Beyond the Rim of the World

Travel 24/10/2012: Las Vegas, NV – Kingman, AZ – Flagstaff, AZ
Travel 25/10/2012: Flagstaff, AZ – Grand Canyon National Park, AZ – Kayenta, AZ

There are many ways to see the Grand Canyon. After all it is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,000 feet / 1,800 metres)…Pookaverse loves you Wikipedia.  One option is to go from Las Vegas on a coach tour. Or if you are flush or lucky, helicopter. This ride will take you to the extreme West of the Grand Canyon. This area contains the Grand Canyon Skywalk – owned and operated by the  Hualapai Indian tribe and open to the public since March 28 2007.

The tarmac path is left for the first time…shortly after the screaming ab-dabs started to set in…

Pookaverses passage East involved bypassing this aspect of the Grand Canyon. A drive from Las Vegas via Kingman, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ. And a delightful use of space in the hotel La Quinta on the outskirts of Flagstaff, AZ. The temperature dropped significantly and has remained below seasonal norms all the way to Albuquerque. The purpose was to approach the Grand Canyon from the South Rim which is said to command spectacular views.

Give me a ‘P’, give me an ‘R’, give me an ‘E’,  give me a ‘C’, give me an ‘I’, give me…oh sod it. It’s HASTILY STEEP

It also gave Pookaverse the opportunity to visit the National Park Headquarters at Grand Canyon, obtain a commemorative stamp for the National Parks passbook that has been religiously updated since its purchase at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and buy some of the excellent retro 1930’s National Park postcards – the only souvenirs that a baggage allowance and the clarifying soul will permit.

Alison walking one of the ‘safer’ parts of the South Rim…images of the less safe parts have been burned onto the hoom amygdala in ab-dab strength terror.

Note also that Pookaverse has developed an unhealthy obsession with the collection of stamps for the passbook. It must be stamped correctly. It must be stamped evenly. It must be stamped.

An 83-mile drive from Flagstaff to the National Park entrance and quite the most miserable disappointing Park Ranger greeting yet received. Everyone has a bad day, but shame on you Sir! Pookaverse looks up to National Park Rangers.

You exemplify what is good and decent in humanity’s attempt to occupy this inhospitable planet without destroying all that is beautiful and wild. Ever think that human beings are not compatible with this planet? I mean. You can breathe – but surely that does not necessarily suggest compatibility, does it?

Go on. Hold your breath. That’s it. Look around you. It’s a dead wor-…..I digress.

Tree’s and plants cling to every rock, every crevice and survive…How? It is a lesson for us all…

The Grand Canyon National Park is another example of how well managed these natural reserves are  – carefully counterbalancing the natural with the unnatural incursion of over 4.3 million visitors in 2011.

The natural and man-made are sympathetically integrated within the Grand Canyon Village. With hindsight, and given the relatively low seasonal prices, Pookaverse would have happily stayed in the village for a night instead of driving on to Kayenta, AZ. If the cards fall the same way for you – consider it.

Free shuttle buses powered by natural gas ferry visitors either East via Mather Point to Yaki Point or West via a transfer to Hermits Rest. Pookaverse opted to travel West to Hermit’s Rest. And then to walk back East to the Transfer Point and Grand Canyon Village along the South Rim Trail. It all makes a bit more sense when you look at 2012SRsummer-guidemap_letter.

Even with a Fence. You could just slip under and it would take you at terminal velocity of approximately 124 feet per second at 3000 feet …errr….24.9 seconds to ‘stop’…taking into account air resistance

Pookaverse wanted a walk around the South rim of the Grand Canyon and that is exactly what Pookaverse got. It started well. With tarmac.

A tarmac path with views over 10 feet away into this breathtaking, magnificent expanse. It was when the tarmac suspended. And then it’s just a dusty trail. And then its just a dusty trail without a fence with a 3000 foot drop to the valley floor below.

Both hooms manage heights. We both walked out onto the skydeck at Willis Tower, Chicago. We have shown you the pictures. But there are heights and there are heights. Just as there is ‘Deep’ and their is ‘Vast’.  Put those two together and you have a formidable abyss. You have the Grand Canyon.

The colours of  siltstone deposits are more apparent  at this distance. Further out they are difficult to distinguish due to the heat haze or drifting pollution.

These are like no heights you have experienced. The mighty Colorado River below just a thread. It’s rapids at Monument Creek Vista can be heard. And seen. Those rapids are designated by the National Park as an 8/10 difficulty. Those gentle little white horses down there? Pah!

The term precipitous can be fully understood in terms of path and life. At times the only place to look was at the comforting tarmac road – adjacent right – up to 20 feet away.

Look at me everyone…(Sing-song) I’m a f*ck-ing Con-dor. With my large wingspan and soft, flabby pink gizzard I can soar on the therm-…Hey…

Or touch a tree. Withering thoughts of standing on a rocky outcrop for a photograph. Arms pin wheeling backwards into eternity. The colors? See for yourself.

The beguiling ‘Shark’s Fin’ (cannot find the name of it, Oh Goddamit Wiki!) plays with light and shadow as we circle its aspect.

An unforgettable experience. Forced into silence. And a memory of those terrible depths to magnificent heights. Verbose? Don’t take Pookaverse’s word for it. Come to this place. see for yourself. Take that 5.8 mile rim walk.

Witness the splendor and experience the terror. Come and See…

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2 Responses to “Beyond the Rim of the World”

  1. Terri and Andrew Says:

    Thanks for your many updates and stunning photos. We hope you are well and continue to enjoy the adventures. We have had a great weekend with Sue and Jim visiting …we went to our favourite place for supper last night where we took you when you stayed with us. Brillant food again, recalled our time their with you both.
    Take care lots of love,
    Terri and Andrew xx

  2. Rebecca (with Thompson looking over my shoulder) Says:

    I used to be a librarian so I totally understand the importance of stamping. All my stampings were straight and even. Glad to hear you are having such exciting experiences.
    Rebecca x

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