Yesterday I left the Grand Canyon, but slower than I had expected. Even though having hiked down below the rim and seeing the canyon in a way that, according to a park ranger I spoke with, only 1% of all visitors see; I hadn’t seen it all. I had entered from the south and was leaving towards the east. I stopped many times along my east rim drive to take in the views. There was no zipping out of the canyon on my way to Utah. I didn’t know it at the time but my many stops would nearly cost me a campsite near Moab. But I now know that my being only focused on the panoramic views without concern to my destination (I didn’t realize it was the Memorial Day weekend) was purposed for reasons I could not have guessed.
Most of my pictures during my travels, except the canyon shots, were taken while driving. Don’t worry honey, I arrived safe : ) These pictures cannot begin to reflect what I was taking in during my trip. Each mile presented sculpted landscapes different from the the last mile. Each with it’s own pallet of colors and textures. The variety was beyond my imagining before I saw them. I know I I have seen many western miles roll past me when I was young, but youth doesn’t have the experience to anchor such beauty in the mind. Even the places I traveled that would have appeared barren and boring in my youth I found to contain beauty enough to make me want to stop and explore.
Entering Moab, some 328 miles after leaving the Grand Canyon, was also an experience. There is something of Flagstaff, in it’s nature; only dryer and the building less tall. It is a pretty town, with some sense of quaintness in spite of the many (emphasis on many) tourist like myself.
I stopped at the visitor’s center to find where the various camp grounds were located. The guide I spoke to, one of many on hand, basically said “No way.” when I asked about camping with showers. They were all filled. He saw my quisicall look and said “Tomorrow was the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend.” I had lost track of the days, which was kinda nice except for this moment in time. I was directed to a primitive camp ground, that hadn’t yet reported it was full, about 18 miles out of town. This and several others in the area are managed by the Bureau of Land Management. I rushed out the the site, again being assaulted by the amazing landscapes constantly changing. Whew, I found a campsite. I set up my tent and went to fill-in the envelope to save my site but could not find my pen anywhere: my only writing utensil. I went to a campsite behind me and asked to borrow a pen. I was given two to keep. This is how I met Eric and Shaw, and a little later four children (I will ad names to their picture later).
This was Eric and Shaw’s first time to Moab but the second time each left wives at home but brought there children along. Thus husband and wives each got a vacation. both men had two daughters with them, when I finally got to meat them I saw something I observed while visiting the Grand Canyon; confidence. I noted while on my hike into and out of the canyon that many of the young girls I met traveling alone with their fathers (or at least hiking with their fathers) were very self confident; not afraid to look me in the eye when I said “Hi”, as I did to most passers by. I made a personal note, wondering if this was a direct result of involvement by fathers in their daughters lives. I think so, and hope I was not as negligent in this as I think I may have been with my own daughter. I am proud of how she has turned out: the person she is and the wife and mother she is has become.You can see the photo of Eric, Shaw and their daughters below.
Now about that campsite I chose. When I went to put the paper stub onto the post to show this site was takenthe space was already filled with the dates marked 5/26 – 5/30. while looking for a site I noted that when no one was at a site often some camping gear was, so when I say a site empty of gear i grabbed it. It was about to get dark, so I quickly pulled down my tent, no folding mind you, I just crumpled it into a large ball of crinkly material, threw it in the car and started driving around the campgrounds. There were fifty eight sites and three sites from the end of the final loop I found a site: empty of gear and no tell-tell paper. Another “Whew” but bigger than the last one.
I quickly filled out my envelope, put in the $24 for two nights, placed my paper stub on the post to stake out my territory and began to walk to the “pipe safe” to place my money in it. It was a short walk: two more sites and then it’s out of the campgrounds. Ahead of me I saw, a couple get out of their car stopped on the road and say something I couldn’t hear. Something in their posture told me they couldn’t find a site and at the same time I knew I needed to offer space at mine. They got in their and began driving away with me in chase: sandals are not recommended fort out running a car. They stopped, I’m sure wondering why this mad man was hollering at them to stop. I asked if they were looking for a site but couldn’t find one and they confirmed. I told them what site I was at and that I was more than happy to share it and that I would meet them there once I drop off my money. Two nights we will share a site together so more on them later: with names and pictures of course ;-)
I want to thank everone who has posted comments. I am encouraged by them and it provides a connect to family and friends. Please don’t feel offended if I don’t respond to many of them, I have found just getting a post written to take more time than expected.
Leaving the Grand Canyon
On the road to Utah
One quick note: