Date: May 23, 2010 3:09 PM
Our first full day here in Tusayan we popped for an expensive IMAX movie about the Grand Canyon. After that we were pumped. It is so much fun to wander in the Visitor’s Center and listen to all the languages spoken. I heard Germans, British, a few other Western European accents I can’t identify and a swirl of Orientals. I can’t tell the Japanese from the Chinese, I’m ashamed to admit, but a line of about 30 folks, let’s say they were from Japan, were in a double line along with Beatlick Joe and I heading into the IMAX theater. I really go out of my way to smile big at people and give them eye contact. So I shot off a few smiles.
All of the folks I did give a friendly grin to looked beyond me with their shy eyes as if not to notice me at all. Oh well. As we all entered the theater, with ample seating I want to emphasize, all the people therein filtered out past the front seats to access the aisles on the left and right of the theater. There was no middle aisles.
In the upper rows there were about five more Oriental people waving to their friends below. At this point two of their lady friends in the lower level decided to make a beeline up to them and commenced climbing over the seats through the middle of the theater. It was over a dozen rows to the top. I don’t know if they were afraid other people would sit by their friends and leave them out, or what, as I said there were plenty of seats. Everyone else was using the aisles.
But at that moment when the two ladies started climbing over those seats like they were scaling Mount Fugi, their entire contingency of friends followed them. Every single one of them put the seat down, stood on it and hoisted a leg up and over the top to the next level, a dozen times each until they were all recongregated as a single unit at the top of the theater. It was the darnedest thing I’ve ever seen.
Date: May 26, 2010 11:23 AM
You see so many people at the Grand Canyon, it’s a game to try and figure what language is being spoken, what country someone is from.
Our young British friend Sam just fell into step with us and we enjoyed his company so much. He’s lucky, too, and extremely observant, as any good traveler should be. When he moved to our campground and wanted to heed the call of nature, Beatlick Joe handed him our Boy Scout shovel, some toilet paper and pointed him up the hillside. Up there he found a huge stash of beer and other flavored alcoholic beverages – almost a hundred dollars worth of drinks – all stashed behind this big log. We split the cache up between the three of us and me being “Miss Know It All” speculated “Somebody stole all this and then got caught after stealing something else and never got to come back for their stash.”
After Sam had left, on Saturday night and well after dark, a string of about five cars circled our campsite and formed a circle like a wagon train. Half a dozen teenagers started up the hill in the dark and I knew immediately what they were doing there. They had come for that stash of alcohol. Well, of course, they came back empty handed. Everybody just jumped back into their vehicles and peeled out of the camp. Thanks kids! Honor your elders!
The wind is really beginning to pick up and it’s harder to enjoy the Canyon trails. We walked down the South Kaibab Trail about one mile just to soak up the trail experience. One woman passed us with those hiking poles, dressed in little more than a swim suit. She said she had hiked from the North Rim, about 20 miles. She was obviously an accomplished athlete by the appearance of her body, but she was breathing hard.
“Oh come on,” she gasped, when she saw the last tiers of switchbacks still ahead of her. “You’re only five more minutes away,” I encouraged her.
“Finally!” she exclaimed.
We spent about an hour on the trail and then headed up to the Yavapai Observation Station for a lecture from one of the rangers. The wind got so cold and strong that I opted out and waited for Joe at the observation point there. That’s when I learned that someone jumped off of Mather Point yesterday. Apparently it’s becoming a popular place to commit suicide, like Niagara Falls, I assume. A park worker also fell to his death this week also and the flags are flying at half mast this week. The ranger had a black ribbon on her badge as well to honor a fallen park worker.
Such a pity, but the hustle and bustle of the park never stops and apparently the park never closes. We hope we have our definitive shot of the van by the Canyon. I sneaked in a restricted road early on Sunday morning to get the best shot and skedaddled out quick before we got caught.
It’s truly a dream come true for many to get here and at $500 a pop the helicopter are constantly competing with the condors for air space. On the tarmac over at the airport about five out of seven keep their rotor blades going as the passengers shuffle in and out.
The huge old log hotel, El Tavor, seems packed and the buses are certainly packed bringing in large group tours. Mostly I have seen Orientals and Germans; I guess they have the most money these days to travel. East Indians pull a close third, Brits, Mid-Easterners next and I haven’t really heard any French spoken or seen many Africans, but a small percentage of African Americans.
The lodges inside the park by the rim seem to attract some really dead-serious athletes. A number of hikers crash around us on the ancient leather seats in the lobby of the El Tovar Hotel along with a wedding party. All manner of taxidermed animal trophies line the upper reaches of the big lobby, their glassy eyes rest upon us all.