Some men nearing their 50th birthdays buy sports cars and install young blonds in the passenger seats. I’ve taken a different, perhaps more fatalistic path by laying out a list of things to see and do until The End. Some might say that “The List” is a really a “bucket list”. You know how it goes–the things you want to do before you kick the bucket. Personally I’m not comfortable with describing it that way. To me, the list is more like dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” when writing. It is more about completion of a task rather than a race to the end. Maybe it is life goal OCD.
Included on The List are many things I want to see and do. Revisit all fifty of the States. Ride new mountain biking trails. See 100 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and much more. I’m about 6% through the list. I might just make it to the end.
But, I digress from the focus of this post. “The List” includes visiting all 58 of the United States National Parks. I’ve been to many of the parks already, but even just revisiting the ones I have already been to remains as a significant goal. I need to get started. To begin I might as well start with a place that I somehow had never been—The Grand Canyon National Park.
Our April trip was the first Southwest jaunt without Nick. It started out ill fated. Was there bad karma without the dog? The first delay occurred when Becky had complications after a minor surgery. This postponed our departure for a week. When we regrouped and it came time again to roll out the Airstream, the trailer had a complete electrical meltdown. After five hours of playing amateur electrician, we were on the road heading south with a trailer filled with nagging concerns tagging behind the truck.
Two days later we were at the entrance of the park. Things were looking up. The repairs to the Airstream and to Becky had held up. To boot, admissions to The Grand Canyon and, in fact, all National Park lands were free for the week.
I will not go into much detail about our visit to the “Big Ditch”. Certainly the pictures tell the story much better than any words that can be written. Our April stop at the South Rim lasted about two days, which was about the right length. With Ross, who joined us later, we did do one hike, an out and back with about 1,000 feet of elevation change on the South Kaibab Trail. We also took the bikes out on the parks paved bike trails. Bikes are a good way to see the gorge. And, if you get tired or run out of light like we did, the parks shuttle buses that can carry three bikes at a time can rescue you.
It was a good visit and took three notches off The List (The Grand Canyon is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it was in a yet to be revisited state, Arizona). There is one complication, though. Visiting The Grand Canyon rekindled one of Becky’s “To Do” list items—rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Completing The List may be more complicated than I thought if Becky is adding items to the list faster than we can cross them off. Some might say that, under these conditions, finishing The List will be impossible. Maybe I should rethink that sports car thing. It might be easier.
Don’t miss the pictures.
South Kaibab Trail: