Saturday, October 15, 2011

Arrived at the Grand Canyon

I haven't posted since the morning of the 12th so I do need to catch up. We are now at Mather Campground of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We had not planned on arriving here until tomorrow, but we decided to come on because if I wanted to be successful at getting a permit to camp at Indian Garden, I needed to be at the Backcountry office before 8:00 am. We do not have to be at Phantom Ranch until late afternoon on Tuesday so Janie and Mason Honeycutt and I had decided that we wanted to hike down to Indian Garden on Monday, set up camp and then go out to Plateau Point at sunset. Then we would hike on down to Phantom on Tuesday. In order to do that we would need a permit and the only (usually) way to get one is to apply four months in advance or be in line when the office opens on the day prior to when the permit is needed. This is because they do hold back a few "walk up" permits. Even if I were to follow that procedure, our chances of getting a permit are not good.
Hopefully, my chance encounter with a ranger will help us get the permit. It so happens that just when we pulled into the campground a ranger that I had met on a previous service project pulled up. I spoke with her and explained what we wanted to do. She was already aware that someone (I had called the backcountry office last week) was trying to get a permit. She said she thought she could get one for us and I am to go by the office in the morning and they should have a permit for us. I hope this works out!

Before leaving Durango, we spent time on Thursday exploring Silverton. We have been there many times, but on that day the weather was absolutely beautiful. The trees were a bit past peak, but they were still amazing.

While in Silverton we were admiring the Wyman Hotel exterior and decided to go in and look around. The desk clerk was very kind and after talking with her for a bit we soon discovered that we had much in common as she is a retired teacher from TX. The more we talked, the more we had in common and we soon learned that the owner of the hotel is an avid ultra runner and very active with the Hard Rock 100
While I was upstairs touring the unoccupied rooms, Hollie stayed downstairs to continue to talk to the lady. When I got back down, there was the owner. We talked with him for quite a long time and  I ended up breaking one of my self imposed rules of running shirts. I almost never buy or wear a shirt from a race that I have not run or served as a volunteer. I asked if he had any extra shirts that I could buy, thinking that I would get one for my son. He did have shirts, but only smaller sizes so I bought 3 from different races---for myself. They are tech shirts and I just could not resist the price. I can rationalize by saying that a race sponsor gave them to me (at a big discount) and that I do plan to return to Silverton and serve as a volunteer for the race---I just don’t know when that will be.
Yesterday was my last workout for the canyon hike. I walked up/down/around the Fort Lewis College campus. The school is situated high above Durango and there are dirt trails all around it. I walked 8.25 miles and now I am in taper mode.
On today's drive from Durango, we passed through Tuba City, AZ and they were having some sort of fair/celebration. There were people everywhere and considering that Tuba City is in the middle of "no where" it was surprising to so many people. I'll have to research this to determine exactly what it was all about.
The next two days I will probably play tourist and do the non hiking things such as going out to the various viewpoints and taking pictures. I'll try to post some of them tomorrow.

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