3.25.2009

Grand Canyon














The squirrels in the Grand Canyon are comically tame. Take this one in the above picture , for instance. Some hiker had left a banana on a rock on the trail and this little guy was meticulously peeling it to reach the pulp. A crowd gathered (including me) to take pictures and gawk. The squirrel didn't care. He went on with his business. I held my camera 5-6 inches from his head for that picture.














Then there was this dude (ABOVE). I hiked down into the canyon and rested at the bottom. While sitting there drinking water and eating nuts, enjoying the view, I noticed a flurry of movement between my legs. The squirrel was scrounging around under my knees! I jumped up and he ran off but soon came back for the above photograph.

The Grand Canyon is pretty damn cool. I mean - it's big. It's fucking huge. The park itself is the most built-up, touristy national park I've visited yet. This park has its own free shuttle bus system. It has resorts, restaurants, museums, and campgrounds. The entranceway consists of 5 tolls and they were all backed-up when I pulled through.

I have some gripes with the campground end. You're charged $25 to enter the park. That gets you a 7-day pass. But in order to camp overnight, it's $18 / night, on top of the entrance fee. And that's 18 bucks for some damn primitive camping. No hook-ups, narrow, potholed roads, and heavily-vandalized bathrooms which don't have soap. That's right, no soap. I don't mean that they'd run out - I mean there wasn't even a fucking dispenser on the wall. Just 2 toilets and 2 sinks and the sinks only squirt out cold water in timed bursts.

There's a showerhouse which costs $2 per 8 minutes of showering. Are you getting the idea? You just paid $25 to drive in, $18 for a parking space jammed in between other campers, and these fuckers can't find it in their budget to stock the bathrooms with HANDSOAP???

Ok, I needed to get that off my chest. I'm glad I went to the park, as costly as it was. The first day I walked up and down the North Rim (didn't get all the way in either direction - it's long) then turned in early. The next day I hiked down into the canyon. It's 3 miles down and then 3 miles straight-up. The trail was packed with all sorts of hikers.... hikers who looked like they'd just stepped out of an REI dressing room, hikers wearing white speckless Keds and button-down shirts, child hikers, teenage hikers, old people hikers... and none of these surface traits could predict who was going to handle the hike comfortably, and who was going to be pulling over every 5 minutes gasping in agony.















On the first day, I was lucky enough to witness a snow/hail storm raging across the canyon. Check out the picture below. Doesn't it look prehistoric? It was all ooh's and aah's until the hail pummeled the sight-seeing area and everybody ran helter skelter for cover.


































Thanks for reading!

3 comments:

hangingout said...

Fantastic shot of the tree in front of the canyon

alexisv said...

Wow, it does look prehistoric. The squirrels at Yosemite are equally tame. Or just aggressive... when Chris and I hiked up Half Dome there were a few tearing into some poor shmuck's bag. It had been hidden behind a log, but not hidden enough. Strange when the threat isn't from human theft but from a rodent.

Anonymous said...

Justin, LOVED the pix, especially the squirrel...Wish I could have been there with you! Anon mom