protein snacks in the form of beef jerky. There are also freeze dried meals for dinner and breakfast and an extra meal just in case. I carry changes of clothes, a bit of cold weather gear. There is a rain cover, jacket, and over-pants should the small change of rain the next day pan out. Other assorted camping equipment iscarried to balance out the weight distribution between each of the packs in our party. Father and Brother's pack contents largely mirror my own. However, they both carry a tent (I will share with my father) and balance the weight out by holding more of the food in my pack. My brother's pack is the heaviest due to his decision to carry both a larger waterbottle and an additional one. By 7:40 we are off. The trail begins with a fairly steep descent in a feature that would ultimately prove to be its defining feature: switchbacks. A switchback is a section of trail that works much like the famous winding road of San Fransisco, whipping back and forth. But they are much tighter and rather than a smooth incline they consist of elongated steps. They allow for great drops in elevation in fairly compact space. What should be a beautiful rising sun in the canyon is marred by an overcast. My brother is excited. This is apparent in the way he pulls away from my father and I, much to my disapproval. We try to explain to him that he will wear himself out, but he argues his heavier pack makes this his natural pace and thus it less exhausting that if he artificially slows his pace. He ignores requests to pause at the corners of switchbacks to wait for us to catch up. I follow the lead of my companions and setup my pair of walking sticks to help my balance. My father has to help me access the poles from pack. In this pause, my brother slips out of sight even to looking down on further switchbacks. By 9am we reach the first break point. My brother has finally decided to wait for us here. This first section of the trail had seen an elevation change of approximately 1,100 feet downward. The cosy little stop provides me some nice opportunities to photograph a squirrel and bluebird as well as a chance to drop the weighty pack and sit. My father speaks to my brother about sticking together while I observe the path we will take past a massive mesa. We set off again after about 30 minutes and the initial switchback gives way to a meandering, sloping path hugging close to the canyon wall. As the grand mesa looms close, we stop at a pile of rocks for a quick snack break and a chance to take off our packs at about 10:20. Continuing on past the mesa, the overcast disappaites to reveal a fully risin desert sun. The path begins to alternate between long swaths of mild descent and sudden clusters of switchbacks. The steps on these switchbacks are not small steps! They are worn and uneven. Their height is more like that of your grandmother's old home. I using my poles to steady my steps down and press on are weight on them. These paths wrap around portions of the canyon that jut out from the wall as the canyon's shape mutates. Now, even the mild slope are increasingly uneven and worn deep enough that I am up to my knees in their rut. There are more rocks on the path and the threat of stumbling looms menacingly. The path is taking a heavy toll on our knees and legs. I am relying more and more on my sticks to serve more like canes. The heat is beats down on us as we at last arrive at a break point. We set down on rocks in the shade of the last set of restrooms until the campground. The plateau of the rest area has a rugged beauty, contrasted against the noxious mud oozing out the lower floor of the cesspit-like restrooms. We stomach the stench of the foul building in exchange for shelter from the harsh light and finish off the last of the shared bag of beef jerky, leaving only the jerky bags specific to my brother and I. We are drinking more water, this time laced with powdered gatoraid. I take a quick hit on the last chance restroom. The disgusting second floor is bare-bones. You excrete directly into the pit of the first floor where bacteria are breaking it down into a "humus-like soil" according to the Phoenix Composting Toilet sign. Without even the hand sanitizer dispenser of the waterless restroom at the trailhead, we use a sort of hiker's wetnap. This has to be stored in a ziplock designated for trash we carry with us. Pack it in, pack it out. I am increasingly weary and ask to extend our stop. It is now that I learn from my father that this is not a beginner's trail. After about 30 minutes with the extension, the noon day stops and I am pressed onward. The descent from here is a brutal series of switchbacks. My canes dig into my palms. My body is tense and I am falling behind my family. They stop to wait periodically before pulling ahead again. My desire to photograph this trip only serves to further my isolation. My teeth grit and my hands squeeze the handles as I hammer the poles into the ground. It's not a beginner's trail? There are easier ways down this dreadful canyon? I knew this path was steeper yet shorter than the path chosen for the next day's ascent, but why had my father chosen this path at all? The aching pain fuses in these thoughts to burning resolve. I resolve to be done with this whole mess. Steeled and numbed by my focus, I catch up to my compatriots waiting around a corner. Sensing my increasing frustration, my father asks if there is anything they can do. A terse "keep walking" is my only reply. They are beginning to feel the weariness I already know as I begin to pull out ahead on a series of mostly smooth downward stretches. I know we are past the halfway point on this 7 mile journey. All I can think about is it ending. My eyes behold a muddy, ugly torrent in the distance; our first glimpse of the river. Moving forward, the brief respit of the straight path gave way to a vast series of even more brutal switchbacks: the devil's staircase. My picture-taking is increasingly a token effort. The descent into hellish red rocks pairs well with the descent of my thoughts. I know who I'm mad at. I know who is to blame for this. I have let myself be herded into this, spending a thousand dollars on equipment for a hobby I have little interest in. I let others decide the path to take and set the pace. I am to blame for my predicament. It is my fault for not expressing myself. I am mad at myself for failing myself. The staircase takes its toll on all of us. Steely resolve degenerates into machine-like procession; my program is dictated by the path. The sight of a suspension bridge over the river gives us our goal. The repititious stepping sears our knees and legs with pain. My pack is malaligned, digging into my clavicle, and has been since the last break. Only now do I notice it but my desprite desire to see this end keeps me from stopping to have it fixed. The diabolical path melds flesh to mindless mechanistic motion, granting it again a painfully organic inconsistency. When at last we reach the tunnel before the bridge, my walking sticks have fused with me. I am a great lumbering beast, hunched over elongated forelimbs. My camera swings below my neck as misplaced, grotesquely oversized testicles meant to ward off competitors. Exhausted, my descent is complete at 2:45. The wretched beast continues a mindless pursuit across level terrain for another 35 minutes. At last, its den is found in a sandy space by a creek, zoned out by stones. We setup camp.
  5. DrGravitas

    I Survived

    I was led to believe that trail was a beginner's trail with a overnight camp in the middle. I was misinformed. What I actually just experienced was a moderate difficulty trail and a beginner's trail with an overnight camp in between. South Kaibab, the moderate trail, was 7 miles with no water but what we carried with us. We then camped at the bottom of the canyon at the Bright Angel Campground. The beginner's trail, Bright Angel trail, was 9 miles with water available and is generally not as steep as South Kaibab. Bright Angel trail nominally has a campground in the half way to the end at the canyon floor. That's what makes it a beginner's trail. We didn't use that midpoint campground. I am not a real hiker. I'm just a cubicle dweller who likes to go for a walk on his lunch break. I am not a fan of camping and I've never carried a real pack. My father is the real hiker. I prefer more of the LOLITS type trails. This was my first real hike. I'll be doing full write-ups soon. I am at last again in civilization with a useable internet connection as we spend the night in the diamand suite of the Sedona Hilton Spa and Resort (my father gathers quite a number of points through business trips). I took over 400 photos (I'm not a real photographer, either, so don't expect anything spectacular :P). Most of them are on my Nikon 3200, so those will be uploaded later. A few of them were taken with my phone camera and will be used as where appropriate.
  6. The connection situation hasn't improved. As such, I will have to create this entry in pieces. The day began as I awoke to the phenomenal snoring of my travel companions, my younger brother and my father, at 4:33am. Unable to sleep, I quietly removed myself from the room to go for a walk, dressing warmly and bringing my camera along. Outside hung a beautiful reddish moon, piercing through the cloudy darkness. The canyon was too dark for the nighttime picture I hoped for, so instead I focused on the spectacular moon. To my disappointment none of the manual settings I tried, nor the exceptional automatic setting, could render it as anything but a non-descript orb surrounded by darkness. Defeated, I returned to my room just after the moon sank below at treeline an hour later. At least the snoring had stopped and was able to get back to bed. The real day began when we awoke around 9 (hey, this IS a vacation) and before long (well, an hour and a half later) we went for breakfast. I had a delightful set of pancakes, bacon, and sausages as we discussed how massive the stack of 3 pancakes was and planned the day. The plan was to go on a warm-up trek. something to get our bodies ready for the long trail and to find our pace. There is a perfect, simple trail for this that follows along the rim and (mostly) parallels the road the tour buses travel. If the trails we are to go on later this week are Grand Canyon beginner's trails, then this would be what hikers call LOLITS trails. That is, trails for little old ladies in tennis shoes. The trail follows the old hermit road along the rim. It is dotted with lots of nice rest spots, fantastic views, and if you find yourself tired, you need only continue just a bit further to find one of the many tour bus stops it intersects with and take a ride back. The trail itself has very mild inclines where it isn't flat, and is even paved in some sections. Perfect for warming up. We set out with minimal packs, some snacks, and gear. The 6 miles we did went by without incident, save for a time where I found myself with a full bladder and a mile between me and the nearest restroom. That mile fell under foot exceptionally quickly! The cess-pit style restroom was about the half way point of the journey. From there, the trail became a bit rougher, but by no means difficult. Honestly, the only reason it took as many hours as it did was because I would stop us every few feet to snap a few more pictures. There are over 200 photos and counting. As the trail reaches its end, the stops get farther apart. We chose not to exert ourselves to greatly and ultimately hitched a ride to the end from 2 stops away. At the end of the trail/tour bus line lays a lovely little gift shop selling most the same things as the other gift shops that dot the national park, still more sublime vistas , and the beginning of another hiking trail. It was all done by 3 pm. As it would happen, we would end up walking about 10 miles total today. Almost all of those additional 4 miles were from trying to find a dinning place before accidentally finding ourselves back at the same one we had breakfast and the previous dinner at. The only other notible event of the day was when I found myself in an art gallery shortly after the hike. Along with gorgeous works of art, it had an exceptional selection of books for sale. knowing my methodical and selective nature, my companions happily accepted my invitation to abandon me there to my deliberations. After a while, I selected two books. One a weighty compilation of art of national parks and the other, titled Tricksters, a compilation of graphic novels themed around local native cultural stories of trickster spirits like the well known coyote archetype. Tomorrow is expected to be less eventful as we prep for our trek and do a bit of sightseeing by bus. I doubt it will warrant a post. The day after that I disappear from the grid as I descend into the canyon and emerge again the day after to collapse into bed. I am likewise looking to get to bed now, if only the surround sound snoring would stop!
  7. DrGravitas

    The Odyssey

    See how long I can keep this up! Will try to produce updates from my trip! Done from my phone so please excuse mistakes. 4:00AM - Got up for flight. 5:20 am - Made it through security. Forgot to take off my shoes! X( Those T-ray machines creep me out, but TSA at this small airport is always very pleasant. 6:01 am - Began blog entry : P 6:45 am - Take off! The cabin is dark and makes for a beautiful scene out the window. Sadly, I am not window seat and the flash ruins the picture of the city lights. Early flights aren't all bad; with so few people, nobody has to sit in the middle seat. It's all windows and aisles. 6:55 am - Hey, in flight wifi! 6:56 am - Hey, it's $8 and will have ads! I turn to reading a book instead. 7ish: I order a 7 up and get Sprite instead. Harmph, Harmph. 8:2ish - Glorious, misty sunrise. I get a pic this time as the person beside me slumps forward for me. 8:40am - Decide to delete photos of trip to Rocky Mountain National Park to clear a bit of space. 8:57 am - Finish deleting over 900 photos. Saved a couple in case I want to upload them. 7:26 am - Arrival at interchange airport. The phone's time updates. Next flight isn't until 8:35 am. A very nice airport! Care to guess which it is? Enough of all these timestamps! 2nd flight was uneventful. 1 hr 30 min with a few good photos. The hamburgers were a bit stale. Arrived here at Phoenix, Arizona! And now a 3-4 hour drive out to the Grand Canyon. 3:08 I think, I don't know what zone I'm in atm.- Arrival! The trip was quiet nice and had very sporatic Data availability. Desert, badlands shrubs, mountains, and forests. A very diverse trip. Despite being extremely sleepy I haven't fallen asleep. Sadly, my writing skills have fallen and significantly. Took a fair number of photos, but connection is too slow to do much with them at the moment. Epilogue: This was a fun little experiment, this post! A travesty of the English language yes, but fun! Having had a meal more substantial than Airport tidbits and fast food, my head is a bit clearer. It is swimming, but I feel well otherwise. I have thus come to conclude that my deteriorating writing was more than just advancing fatigue and a phone's frustrating handwriting recognition (still using it, by the way). Instead these were compounded by the shift in altitude (+6000ft) and some dehydration caused by traveling in the dry air of planes followed by about an hour or so traveling through a desert. I should have hydrated better. .As for what's next, the connection remains unstable, so I will probably opt for a post after the week or at least not so much. It's just as well, now that I have access to my Camera (and have recharged the battery that I forgot to before leaving) I don't have to rely on my phone's potato. But those photos will not be accessible until I get back to my computer. As for what next in this vacation, we are now in the tourist-y area of the canyon. A lovely little set of upscale motel-style lodges and shops right along the ridge on a small slice of the canyon. A couple days will be spent on what they have to do here. Later, the real fun begins as we take on one of the most popular trails. Sort of a beginners course as far as the Grand Canyon is concerned. A day's hike down, camp overnight, and a day's hike up. Total of 16 miles with just shy of a 5000ft change in elevation. Quite a bit more than the hike in the RMNP. After that a couple more days vacation before flying back. I'll make it home around midnight in my native time zone... and then I go to back to work the next morning X(
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