Grand Canyon – Pictures Don’t Do It Justice

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Grand Canyon, North Rim
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

From Albuquerque we drove west to the grand canyon. We drove through miles of desert and along the way, the earth turned rose colored. Tall, striated columns grew higher and higher until we were surrounded by cliffs, hundreds of feet above us. On either side of the road spread plains of dry ground, spotted with green shrubs and bleached driftwood. For most of the day, we drove through the Navajo reservation. It was sparsely populated, occasionally we drove through towns where clusters of broken down trailers grouped around tourist shops, a gas station and a restaurant usually selling fry bread tacos. At one gas station, three scruffy dogs with happy faces came to the door looking for hand outs. I tried to get Marcus to let me take the black one home, but failed to persuade him. We left them with their noses in the car of a SUV watching a woman in shorts pull off pieces of sandwich.

Later in the day we stopped at a road side jewelry shop at the top of a windy mesa. The shop inside was divided in two with a curtain, in the front were cases of jewelry, beaded bags and belts studded with coins. In the back, the two men made jewelry, custom silver plate pieces of thunderbirds and fine scale bead work. By the door was a large box of dried gourds. Outside a little girl played in the red dust, pulling a plastic wagon of plastic toys while her gray cat followed. Back on the road, we drove over the bridge crossing marble canyons that marked the edge of the reservation. Here the fading sun was painting everything rose, purple, smoky gray. A huge plain of desert ran out in the distance. It ended on the cliffs, pink and lavender coated, that looked like castles built on the moon.

We pulled over for dinner at a roadside motel, entirely wood paneled inside. After consulting our waiter, an former train-hopping vagrant with a figure eight tattooed side ways on his throat, then the cook, and then the pizza place located in the grand canyon, we discovered that our campground reservation on the north rim had likely already been taken. So we booked a room for the night and spent the rest of the evening playing rock fetch n the front porch of the inn with a dog named rodeo wearing a red bandanna. A local sat on the porch with us, petting his burmese mountain dog and wolf hybrid named rorschach (named by his original owner, a psychology student). He told us about his previous dog, a coyotes hound mix that lived for 17 years. It liked to chase the neighbor’s horses and nip thier ankles. One day a horse finally got fed up, slammed on the brakes and kicked the dog so hard he tumbled backward several yards leaving a comet of dust behind him. The dog slept four days then got to his feet with bells on his toe, as his owner said. Across the dark, we could see yellow lights on the highway crossing the desert. At that high elevation, the beer acts fast so after begging off another round of fetch with rodeo, we went to bed, the hot desert wind mellowed by our circling ceiling fan.

The next morning we drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

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Posted: July 12, 2012

Author: marcus

Category: Locations

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