Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 3 - The Grand Canyon Interrupted

The Grand Canyon is very appropriately named.

It is one of the most spectacularly beautiful things I have ever seen.

Harsh and unforgiving, peaceful and serene.

And today we got to see it for 10 whole minutes.

The next leg of our trip takes us through the Mojave desert.  We were willing to drive in the mountains with the windows open, but Death Valley, not so much.

Which is why we had to pack up and drive the 90 minutes back into Flagstaff on our only full day at the canyon to get the generator repaired.

A pink taxi took us to Walmart for some groceries and then we walked over to Cracker Barrel for lunch.  I had never been to a Cracker Barrel which is probably why until now I had occasionally referred to it as Crate and Barrel.  

They are NOT the same thing just in case you were wondering.

I think I have found the place where my mother does all of her stocking stuffer shopping.
Cracker Barrel not Crate and Barrel.

So after the repairs were done we drove back to the Canyon where we 
proceeded to make the most of the time we had.

As we got close to the campground we ran into a traffic jam caused by 
this guy and some of his buddies.  It made me hungry.  

We got the camper parked and high-tailed it for the canyon rim visitors center.

The Wee Ones were set on becoming Junior Rangers and had to pick up their handbooks.  

This is an awesome program for kids of any age that aren't too cool to 
write haiku about the Grand Canyon.

They have to complete age appropriate tasks and attend one ranger led activity after which they pledge to be a friend to the earth, tell everyone about the wonders of the Grand Canyon and promise not to ask "are we there yet" for the rest of the trip. 

Miss Thing chose to play Grand Canyon Bingo as one of her activities.
She had to mark items on the bingo board that she had seen.

One of the items was a park ranger hat.

None of the rangers were wearing theirs so she grabbed this Ranger and 
asked him to please go get his so she could mark it on her board.

He was willing and so the games continued.

Ranger Nancy was hosting a kids sunset walk that counted as the "Ranger Led" 
requirement and so we made our way to the meeting point.
They have water stations around the rim for you to fill up your bottles rather than use the throw away kind.  It's the souvenir that keeps giving, and it tasted good too.

This is Ranger Nancy.

She is very nice and very funny.

We all had a great time on the walk learning about the Ancient Puebloans who lived in the canyon 12,000 years ago and hunted mastodons with spears as big as your hand and then we played charades.  Hero Husband and Super Son acted out "Hunting". 

It was a real stretch, let me tell you.

She also told us all about the Civilian Conservation Corp that was created after the Great Depression to help create jobs.  They were responsible for much of the infrastructure that we were lucky enough to use.  The boys and men that signed up were paid $1 per day for their work and were required to send home at least $25 each month.

This was about the same time that the Harvey Girls were staffing the railway 
station at the Grand Canyon providing food to travelers when they arrived.  

Did I mention that Harvey Girls were cute, young and single.

They lived in this dorm 75 yards from the rim of the canyon

 Ranger Nancy told us about one of the young men from the Corp who fell in love with one of the Harvey Girls.  He was too poor to buy her much, but he was a mason and so he carved a stone into the shape of a heart and set it into the stone wall he was building.  The spot on the wall was visible from her window.  Each time she looked out her window she would see the symbol of his love.

  Knowing he would never be able to buy her a diamond a little further down the path he carved her one and set in into the wall.

It's pretty understandable. 

I can see why it would be easy to fall in love in a place like this.

I feel a little in love myself

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