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Day 16 :: October 04, 2004: 01:57 PM

Sunday, October 3rd

Day Sixteen

I woke up at the very time church would be starting back home: local time was 7:30 a.m. This would be our last day at the Grand Canyon and we still had things we wanted to do.

We had started doing the rim trail. We had done the easternmost part just after arriving. We had done the westernmost part on Friday. There remained an easy, paved trail close to the visitor centers and stores and one area less easy to walk just west of the main tourist area. So we set off to do that part, from Hopi point to Grand Canyon Village.

We took care to ride in the front part of the shuttle this time.

The shuttle buses in this area, because it is popular, especially at sunset, have a short front part and a trailing section. Friday we rode in the trailer at my insistence, in the back seat to be precise. I have never experienced anything so bumpy in my life. The old wagon trains, when rushing downhill must have felt like that!

When the girls were young and we were pushing them in their strollers over pebbles or cobblestones we would encourage them to say “ahhhh” and enjoy the warbly sound they made. So that’s what I did, between laughing hysterically. It struck me as hilarious. Mike sort-of looked on in wonder and a young woman up front gave me a haughty look but what did I care? I just ahhhh-ed on and enjoyed the ride.

Mike refused to do it again. He said it hurt his insides and his back. Probably true. I suggested he rush and tell people not to get in the trailer. He seemed to think they needed to find out for themselves.

It was a much warmer day and the sun very bright. At a couple of the overlooks tour buses spilled out their passengers and we hid till they had gone so we could enjoy the place in peace. At one point you walk past an old uranium mine which the Park only acquired in 1988. It mined the nation’s finest uranium ore and was before that a silver and valadium mine.

We walked and gazed for about four hours, went back to the site for a very late lunch (soup from a Safeways!) and then to Tusayan to try again at downloading the blog: success (apart from the order…11 really should come between 10 and 12.)

We got to the park in time for sunset which at first looked cloudy but which turned out okay. The best site is a shuttle bus ride away and we had decided we would rather not do it than stand with a crowd, but we found a quieter spot we could drive to.

Back at the site I started packing things up and Mike cooked dinner and we had English cider, also from Safeway’s in Flagstaff. After it was dark and the moon rising, we went back to take a look at the canyon by moonlight. The sky was clear, the stars awesome and visible to the horizon in each direction. The howling wind in the canyon sounded like a stormy seashore and we could see the lights of the Lodge on the North rim and a light in the bottom of the canyon at Indian Garden ` where some of the hikers we saw leaving today on Bright Angel Trail would be spending the night (you are not supposed to try and go down and back in one day – it has, literally, killed people.)

One of the strange things about life at this altitude is the way packaging responds to the air pressure. There is a newish item on the store shelves, cups of mini cookies that have a foil top. They don’t stand up in the store here. The tops and bottoms are so bulged they wobble over. Yogurt tops bulge out too making them look very suspect, as do those thin tubes of peanuts which are round and tight: stuff I never thought about.

Tomorrow we move on to the Petrified Forest.

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