Another Great Southwestern Tour

Unstable_Tripod

Well, there's your problem!
May 20, 2008
14,278
Seattle, Washington
5-20: While sitting by the fire last night I thought it was getting pretty chilly pretty fast. When I woke up at 5:00 AM it was 36 degrees -- the overnight low might have been colder. I was very glad that I'd put the Reflectix liner in the bunk end when I set up. I ate breakfast and then had a long conversation with NJGuy.

At noon I went into the park and found no traffic problem at the gate. It took about one minute to get through. After getting some beer and loading it into the cooler in the truck I took a west-bound Blue Route shuttle bus out to the Hermit's Rest Route Transfer point (not far from Bright Angel Lodge) where I caught the Red Route out to Hermit's Rest at the end of the line. I wanted to see Hermit's Rest because it is was built by the same architect who built the Watchtower at Desert View: Mary Colter. It was built to look like a rock outcropping and therefore blend into the landscape. It does that and is very interesting but I like the Watchtower better. I also did some photography out there. On the way back I had to wait at the Red/Blue transfer point while four Blue busses came and departed. This was because there was such a huge crowd seeking transportation back to the Market. One good thing about waiting is that you can strike up interesting conversations with others.

The Tusayan airport is not far from TEN-X so on the way back to camp I stopped to check on helicopter tours over the canyon. I wanted a sunset flight but found out that the Park Service won't allow sunset or sunrise flights. The last flight of the day is 5:00 PM. It had been very windy all day and the choppers were grounded anyway. I reserved a 5:00 PM flight the next day and then returned to camp. After dinner NJGuy and I had another fire but we broke it up at 9:90 this time. I was tired and it was getting cold.

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Unstable_Tripod

Well, there's your problem!
May 20, 2008
14,278
Seattle, Washington
5-21: I woke up at 4:00 AM and checked the weather station. (It gives inside and outside temperatures and humidity. I keep it on my "bedside table.") It was 31 degrees. I rolled over and slept until 7:00. I had set the furnace higher than the previous night and was a lot more comfortable. When I got up I saw the day was bright and clear. The wind had dropped back to a gentle breeze. After coffee and breakfast NJGuy and I had a long conversation about all sorts of things, then I showered, shaved and got all "gussied up" for my chopper ride later that day -- and to meet kitphantom, too. She was arriving at Mather and would be joining us for dinner.

While I was checking my camera gear for the flight a TrailManor came in. I think the people were as surprised to see us as we were to see them. I decided to walk over and chat with them after they set up but they came to see us instead. This was a "small world" situation. It turns out that they were from Washington, lived in the next town over from me; the guy was born in St. Paul, MN like me and graduated from a high school on the other side of town the same year I did.

I did the helicopter ride and enjoyed it tremendously. It was the first time I'd been up in one. Part of the enjoyment came from getting the primo seat: the outside right front. These helicopters carry six including the pilot, who sits on the left like in a car. Positions in the two front and three rear seats are determined by the staff for weight and balance. I had an unobstructed view out the front, right side, top and bottom. This helped me get some nice shots.

The flight lasted about 50 minutes. We left Tusayan, flew to the South Rim, over the canyon and looped over the North Rim to the west. Then we re-crossed the canyon and returned to Tusayan. Everyone has a headset and microphone and is on the same channel so all hear what anyone says. The pilot has access to another channel for conversations with the base. As we approached the South Rim, flying a few hundred feet above the Kaibab National Forest, the pilot said, "I have a piece of music I always like to play at this point." He put on "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" (aka the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) and timed it so the big crescendo occurred just as we crossed the edge of the rim. On the way back we were flying below the rim and right toward the wall, only to pop up above it at the last minute. Overall it was a great time. My only negative comment would be that we spent more of our time getting to and from the canyon than I expected.

The company, Papillon, has several of these helicopters. This one is identical to the one I flew in. It left shortly before we did.
GCanChopper1pic.jpg


The staff photographs each person before they board the helicopter. Here I am with camera in hand and ready to go. The yellow pouch is a flotation device that they make everyone wear because part of the flight is over water (the Colorado River).
TomChopperPic.jpg


Here are a couple of aerial shots of the canyon I took during the flight.
GCanAerial1NEFpic.jpg


GCanAerial2NEFpic.jpg


After we landed I made the short drive back to camp, getting there a few minutes after 6:00. kitphantom had already arrived at NJGuy's site and we had a great time together for dinner. Our time together ended all too soon as she had to leave at 7:30. NJGuy and I decided not to have a fire because we were both a bit tired and cold. I read in the trailer until 9:00, then turned the light off and slept straight through until 7:20 AM.

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Unstable_Tripod

Well, there's your problem!
May 20, 2008
14,278
Seattle, Washington
5-22: I woke up at 2:00 AM and checked the temperature. It was 26 degrees! No wonder the furnace ran so much. The days have been in the high 60s and low 70s. I got up at 7:20, had coffee and breakfast, then talked with NJGuy a while. After that I went into the park and had lunch at the Yavipi Cafe. They used to have free wi-fi but I found they have changed that. Now a screen comes up that asks if you are a guest or employee. If a guest, you use your room number to get in, if an employee, your ID number. If you are neither they offer to let you buy time with your credit card. I declined.

After lunch I went to the Visitor's Center and then drove the rim road east to Pipe Creek Vista where I just sat for a while "soaking up" the view and meditating. I also took a few series of images to create some HDR (high dynamic range) shots. Here's an example of one of them.

PipeCreekPMXHDR1pic.jpg


I stopped at the McDonald's in Tusayan on the way back to get on the 'net and then returned to TEN-X where I visited with the other TrailManor owners for an hour or so. That evening NJGuy and I had our final fire. I was going to be gone on the Mule ride the next two days and he was leaving the next morning.

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ChocoChock01

On the road aagaain See Rallies below;
Mar 7, 2012
4,027
Unstable_Tripod said:
That's a good question Brian. I don't know. I saw nothing in the literature they handed out or the displays in the Visitor's Center that addressed that point. Remember also that these dwellings were originally covered with wood and that entry was via a "trap door" in the ceiling. I suspect they probably handled it the way the many other cultures did: with a chamber pot that was dumped every morning.
Here is a solution they used in Irish castles @(4:13)
Castles on top of Castles on top of Castles!!! (6.19.11)
 

NJGuy

Super Active Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,353
UT is taking a break from the forum. He wanted to spent more time on other interests.
 




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