14 October 2010

Day Three: Grand Canyon, Arizona

This morning, we left Gallup, and rather shortly, New Mexico, around 8AM. Right at the Arizona border is one of those kitschy "Indian Settlements" that sell blankets, jewelry, and a lot of other classic southwest gift shop things with lots of gaudy signs, so we stopped and visited the "Largest Teepee in the Southwest" which actually was a nice little shop, but as mentioned, completely the same as all of these genre of souvenir shops. Got a decent price for some turquoise jewelry.

Another hour or so and we were at the Petrified Forest National Park. We bought our annual park pass and intended only to make a cursory run around part of the park (Gretchen was asleep anyway). But the northern "Painted Desert" section was stunning in person. Now that we're in a cabin on the rim of the Grand Canyon, these pictures make it look a bit weak and uninteresting but after driving through KansasTexhomamexico flatness it was quite cool.

Further south in the park were the "Teepees", strange cones of rock. Here were a few of the whiter ones, most of them were a dark grey, almost black.

In the far south of the park is the actual petrified forest section:

There was an entire field of these logs:

Up close:

Here's some more of the somewhat lunar scenery on the way out:

Back on the road, we approached what is the city of our eventual intended dwelling, Flagstaff. Located quite high in altitude with a generally mild climate, I just need to be offered a good CIO position there or become independently wealthy. We'll see what happens first. Once through Flagstaff and driving north, the Cococino Forest was quite beautiful, but we only really found out that when we frantically pulled over believing Gretchen to be in the initial throes of carsickness. We took a walk.

Lovely crisp clean air, pine trees, I think I'm love. Mountain just behind us:

But we got back in the car and hurtled on towards the south rim. You'd never guess, well, you might, or you might know from actual experience, but the mass of humanity clustered round this particular tourist attraction is particularly diverse, in the sense of being made up of mostly non-Americans. The sheer ubiquity of Germans would have been sufficient, one would think, to make the also-prevalent Frenchies a bit nervous in a way reminiscent of 1940. It took rather a long time to sort out where to park; it really was packed out. But we reserved a nice little cabin room about 50 feet from the rim, perhaps. Here is Gretchen in front of it as we're preparing to go see the canyon:

Don't fall in!

Pictures are a rather lame way of showing this:

Towards the canyon floor...

To prove she was there!

The canyon just after sunset.