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the [perfectly calm] adventures of david-andrew

grand camp

I got asked several times if I camp when telling friends where we were going for The Pilot’s birthday. So let me tell you a little story.
When I was shorter, my parents used to take us camping in Whitewater, WI. My memories of those summers include mildew illness from our tent, being afraid to change clothes, and standing paralyzed in the semi-outdoor shower because it was infested with spiders. Things always happened to me in Whitewater. One winter I got lost in the dark night on the way back from the restroom and ended up in a bed not belonging to our family. Luckily, my parents knew this man and I was returned. That same winter I was innocently standing on a snow covered hill only to be mown down by a passing toboggan. The resulting brain trauma left me with a life-long aversion to winter sports.
On a summer trip there, I was stung by a bee. The resulting brain trauma from that left me with a life-long fondness for hallucinogenics

It may be unnecessary to say that I’m not a camper, happy or otherwise. Most of my friends and family tend to see me as a city and shower lover. I am those things. However, I am also a person who likes adventure and trying of new things. In 2010, I went camping for the first time in my adult life in Moab, UT. It was largely a good experience. I figured that I was ready to test the strength of my relationship by camping with The Pilot.

I had not been to The Grand Canyon since a high school trip. I have been trying to get visitors to AZ interested in a trip there, but it never seemed to happen. I only have vague memories of that trip in high school, so I was excited to see the canyon again. The morning we left, I got comfortable in the car and braced myself for the long trip. However, the trip was a great deal shorter than the 5 hours I was told it would take to drive from Phoenix. It was more like 3 hours. This knowledge would have helped a great deal when trying to sell this excursion to my guests.

When we arrived we found our leased plot and set up the tent. We decided to have a bite to eat before hiking down to the canyon. There was a moratorium on fire building because of the season, but we were excited to try our new camping gas stove. I thought it was interesting how they put the ashes from the fire pits around the trees as nutrients. That’s smart.

 

All over the area there were these giant black birds that are very loud and never shut up. They seem crazy smart though. They were rummaging through anything left unattended. I’m pretty sure I saw one try the doors on our Jetta. Thank Allah we locked it or we would find ourselves shiny object free.

After eating our first camp meal together, we headed down to the canyon for our day one hike. We started at the South Rim information center to check out different trails and sights that were in the area. Then we headed out for the view I had wanted to return to since I was 15.

 
On the South Rim there is a disgusting tree where it seems to be the popular thing to stick your gum. The gum tree makes my mysophobia kick into high gear. So naturally I had to share it with you guys.
Most of the trails and stops along the canyon road had these super convenient water stations. They pumped water from the springs in the canyon. You can wash your hands and fill your bottle or Camelbak®.

That night, after the sun went down, we gathered back near the South Rim center to listen to a park ranger talk about the stars. She used a long distance laser-pointer to point out galaxies, stars, constellations, and satellites. We got lucky when we decided to go on the first night. It was only offered two nights, and the second night was completely overcast. I highly recommend this star talk. It was very interesting and fun. The ranger had some funny methods to remember each constellation and star position.

The next day we went west to the Bright Angel trail and Hermit’s Rest.

We hiked down the Bright Angel Trail through a little opening in the rock.
At Hermit’s Rest, we ate our lunch we packed for the day. There was also a place to buy a cold drink and an ice cream. Those felt good in the heat of the day.
The squirrels at Grand Canyon were born without the appropriate fear of humans. They are not shy in asking for food. At Hermit’s rest we got to chat with a couple of them. I offered one a pebble which was inspected and rejected. Then i got scolded. First, I was scolded by the squirrel for the bogus offer, then by The Pilot for tempting the gods of rabies.
 
 
The beauty of Arizona always delivers. Seeing The Grand Canyon again was amazing and I got a new hiking patch for my bag!
Happy Camping

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Posted in travel by lucysbeau on August 17th, 2011 at 11:37 PM.

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2 Replies

  1. james r waddell Aug 18th 2011

    Great post, David…although, I now need a shower after reading about the gum tree…

  2. Fred Long Aug 23rd 2011

    That darn squirrel :) What a good time camping and seeing the stars. Let’s find another place to camp out :)