Go West Old Men: A Travel Memoir. Part 11

We made it.

“It is a vast wilderness of rocks in a sea of light, colored and glowing like oak
and maple woods in autumn, when the sun gold is richest.”

John Muir, Scottish-American naturalist

This is Part 10 of the story, follow these links to see Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10

Ah, There You Are

In the morning, after a chilly night at Kaibab National Forest. Did I mention it was cold? We packed up once again and made our way to the South Rim Campground at the Grand Canyon.
Before setting up camp, we spent some time talking to the rangers about upcoming plans. That included plans for off-roading to Point Sublime and our two-day trek into Tuweep.

But for now, we were establishing our base at Mather Campground at the South Rim. We had a canyon to see.

This was our first set up of the full camp experience.

Scott’s tent presumably slept eight people…who would have had to be very close friends…it also came with a

Our first view.

screened in porch which came in handy. Next to that we put the canopy I brought, and we had ourselves a home away from home.

After lunch we set out to find the canyon.

Santa Fe Railway brought the first steam-powered train to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1901. The area began to develop into Grand Canyon Village. Today the area includes historic buildings along with modern gift shops, grocery stores, and restaurants. This would be our home for the next couple of days.

Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim has a great series of trails and buses. You can literally take a bus to all of the ooh and ah spots and not have to do very much walking at all.
But we were prepared to do a lot of walking. Well, until I wasn’t.

We had plenty of neighbors in the campsite. This is Elk Summer (IYKYK). We often heard the males “bugling” in the night.

We caught the blue line from our campsite and rode to the village.

And there it was, just where I’d left it some forty-three years ago. It took that long to make it back. I wanted to find the path I’d walked for about a mile back then. Likewise, I was looking for a particular gift shop. Not because there was anything I needed. It was just stuck in my memory.

After an initial look we changed from the blue line to the red line and went all the way out to Hermit’s Rest. There are multiple stops along the way, and you never have to wait more than twenty minutes for the next bus.

We decided to hike our way back. But the air is thinner there and I am not.

Even with the knee braces and the hiking poles, I could only do so much. We mapped out a plan. Scott would

The three-year-old on the trail who asked his mama “why are there old people here?” will be getting a healthy ration of coal this Christmas.

hike from a certain point. I would ride the bus a little further back toward the village and hike from there.

In the end, I did about a mile’s worth of hiking that day. Not too bad considering.

And the view, oh the view. I was able to see the trail where I’d walked in 1980 and watch the line of burros taking visitors down to the bottom.

I still didn’t have a handle on the gift shop.

Back at the village, I waited a bit for Scott, then we had a nice dinner in the more casual side of the Lodge.

Day one at the Canyon was complete.

It had literally taken me forty-three years to make it back. A young man’s dream of coming back to hiking the canyon turned into an old man’s dream to come back and stir up some memories.

Those memories are stirred again as I’m writing this.

I have to wonder what would have been different if I’d not taken so long to make that left turn in Albuquerque.

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