Post 1- Prepping for the Canyon
I’ve received my books and trail maps, and I’ve already started to read up on the Grand Canyon. Did you know that multiple people have died because a mule knocked them off the edge of the canyon? Mules are supposed to get the right-of-way. Hikers are supposed to stop, and turn your pack away from the mule so they don’t hit the pack and send you tumbling.

I am excited at the prospect of seeing a California condor. They are listed as critically endangered, but recovery efforts have allowed some captive-bred individuals to be released into the wild. They apparently like to hang out by the village.

Post 2- Albuquerque

We made it to Albuquerque yesterday. The drive through the mountains was beautiful. We are staying in the Nob Hill section, which has so many wonderful casitas. This morning, I was greeted by a roadrunner in the backyard. It’s great to see so much xeroscaping. This is something that Texas needs to embrace more as water resources become more strained. That said, I don’t know if I could switch to artificial grass as my hosts did. Their yard is aesthetically pleasing, but the biologist in me just misses natural turf.

Post 3- Day 2

For day 2, we drove from Albuquerque, NM to Williams, AZ. We decided to stop at Meteor crater as a break from the driving. It may not be the windiest place in the US, but it sure felt like it. The crater is pretty impressive. According to the museum on site, astronauts trained at this crater so that they could figure out how to maneuver in craters on the moon.

Northern AZ is nothing like I expected. I thought it was going to be high desert, but instead, it’s pine forest.

Post 4- Day 3

We decided to ride-the-rails to get in to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon Railway allowed us to avoid construction in the park. We also got to see prairie dogs, wild turkeys, wild horses, and a lone coyote on the ride up.

 

I thought that I would be prepared for the beauty of the Grand Canyon because I’ve hiked Palo Duro Canyon here in Texas, but the Grand Canyon just gut-punches you with the sheer scale of it. You get to see nearly 2 billion years worth of rock in one place!

I learned that you can be fined $500 dollars for feeding the wildlife at the park, and the squirrels try very hard to steal your food. The plants are glorious up here. They are so graceful, and yet rugged at the same time.

 

I really recommend that you take the time to visit this place if you ever get the chance.
Post 5- Day 4

We started our drive back on Thursday. We stopped at Petrified Forest National Park.

 

While we get a fair amount of petrified wood in our area, I’ve never found pieces this big, nor this colorful.

 Post 6- We made it home!
Our final “fun” stop on this trip was at the Blue Hole of Santa Rosa. My son decided that he just had to jump in and go for a swim, even though the water was only 61F. No surprise – after about 5 minutes, he developed nausea and a headache. He says he has no regrets though.

I can’t wait to share some of the biology of the Grand Canyon with everyone in the fall.

 

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