I'm out trick or treating. Actually, treating myself to a vacation and hiking somewhere in Death Valley. Have a ghoulish day! Run from all the evil spirits. Light candles, but don’t burn down the house please.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
We said good bye to new made friends from the trail and Phantom Ranch. Our third day on the trail, we headed for the Silver Suspension Bridge to cross the Colorado River and begin our ascent to the South Rim.
Downstream Colorado River
Before the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963 the Spanish named Rio de Colorado carried as much as 380,000 tons (345,000 metric tons) of sediment per day. Today, the river carries only about 40,000 tons (36,300 metric tons) daily. This has caused erosion where deposition should occur.
Upstream – Silver and Black Bridges
The Black Bridge was completed in 1928 allowing people, and mules, to easily cross the Colorado River. The Silver Bridge was constructed in the late 1960s to support the pipeline carrying water from Roaring Springs to the South Rim.
Desert Bighorn Sheep along Colorado River
Only my second sighting of the Bighorn and my first photos! From the South Rim these acrobats are frequently seen jumping from one skimpy ledge to another along the canyon walls. They can scramble up a sheer cliff face at 15mph (24 kmph).
Devils Corkscrew along Bright Angel trail
After 1.6 miles (2.4 km) of relatively easy River Trail we began to climb 1360 feet (414 m) over 3.1 miles (5 km) to Indian Garden Camp by way of the appropriately named Devils Corkscrew back through the Vishnu Schist and desert environment.
Schist with granite and quartz intrusions
Once I got a pace going I didn’t stop very often to take photos.
Indian Garden Camp
After we’d set up camp at Indian Garden we had time to explore the area.
Several seep springs in the area provide adequate water for the large Cottonwoods.
Jan along Garden Creek
And the same creek that watered crops for people from the past offered respite for us.
Jan and Amy
After we had dinner, prepared by Jan, we took another hike to watch the sunset at Plateau Point. No we aren’t masochists; this was only 3 miles (4.8 km) round trip, almost level and no packs. But, again that’s another post.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Ok, so I didn’t really get up early enough for a sunrise.
Yet I’m very good at catching sunset.
To see more skies from around the world, or to share your own, go to Sky Watch Friday by clicking here.
I’m on my way to Death Valley National Park to meet up with fellow Ranger Jeremy (remember the Squirrely Ranger?) I’m sure to have loads to post upon my return in a few days, or more.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
After seven miles hiking through Grand Canyon from Cottonwood camp we were motivated for a cold beer and chocolate. Read more here...
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Mount Saint Helens
February weather gave everything possible in southwest Washington that year. Starting with several feet of snow in the mountains around Mount Saint Helens where I lived as a volunteer for the Forest Service. Next it was ice storms mixed with high winds. Then it warmed up and rained, and rained, and rained.
Ivan and Shannon at nearest wash out
One night we could hear boulders rolling in the reservoir below the house. The next morning Ivan left in his car but returned moments later because the road was washed out. In fact all three roads into our remote area were washed out and we were left on an island.
Evacuation flight over the spillway
Along with four other volunteers, two dogs, a cat, and two birds I was helicoptered out of the compound where we lived. The Forest Service couldn’t leave us there as the generator went down so no well pump. We were all for staying.
Shannon & Gaelyn
A couple days later, Shannon and I were flown back in to gather 200 pounds of our stuff to be lifted out below the helicopter in two large canvas bags. We carefully weighed everything only to discover we’d have needed gold bars to fill the relatively small bags.
The pilots kidded with us through the helmet headphones about dropping one of the bags in the flooded reservoir.
I waited 2.5 months for one of the washouts to be repaired so I could drive my truck out filled with my few belongings.
Second one to drive out
Sally from The (Mis) Adventures of Karl and Sally has started a meme where the past is remembered through sharing old family photographs and this is #21. I love the idea and hope you will too. So join the fun by clicking here.
Monday, October 26, 2009
We left the beautiful Ribbon Falls behind and returned to the canyon’s Sonoran desert. This, the only snake seen along the trail. I would have liked to see the pink rattler found only in the Grand Canyon, from a distance. Read more here.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Cottonwood Camp at 4080 feet (1244 meters) was established in the 1920s as a layover for mule parties coming down from the North Rim. We human mules only carried 25 pound packs down 4170 feet (1275 meters) in 6.8 miles (10.9 km) on Day 1. After coffee and oatmeal, which presumably lightened the load, we felt good and ready for the trail before full sun hit the canyon bottom.
Oza Butte glows under the morning sun
The campground is across from the intersection of The Transept and Bright Angel canyons.
View back up to where the lodge is on Bright Angel Plateau
We waved at the lodge visitors lounging on the veranda and started our 7.9 mile (13 km) hike for Day 2.
We took the side trail, 1.3 miles (2.1 km) out of Cottonwood campground, to Ribbon Falls. It’s a shorty, but we dropped our packs off on some boulders just off the main trail taking only water and cameras.
This moist microclimate contrasts drastically with the surrounding desert. It’s so amazing to see waterfalls in the otherwise dry canyon bottom. It felt good to stand in the spray and soak our bandanas as the temperature climbed towards 80F/26.6C.
Amy almost behind the waterfall
Ribbon Creek flows through limestone dissolving and transporting calcium carbonate which then forms the travertine mound below the falls.
Looking through Ribbon Falls at the canyon walls
We continued to follow the slippery trail around the horseshoe shaped amphitheater.