January 4, 2020

I got up so early again, and had some coffee from the motel machine. Getting the free Wi-Fi and the news, it was shortly to the fast food, where my car didn’t previously start. I had plenty of drink and a smoothie, to take my daily meds. I knew the sunrise was at 7:39, so gave myself time to get to the South Rim for that.

Motoring off north, I went speedily along. Little traffic, and it was fast enough. Getting to the junction with 180, the road got better. I arrived to Tusayan to use the restroom and to get a small bite. The sunrise sky was glowing red, so it’d be a good one. Entering the park, I beelined to Mather Point parking lot. In time there to see the sun hitting the far canyon walls, there also were many viewers. I jostled for the best view, and took my photos and video. I stood about, then had to go to the visitor center to kill more time, and use the facility.

Taking plenty of photos and doing more video, I went back to the Point for even more camera work. Going back to the visitor center, it was to use the facility again, and I went to the Conservancy Store, to get good deals on a Hike Smart day pack for $14. Also to get shopping bags and magnets. They took convenience payment, so I put the items in my car trunk, and went to the Point for a third time. Then it was to the visitor center again, open then at 9 a.m., I watched the movie, and took my time. It was to check out the backcountry office, to see about trail conditions. The rangers all told me that traction devices are recommended, but none would say if people are making it down the trails without them.

Motoring over to the Bright Angel Lodge parking, I sought to check out the Bright Angel Trail for myself. The restroom facility was closed, and I didn’t have my pack. I had figured to not do the trail by the rangers’ recommendations, but people were using the trail without traction devices. I saw that it was safe enough, and then ran into a ranger coming up. She wore micro spikes, but said there was an ice waterfall at a seep, a mile down. I had no time to go back to get my pack, so started on down. I lost elevation, but could always use a patch of dirt. I spoke with backpackers who said it was icy further down. I’d go to the seep for a destination, so continued down. I thought that I may have passed it, then spoke with other hikers, and turned around. The other hiker then alerted me to the close proximity of the seep, so I turned back to go the short distance. It was there! 

With the destination completed, I did my camera work. Not taking long, I had to relieve myself. Due to the rangers refusing to give me the information, I wasn’t prepared for this hike. With no pee bottle, and knowing it all runs into the polluted Colorado River, I found a side trail with privacy to relieve myself. I blame this on the rangers and the closed restroom. It was a short way to the top, with snow on the trail. I showed hikers my photos of the frozen seep as they asked for a rental op for micro-spikes. Telling them that I had made it to there, and further that it was icy, with no rental ops that I knew of since the spikes are only some $30, they took my advice and saved their money.

Going into the Lodge bar, I wanted a Heineken 0.0. They didn’t have any. Using the restroom, I spoke with the Lodge front desk, to ask about the cheapest lodging. For some $110 a night, I could get a private room with a shared shower. If I had known, I might have lodged here. I had checked online, and saw nothing of the sort.

I had to see the other viewpoints along the way east. Declining the Hermit Road, I rushed off eastward. I stopped at all of the plowed roads to the Navajo and Lipan Points, and other views. The Moran Point side road wasn’t plowed, so I didn’t stop there. Getting to Desert View, I used the restroom, and walked over to the Tower. I took my photos and video, to get it right. More magnificent vistas, with my panoramas on my phone. 

Not wasting time, I wanted to see Horseshoe Bend, still an hour plus drive and some 100+ miles away. Exiting the park, I sped along fast. To Cameron, AZ, I didn’t stop. It was late in the afternoon, and though on Mountain Time, the sunset was at about 5:30 p.m. There was a vista point, great for photos. Then the light turned orange, and the scenery turned magic. I had my map set for the destination, having guessed Marble Canyon, but not seeing it, began to wonder. 

Shortly there was a sign, and a huge hiker development. The entry fee was $10, and I had a bill as they didn’t take convenience payment. Going to park, I hiked the 1.5 miles to the overlook. This was all new to me! Crowds of people streaming along the trail, the site run by the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Getting to the view, the setting sun was backlighting the sight. It was so truly a sight to behold, and worth the fee. I did my camera work, but not satisfied. My Nikkor lens 18 mm setting failed to capture the view completely, but my iPhone did the job so well. Thanks to super wide, I had fully captured the view.

I took more photos after the sun set, for no lens reflections in the pictures. Then back to the huge parking lot, to use one of multiple restrooms. This was all a big surprise! Going to my motel in Page, AZ, I followed the signs. Taking the wrong turn, I got lost and had to use my phone for directions. Finding the motel, I checked in fast with the usual desk help. I got to the chores of computer work, and that quickly done, did a search for dining. There was ramen nearby.

Using my phone to navigate, I came to the restaurant. They were out of their special, $13 pork ramen, so I ordered “Krab and Cucumber salad” and shrimp tempura. After getting the salad, they gave me sushi, and I said that was wrong. I finally got my shrimp, and ate it on down. A moment to savor, as I’d be heading home. Ordering a seafood salad, as they didn’t accept convenience payments, I would have ordered more. There was sushi and teriyaki, but I was running out of cash. Taking photos of the decor, I finally left. On a diet, I needed to lose weight anyway.

Back to my room and laptop, I did more research. Going to Zion National Park, there were no trail reports by the web. No webcams, so I didn’t see if there was much snow. It was some low tech here. Deciding further what to do next, I got information. Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon was all booked up, and it was a $79 guide fee for just a 100 yard photo walk.

So it was to bed, with my DSLR batteries to charge overnight.

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