Life after Work

Birthday Weekend

Looking into the Canyon near Mather Point, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

We left around 6 AM on Saturday morning for the Grand Canyon. John was really worried about the weather because a lot of snow was expected at the South Rim but we arrived just fine, although the last miles were tense for him. (Since it has been many years that he’s driven in snow on a relatively regular basis it makes him awfully nervous now.) As it turned out, the canyon was filled with fog and the barely visible. This was somewhat disappointing for many visitors but intriguing for us. After visiting this place so many times in bright sunlight, the shrouded mystery was quite a treat.

Instead of braving one of the trails into the canyon we decided to take it easy and, after lunch at El Tovar, took a stroll on the Rim Trail. At some point, when the fog in the canyon parted a little, John whipped out our checkbook and we celebrated a very special event – no, not my birthday, but the signing of the check for the down payment to our Grand Canyon dory trip in October 2010!  After the check was securely tucked away in John’s pocket we continued our hike to Mather Point, by which time the sun was setting somewhere behind the cloud layer and we headed over to the visitor center tram stop for a ride back to the Bright Angel Lodge, our accommodations. We had dinner at the Arizona Room, a first for us – this place has been either closed when we were visiting so far, or we were just throwing ourselves at the El Tovar because of the views and atmosphere in that classy lodge. After a good dinner we found ourselves rather sleepy – a week of short nights had taken its toll. We retired to our room in the Powell Lodge of the Bright Angel Lodge and were soon asleep.

I’d like to say we had a good night of sleep but sadly, that wasn’t the case. For one, their beds are really short. Even my feet were hanging over the edge! Then, the room temperature was difficult to adjust (maybe an old boiler and plumbing are to blame here), it was soon too hot for us and the only way to get the room to cool off was to lift one of the windows, which caused it to rattle in the wind every few seconds. So while we got sleep, it wasn’t as relaxing and rejuvenating as we would have hoped. Nonetheless we got up in good spirits and packed up, ready to go have hot chocolates (the best in the world!) and breakfast at El Tovar. We grabbed our jackets and bags, left our keys in the room and headed out the door, only to find out that not only was it snowing, the winds had picked up quite a bit and the snow felt like needles on our faces. Even our balaclavas that we quickly donned weren’t helping much and we were wondering how much more snow we could expect. Would we have problems getting home? We decided to play it safe. After breakfast at the Bright Angel Lodge dining room we started our drive home in semi-blizzard conditions. The first 25 miles were very stressful for John, then, as we reached lower altitudes the roads were cleared and the snow turned into rain. To avoid more snowy roads we headed west on the I-40 and returned home via Prescott rather than driving through Flagstaff.

As we got home in the afternoon I had enough time to finish the first round of carding of my black alpaca fleece and almost got done with John’s first sock!

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