Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Arizona Strip is Rad

That's where our last field site was, right by the Vermillion Cliffs. It was pretty kick ass. We got to play in canyons all day! yay! However, as I bitched about before, we left ropes in Arcata, so getting to the river was basically impossible. I wanted to get down SO bad! It was still really fun though, a giant playground for people like me.

We made it most of the way down to one of the gigantic canyons that goes into the Colorado, just like 50 more feet and we had it. But we realized we would be stuck forever in the bottom with no way out so that was a big fat bummer. It was not one of our finer decisions to attempt to descend into the canyon with no ropes. The drop was pushing about 100 feet with loose rock and no foot holds. But hell, we managed to survive with minimal injuries, woohoo! I had it easier because Zac could give me footholds on the way up. But free climbing sort of sucks, I think. I'm too weiner-y.

This is Zac climbing out, and below that is what we were trying to climb down. Fun all around.

Despite not being able to get to the Colorado River, playing in the canyon was tons of fun. In fact, I am slightly obsessed with playing in the canyons. And there are SO MANY! the Arizona strip is rad. I need to spend much more time there.

Went over to Lee's Ferry (part of Glen Canyon -mm, dams and reservoirs. Oh joy) one day, where the Colorado actually begins. I read John Krakauer's book, Under the Banner of Heaven, while we were in Northern AZ. Which was exactly the right time to read it because all the crazy shit happens around there. So, after i read the story behind Lee's Ferry, I was a little perturbed, but the area is still cool. Read the book. And read all of Krakauer's books also, like Into the Wild, Eiger Dreams and Into Thin Air. You should be impressed.

And right where the Colorado starts is wild looking, because it meets up with the Paria River and there's this weird mix of bright blue water and the infamous muddy brown water associated with the CO river. It was like this line drawn down the middle. Also, what is up with the so-called rafters who use motors on the rafts? I think that makes them about as cool as bus drivers.

We also hiked in the Vermillion Cliffs a bunch, also extremely fun and beautiful (and a little bit hot). The North Rim was only a little more than an hour away, so we went there for a day also and played around. I dunno, I think the canyons on the Arizona Strip and the Vermillion Cliffs are just as cool though- and as a plus, no one ever goes there. Technically, the canyons are all part of Grand Canyon National park though. Anyway, the point to get across is that this area is freaking awesome and I wasn't ready to leave.

This little guy is a pin cushion cactus, i believe he is endangered. And I'm also under the impression that he is itty bitty, and awfully cute.

I found an overhang that used to serve as a mountain lion food cache - there were TONS of old bones scattered and buried. It was creepy. It was neat-o. I can't believe how many bones there were. This was somewhere on BLM land where there was some totally sketchy fellow parked near the rim of one of the huge canyons. Living in a cliche sketched out dirty van, just sitting in a chair in the van starring straight ahead. I wanted to go see if i could get down the canyon so I made Zac park near his van (there was no other option). Zac was convinced we were either going to be killed or the car was going to get stolen. So he stood watch and i ran to the canyon with my trusty knife. Again, we survived.

There were lots and lots of coyotes around there. Camping one night, we heard a ton really nearby howling and whining. We saw quite a few also. Lots of lizards, especially collared lizards. One in particular was very friendly and was ready to be a star. So that's what i'm gonna do, i'm gonna make him a star. Yeehaw! He was nice enough to pose for a picture with me.

My computer is having issues (shocking, i know) and so i have to use the Mac, which is a completely foreign nightmare to me, so I'll put pictures up as soon as i can figure this computer ooot and aboot.

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