Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Oh How Grand It Is! - Page, AZ & The Grand Canyon

We left Zion in the late morning and headed out of the park, unfortunately we didn’t realize at the time that the GPS was taking us on a crazy route. I was already a little suspicious though because a couple days before in Zion we saw a sign that said Grand Canyon going the opposite way. It was when it had us turn down this back country side road that I started getting weirded out. It then preceded to take us on a very vertical dirt road. That is when I protested because there was no way in hell my car would have made it up that road. 

I made Finnley turn around and we headed back toward the park. I realized it was doing that because we had toll roads off and it considered the park road a toll road even though we were already inside of it. Anyhow nice detour and view of some BLM land, but we got on our way in the right direction. We were heading to Page, Arizona because we didn’t feel like driving very far and one of the guys we met in New York suggested it. 

There are a couple amazing things to see in Page, Arizona: Glen Canyon and it’s dam, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend. Unfortunately we only got to see Glen Canyon, but it was really beautiful. I thought I saw Horseshoe Bend from afar when we drove by, but I’m not sure. We stopped at a scenic view point on the drive in that had a nice view of Glen Canyon and the river. It was so windy up there it was pushing us around. Finnley even used his jacket to make him stand diagonally on a rock. It was funny so he made me tape him. 

It is a shame we didn’t get to see Antelope Canyon because it looks freaking amazing. I think it is one of the most photographed places. It’s a slot canyon that has the most lovely formations and colored rock layers. Unfortunately you have to pay a Navajo guide to take you through which is like $20 a person and while it would have been way worth it  we were lacking funds and time to go see it. Page was only going to be a one night stop for us before we headed to the Grand Canyon, but Antelope Canyon is definitely on my list of places I must see in the future. 

I booked a cheap motel in Page and we settled in and got showers before heading out to eat. We found this little Chinese/American restaurant and ate there. They had very good homemade ranch dressing. Afterwards we went to the Safeway in town and I got some ice cream and soda. That night we stayed up and watched a bunch of funny movies. Comedy Central must have been having an Eddie Murphy marathon because they were all his old movies except Happy Gilmore which was the last one they played. I forgot how funny Eddie Murphy used to be. I was cracking up all night at Life. 

The next morning we had our complementary breakfast and packed our things. We got an early start for the Grand Canyon because we needed to get supplies from the local Walmart before we went camping. We also picked up wood from the gas station Maverick. Judging from all the wood we have been buying they have the cheapest wood around if your just buying by the bundle: $4/bundle, that’s cheaper than Walmart. However I only saw that brand of gas station in Utah and Arizona. 

The drive was pretty cool. It mostly consisted off Navajo desert land. It was cool because there were these little huts that the Navajo sell their jewelry and other crafts in all along the roads to the Grand Canyon. I wanted to stop at them, but it never looked like they were there. Something strange we noticed about some buildings around there are these giants black and white paintings/graffitis/pictures of babies and baby faces. I’m sure it had to mean something because we saw them in places hours from each other, but we were like “huh?”

We arrived at the East Entrance of the Grand Canyon around 1pm and stopped at the first scenic view point. It was an amazing sight to see and was a lot bigger than I thought. Of course the first thing that happens when we get there is a girl drops her valuable item, I have no idea what is was, onto a ledge over the fence line. The poor thing was trying to reach her arm through and grab it as hard as possible, but to no avail. So I’m thinking Finnley better not go playing superman over here because I know he tends to feel compelled to do so. However I started looking at it more and it was literally right there and the drop wasn’t that far below it and there was a sturdy fence to hold on to. So at this point I’m thinking about getting it for her, when Mr. Superman jumped over and got it as she squealed in terror. Luckily nothing bad happened, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone do thatever.

At this view point there was also a tower that was built in the 1930s that you could climb up. It was cool because it was Native American themed and had a store at the bottom. The view from it was also really neat. When we climbed down we looked around the gift shop and then hurried over to the campground to set up. It was all the way on the South end of the park so we had a bit of a drive, but it was cool getting to see all the view points along the way. 

We got our camp ready before sun down and relaxed for a little. This campground wasn’t what I was expecting. I had no idea how much forest land was around the Grand Canyon. I thought it was all desert. We had a nice big camp spot under some pine trees and behind us a road. There weren’t many people at this campground, but there were enough to make me feel comfortable. 

After we got all settled in I felt like going for a walk so we headed over to this short trail that went along the canyon to watch the sunset. Now ironic to me as it was, this was the coldest place we had been to. I was freezing all the time, it didn’t matter if the sun was shining. I was fully cold weather geared up so I’m sure Finnley just loved walking around with me in public looking like a crazy Floridian in a huge down jacket when there was a bunch of Northerners and people from other countries there in shorts.

Now I was not a fan of this trail at all. It was soooo terrifying and in a lot of spots there weren’t even railings. Seriously this thing is so big and vast and majestic and awe-inspiring I just couldn’t process it. Looking at it, all I felt was fear and like I was going to fall and like what the heck am I looking at! It’s crazy and looking at it makes me feel crazy! It really freaked me out. I couldn’t even get close to the ledge and would freak out every time Finnley or someone else did. At one point there was this guy and he literally walked right up to this tiny rock ledge and stood right of the very tip end. I thought I was going to witness his death. I had to turn away. That place stressed me out so bad I couldn’t stay for very long. I just felt like no matter where I was the whole cliffside was going to just fall off and yet I couldn’t stop staring at it. I just kept saying “I can’t process this”. Finnley enjoyed himself even though I wouldn’t let him do the stupid stuff he wanted to do. 

When we got back to camp it was almost dark and the temperatures were dropping fast.  While Finnley was making dinner I was freezing my butt off so I decided to start the fire myself. This was my first time making a fire lol. I did good at first until later in the night I over poked it and made it go out. It was funny because I always call Finnley the fiddler because he never stops poking and fiddling with the fire, but he never made any fires go out! So I guess I’m a fiddler too. We relaxed by the fire for a while and then got ready for bed. 

The weather that night called for some unfortunately low temperatures so we really geared up this time. I had my 0 degree sleeping bag, foot heaters, body heaters, a fleece blanket, gloves, wool socks, long johns, fleece shirt and pants, a nylon sweater, a down jacket, and a hat. I have never felt so miserable and claustrophobic in my life. I even had a mini meltdown/ freakout panic attack because I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was getting carbon monoxide poisoning from the heater so I had to get out of my bag and crawl outside to get some fresh air. 

And I was still cold! We found out the next day that it got to 19 degrees. That shit is not okay. I seriously don’t understand how people live in those conditions. I practically strangle myself with so much clothes and I’m still cold. I always thought that I liked the cold, well that thought has dissipated and is no more. Once it goes past 40s I’m out of there. While I’m having a bitchfest I should also mention the high altitude issue I have. (Disclaimer: I am a Floridian, born and raised) We barely have hills. I didn’t realize how substantially less the oxygen supply is in high altitudes. So not only is it colder, you can’t breath as well. 

Moving on... so basically I had a sucky night, but got up optimistic for the sun was out and the ravens crowing. Now when I actually woke up from sleeping it wasn’t that way. The whole tent was frozen, my car was frozen, I was frozen. Not so cute. It took me at least an hour to muster up the strength to move. After breakfast Finnley and I tried to decide what to do for the day. Finnley was dead set on doing a hike down into the canyon. I obviously didn’t want to. I was terrified and feeling my usual lazy. By the time we were done bickering about it, it was already getting late so we just decided to drive around and see what we run into. 

We drove along the main road we came in on and stopped at some scenic view points to take pictures. At one we decided to hang out there for a while and eat a tuna snack. When we were about done and snacking on some Pringles, a curious little raven came over. We were sitting in the car and had the windows down a little. The raven flew to the rock ledge in front of us and started crowing and staring at us. He was so cute. Then he flew in front of us on the ground and started crowing. We were done eating so we tried to leave, but every time we backed up the raven would follow us and fly in front of the car. He wanted food, he was such a little smart guy. 

So Finnley rolled the window all the way down and motioned for him to come closer. The raven flew back up on the rock wall and started walking towards us. I was excited, but got scared because those things have big ass beaks. He seriously just walked right up to the window and was staring at us like “I know you have food, hand it over”. We may or may not have left him a treat. As we drove away we saw him fly to another tree right behind us. We were hoping he would follow, but he went along on his birdy way. 

As we were driving to the next view point a car in front of us abruptly stopped. We looked around and saw to the right of us was at least five awkward lady elks trying to cross the road. The car in front of us let a couple pass before it drove on. We started to move forward as well when we noticed one more elk on the right side of us. This elk looked extremely distressed that it was not with it’s friends and was making these awkward expressions at us, but wouldn’t move. As we started moving again this awkward freak started moving too and so we stopped, so it stopped, and finally we started going and the freak ran alongside the car until we lost sight of it. It was so funny, but I felt bad for it. I never realized how much elk look like llamas.

When we reached the next viewpoint we got out and walked over to the rock wall to take pictures of the canyon beyond it. There was a crazy raven there too walking around. There was also a park ranger who Finnley started talking to. Of course he had to ask about a trail that goes into the canyon and lucky for me there was a trail literally right there, like 14 steps from us that did so. I told Finnley I would only go in a little, but that type of sentiment usually doesn’t process with him. 

We started climbing down the steps and I was already not liking it. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t likable either. I went along however because the view was ridiculous. I knew there was no other way to see the canyon this way. Finnley kept laughing at me because I would get to a point where I would freak out and panic almost to tears and then slowly pick my camera up and start taking pictures; a scenario that went on over and over throughout the trail. As we ventured lower the trail seemed to be getting more and more narrow. The drops seemed to be getting farther and I became slowly unable to move forward. 

The Grand Canyon is truly the most beautiful and terrifying place I’ve ever been in my life, nothing compares. Nothing in my life has ever paralyzed my whole body except my arms that just had to keep taking pictures. I couldn’t process it then and I still can’t. Needless to say I made us turn around after about a half mile. Finnley wasn’t very happy about that, but hey at least we got to do a little. 

After that I was ready to go back to camp and have some lunch. As Finnley made it I called my cousin and talked to her for a little. When we were done eating, I was still on the phone, Finnley and I were hopping around the rocks around our camp site. Finnley looked up and saw this crazy rainbow. It was backwards and only a little rectangle of it shown in the sky. It was really cool looking.

I never mentioned it on here before because I didn’t want to glorify my illogical supernatural beliefs, but throughout this trip the rainbow has been an iconic symbol for me. It has been the symbol that has kept me moving and assured me that everything was going to be okay. So every time one shown in the sky and reflected back into my eyes I knew I was doing the right thing. 

The Grand Canyon was a tough place for me. It was cold, so freaking cold. I was unbelievably uncomfortable, afraid of every turn, so over the whole trip. I missed my parents, my Lola, my personal space, and all the comforts of conventional living even the meaningless ones! and even though the rainbow helped we still only ended up staying two nights.

The rest of the day was fairly calm. We mostly relaxed and then made a fire for evening. This time I left the fire duty to Finnley. We went to bed at our normal early and I once again had an anger/panic/freak out over getting ready for bed and feeling claustrophobic and still ended up freezing my butt off all night. The next morning it was time to hit the road again. Finnley made breakfast and at one point a raven came and tried to steal our whole bag of bread lol. Love those critters. Then we packed everything up and headed to the last place I was interested in, Colorado, but first a stop in Moab, Utah!

Usually nothing exciting happens on the way out of a place, except at the Grand Canyon of course. So basically we were leaving the way we came in and stopping at a couple more view points to check out the scenery. We ended up stopping at the same gift shops we went to before on the way in. I got Finnley an amazing “just hike” shirt and myself a cool ring. The guy who worked at the gift shop was just like Chris Farley; it was so cute. He started telling us all these cool facts about the park. It turned out the trail we climbed down the previous day was the trail they used to take the donkeys down! WTF! no. Anyway he also told us there was a resort down in the canyon and he used to work and live there and you have to hike down to get there. 

We also had a convo about all the people who died there. He said people would do the Thelma and Louise thing and try and drive off the cliff. Also the suicides and people who have just fallen 10 ft and still die. Scary place. Anyhow we ended up going to the snack bar next door to the gift shop (mind you we have already spent an hour doing this). I got a corn dog and Finnley got a taco salad. Something I haven’t mentioned was all around the park we had been seeing this older guy probably in his 40s walking around with this cart on two wheels. When you see someone like that you know that have to have a good story. So we were already really curious. 

Said guy comes walking into the place to get a sandwich and leaves his cart outside. Finnley, the little social butterfly he is, asked him about himself. This beast by the name of Karl Bushby goes on to tell us how he has walked from the tip of South America to Alaska and crossed the Bering Strait! One of only two men to ever do so in history! Got into Russia, got kicked out and now is walking to Washington DC to the Russian Embassy to bring them a letter so he can do it all over again and reach home by using no transport, but the ones god has blessed him with (his legs) to England!!! He has been doing this for 10 years and now National Geographic is following him. 

I had to ask him if there was a particular reason why (people don’t usually like this question, but I asked anyway) and he just said it was like one of those bets you and your friends make at a bar when they say you can’t do something. Fair enough. We talked with him a little longer before we headed off. I was really happy we got to meet him. I have heard of quite a few people who have done those type of things, but never got to meet one in person. If your interested you can check him out at or just type in his name in Youtube and you can see the video of him cross the Bering Strait. 

On the way out I finally got to stop at one of the Navajo store and I bought myself and Finnley ghost bead bracelets and I got a ghost bead necklace for my car :-)

On to the next...

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