Miles below the rim of the Grand Canyon, tucked away, behind the bushy, dry grass and resilient desert trees, Phantom Ranch’s Canteen waited to welcome the weary feet and empty stomachs of the adventurous few who had made it to the bottom. Buying lemonade, hikers would collapse at the long blue tables and begin scribbling out postcards. Hipsters drinking tea and the hippy guzzling bear, were exhausted and elated. Over the top of my journal I noted the myriad of faces which formed the canyon community. Despite our differences of origin, we shared a connection with the Grand Canyon.
One by one, the hikers dropped their cards in the saddle bag labeled: “mule mail.”
The hike was done. I was shaking from exhaustion and my legs were aching. On top of that my stomach was suffering from an unknown ailment. Cool air wafted over me as I curled up on a concrete bench to take a nap. Visitors pranced to the edge to take their picture and enjoy the majestic sight expending little effort. “Sissies,” I thought. “They barely go point five miles, and come up again. They do not understand the true extent of the canyon.” I was grumpy, I had just hiked four point five miles all up steep terrain. But I was soon made right by a huge breakfast at the lodge restaurant nearby.
The little cove of the large city was bursting with colors in the evening light. Old Albuquerque was the sweetest place I had ever been. We wandered through the streets and shops to the sound of a Salsa concert happening in the square. I wish I had more time there, it was tiny but absolutely gorgeous. I felt like I had been transported to another country.
Tucumcari, Arizona. We wandered about the small museum. Metal casts of the dinosaur bones allowed us to touch the grooves and feel their shapes. Jurassic Park soundtrack played in the background. Tad and I took pictures and marveled at the ancient world. A great break in the monotony of endless driving.