Okay i only have 20 minutes to spew out ...

Trip Start Jun 29, 1999
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Trip End Dec 04, 1999


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Wednesday, November 3, 1999

Okay I only have 20 minutes to spew out everything that has happenned since LA so don't mind the typos.

Friday, October 29th
I stopped by the Centre for Land Use Interpretation again on my way out of LA. I got a chance to meet with Matt Coolidge who, I think, is the brains behind the concept. He's a pretty cool guy and for those of you in the Vancouver area he'll be giving a talk at UBC sometime soon. The rest of the day was spent driving. I once again followed Route 66 past all the abandoned homes and businesses (and once again through the Amboy Crater) to Needles where I grabbed a motel room and watched HBO all night.

Saturday, October 30th
I left California for good (on this trip at least) and made my way along Route 66 through Arizona. Taking Route 66 is definitely the slow way across this state and it was late afternoon by the time I reached the Grand Canyon National Park. I drove along the West Rim taking in the sunset from Hopi Point. Due to the large rise in elevation it was very cool at night (24 degrees Fahrenheit) but I barely noticed it... must be a dry cold.

Sunday, October 31st
Masochism was the order for the day. I awoke early for a hike down into the canyon. It was 1.5 miles from my campsite to the Bright Angel trailhead. Then 4.5 miles downhill past marvellous cliffs to Indian Gardens and then another 1.5 miles to Plateau Point which is described as the most most scenic outlook in the park (and lives up to it). This outlook is still 3300 feet below the rim but over 1000 feet above the river. Had I wanted to reach the river it still would have been another 4.5 miles from Indian Gardens. As to be expected at any major resting spot for tourists there was a squirrel waiting to beg. This guy actually made off with a whole bag of Fritos from an unsuspecting mule rider. Park staff tell you that the hike back up the canyon should take you twice as long as the hike down. Well, I wanted to beat the mule train back up to the top so I really pushed it and actually matched my descent time of 2 hours. Of course, I was hacking up both my lungs when I got to the top but the feeling of accomplishment I got was worth it. Somehow I forgot to remember that I still had another 1.5 miles ahead of me. I survived but the rest of my day was spent lying in my tent. I skipped trick or treating.

Monday, November 1st
When I got my ass out of bed I was pretty darn sore. Thus, I planned a day of sight-seeing by car. I drove out to the east rim to what I think is the most scenic viewpoint on this side of the park, Desert View. Not only do you get a superb view of the canyon but you are also high enough to look southeastward over the painted desert. I then slowly made my way back westward stopping at all the scenic views in-between. That included a stop at the Tusayan ruins where you can do an interpretive hike among some ancient Pueblo ruins. At Yaki Point I felt limber enough to hike 1.5 miles down the South Kaibab trail to Ooh-Ahh Point and back. It wasn't pain-free hiking but at least it proved I wasn't completely lame. In the evening I drove back out to Lipan Point for a sunset that even outdid the magical one I saw in Death Valley. Rule #1 of the desert: Do not miss the sunset.

Tuesday, November 2nd
It's a short drive down to Flagstaff a town of 60,000. On the way I made a side-trip to a recreational area known as Snow Bowl just to gather some karma for this year's football showdown in January. In Flagstaff I visited the Lowell Observatory where the planet Pluto was first observed and where Mars was first seriously mapped. It's a very interesting tour but unfortunately their schedule changes during the winter months so that the only time you can do some night observations is on Friday and Saturday. I did get to take a good look at the sun which was awesome. Sunspots the size of the earth! Next I headed out to Walnut Canyon where you can tour some cliff dwellings left by the Sinauga people from 800 years ago. You can still see their fingerprints in the mortar used for the walls. Flagstaff is a pretty nice town. They've done a great job of keeping the old downtown clean and vital. It's a very quaint place but it still has a DelTaco to really make me happy.

I hope that's enough for you as my time has run out. I also have more stuff to add about Las Vegas but I'll have to fill that in some other time. Next stop Phoenix.
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