Welcome all! I survived Thanksgiving away from family, but it wasn’t much fun. Only the out-of-staters remained on campus. Wednesday I skipped classes because so many people had cleared out and the classes weren’t mandatory. My Chinese teacher canceled her class and invited all her students over to her apartment for dumplings and other Chinese food, so I went over there for a few hours, ate all kinds of Chinese food and drank Chinese tea most of the afternoon. Wednesday afternoon it was cloudy and rainy; a perfect day to do nothing.

Thursday was pretty slow as well. We had a fine free lunch at the Union of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin, pecan, and cherry pie. Paul and I threw a football and Frisbee around in the afternoon, but overall it was a lazy day. I came up with all kinds of plans about spending the weekend in Zion NP or some remote Lake Powell slot canyon. We were tempted to hang out in Vegas or LA, but my budget wouldn’t have allowed that. In the end we decided to go to Grand Canyon on Saturday, but that still left Friday blank for me. I remodeled my desk with some wire and screws I bought at Walmart and doubled my work area. It rained most of the day Thursday and it was too cold and dreary to ride bike and I didn’t feel like it.

Friday I had planned to go mountain biking in Sedona with a guy from there, but the rain made everything muddy and dampened my enthusiasm. I felt like doing a hike so I went to Grand Canyon. The weather was perfect for hiking, clear and a little cool. I got there a little before 8 and watched the sun come up from the South Kaibab trail which is a pretty fun thing to do, especially after doing nothing for so many days in a row. The top thousand feet of the North Rim was snow covered, but on the south where I was there was no snow. Every time I visit Grand Canyon I am amazed at the grandeur of the thing –it really is huge and very beautiful.

I parked at Bright Angel Lodge and rode the hiker express bus to the South Kaibab trailhead. I went down 5 miles, or about 2/3 of the way to the river. I decided not to do a Rim to River-and back hike because I planned to rehike it on Saturday with my roommate and I wanted to be able to walk for that occasion. I took the Tonto trail for 5 miles over to the Bright Angel Trail. Tonto trail follows the plateau 1400′ above the river, and winds around several small side canyons on the way over to Bright Angel Trail. The trail went past the base of a 2000 foot high wall, wow. Makes a person feel pretty small.

On the way to Indian Garden I saw a bighorn sheep and some mule deer. I spent an hour at Indian Garden resting in the shade and eating lunch, trying to prepare myself for the 4.5 mile, 3000 foot high cliff ahead threaded by tight switchbacks. It’s amazing that people even attempt to hike in such country; the cliffs look impassable –but with enough steps they can be overcome.

At the top I got in the car and started driving out of the park but decided to stop at the Market Café and get me a sandwich for the road. I went in and ordered some food and then I got a text message asking me if I had seen some Fleetwood people at Grand Canyon. I tried calling some people to find out who it might be, but nobody seemed to know. I sat down with my food and about that time they walked in the door.” They” were six girls doing a several day road trip of Sedona, Flagstaff and Grand Canyon area. It was pretty special to meet Pennsylvania acquaintances so far from home. I wish more people would try it.

Today (Saturday) will probably be a good day to wrap up the homework assignments. Paul and I planned to go back to Grand Canyon, but he is still sleeping at 1pm, so I’m assuming that little trip is canceled. I want to go back and spend a little more time there; maybe I’ll go tomorrow afternoon if I get all the homework done.