Cross Country Tripping: Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, July 18-19, 2011

We drove from Las Vegas, Nevada to our campground in the Grand Canyon National Park on July 17th. We were tired and sad because the women’s national soccer team had lost the World Cup that morning (okay, I was sad) but we built the tent and a fire, made dinner and settled in for the evening.

I had a hard time waking up the morning after our Vegas-venture (stay tuned for a Las Vegas post!), but we managed to make it out of our campground with a hiking plan in mind before 9:30 in the morning. I packed our trip’s itinerary with so much driving and sightseeing that sometimes we had to catch up on sleeping. We headed for the South Kaibab Trail, parked the van at a viewing point on the South Rim and walked a mile on the Rim Trail before beginning our descent into the canyon.

Before we’d gone more than a few tenths of a mile into the canyon, we ran into a park ranger. At this point one of the most humorous interactions with a stranger we had on our trip occurred. The ranger asked us how deep we were planning to go. When we told him our destination was Skeleton Point, about three miles away, he literally gasped and vehemently urged us to change our plan. He informed us that we should have started earlier in the day and carried about ten times more water than we had with us. He also told us that 20-30 hikers were rescued from the canyon every day in the summer due to heat exhaustion and sometimes more serious afflictions. and that we should only venture that far into the canyon later in the day.

Well, Brian, perhaps predictably, took this as a challenge. He let me know in no uncertain terms (after we’d left the ranger and continued on our way) that we’d be hiking to Skeleton Point and that we’d be fine. We both felt determined to at least venture past the recommended stopping point, Cedar Point, and then to see how we felt as we continued.

It was a cloudy day, which was lucky, and though the ranger told us it would reach 108 degrees, it didn’t feel too hot. And, of course, going down is much easier than going up (at least in this case… it’s not always so: see my Badlands post). We made it to Cedar Point and rested. Then, despite my half-hearted protests, we decided to continue on to Skeleton Point. It was tough, dusty, rocky, and mule-excrement ridden, but we saw a large lizard and it was a very exciting hike.


The hike up was strenuous. I wanted to play 20 Questions for distraction but Brian said we needed to conserve strength and water and all that logical stuff. A half mile from the top I wanted to quit, but we made it!

We had lunch and bought souvenirs; Brian bought me a present, the loveliest little silver ring. I bought some gifts for my aunt and uncle, my mom and dad and my friend Elisabeth. We also bought a pack of cards; we’d been collecting a pack from each place we stopped (stay tuned for culminating photos of the collection).

That evening, we made a fire, drank wine we’d planned to give to friends, had a good talk and a better night’s sleep. The next morning we headed to Grand Junction, Colorado for a stop on the way to Denver!


A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… Maryland House passes gay-marriage bill, 3500-year timeline of contraceptive use

-o- Maryland House passes gay-marriage bill… but it was close up until the vote -o-

Maryland’s attempt last year to pass this legislation died on the floor of the House of Delegates. This year the bill, sponsored by Governor Martin O’Malley, came within a hair’s breadth of failing again, and was only passed with support from some of those who had voted down the bill the previous year.

Well, good for them. Let’s hope this trend continues. Here’s The Washington Post‘s article.

-o- FBI says a plot was hatched – and thwarted -o-

According to court papers, Amine El Khalifi thought he was participating in an Al-Qaeda mission on Friday at the Capitol, but was truly involved in an FBI sting-like operation.

Here’t the timeline from The Washington Post, and here’s a related article for more information.

-o- 3500-year timeline of opinion, ruling on the use of contraceptives -o-

This is awesome… not to mention timely. Elizabeth Gettelman crafted a timeline reaching back 3500 years and highlighting information relating to contraception’s existence and status within different cultures.

A few notables:

  • In 1839, “Barrier-method contraceptives like condoms and diaphragms are revolutionized by Charles Goodyear’s invention of vulcanized rubber.”
  • In 1965, “The Supreme Court rules in Griswold v. Connecticut that contraceptive bans violate the ‘right to marital privacy.’ Unmarried peoples’ right to privacy isn’t recognized until 1972.”
  • In 2010, “100,000 condoms handed out to Olympians in Vancouver run out in less than two weeks; a last-minute shipment provides additional coverage.”

I had no idea about that last one! Here’s Gettelman’s piece on Mother Jones.

-o- 10 Reasons Pintrest reached over 10 million monthly users -o-

I must admit, I have yet to get into what seems to be currently the hottest new-ish internet trend. But the more I see stuff like this the more intrigued I am. Here’s the list of reasons Pintrest is such a buzzword by Anthony Wing Kosner on Forbes.

My favorite? “It’s like shopping.”

-o- Grand Canyon officials ban bottled water in the National Park -o-

Last night while playing Apples to Apples with friends, the red card chosen to match the green card “rich” was “bottled water.” Something about the packaging and branding of something available in most places in this country without all of that seems, to use one of many possible adjectives, luxurious.

I’ve certainly purchased and enjoyed bottled water, and am currently between filtered pitchers. Still…

Here’s an article by Alex Davies on about the Grand Canyon’s decision, which came over a year later than many expected. According to Davies, this delay was due to pressure from Coca-Cola.

-o- Best and Weirdest Science Fiction Toys from Toy Fair 2012 -o-

Apparently, this E.T. hand was made for “caressing your loved ones’ cheeks while they sleep.” Yup, that deserves to be on a “weirdest” list.

The Best (And Weirdest) Science Fiction Toys from Toy Fair 2012

(photo credit: Cyriaque Lamar)

There are several awesome toys in this collection; check it out! Here’s Lamar’s story and gallery

-o- Profile: Saffron -o-

Did you know? Saffron threads are actually the stigma of the purple crocus. Each flower yields only three threads. No wonder it’s so expensive!

I happen to be in possession of a large quantity of saffron, currently; a few months ago my mom sent me a whole bunch and I got some in my paella gift from my Aunt Susan. Here’s some useful info on the spice from

Here is a suggestion from the Food Network for roasting fish with saffron, and here is a recipe from Cooking Light I’m planning to make this week with shrimp, saffron, rice and peas!