It’s always difficult to say goodbye Grand Canyon. Happens every year for the last seven, and this one no easier. But sadly my summer season is over at the North Rim as the gold falls from the aspens. And hopefully before the snow falls on the plateau.
As usual its been an awesome season sharing the canyon with people from around the world. The best of times is seeing the look of wonder on people’s faces especially when they’re seeing it for the first time. “Wow!” is the most often heard word. Phones, iPads, and cameras of every size, shape and color capture memories. Conversations occur between strangers. Languages from around the world.
A busy season with increased visitation, here and many other southwestern parks. Utah tourism put out a big push in advertising and the North Rim is part of the most visited triad around Kanab including Zion and Bryce National Parks. The National Park Service’s #FindYourPark campaign preparing for next year’s centennial seems to be getting the word out very well. Fuel prices were down this summer making travel more affordable. But how many people can a national park handle? The experience is altered by fighting crowds and circling parking lots. Are National Parks being loved to death? Obviously people do LoveTheirParks. Too bad Congress doesn’t.
Saturday, October 17th was my COB (Close of Business) after a three hour shift at the Visitor Center. Sunday I’ll pack up the stuff/chachkies/detritus and Monday roll off the Kaibab Plateau. But instead of heading south to Yarnell the big wheels roll northward almost to Utah. Hello Fredonia. Every time I tell someone I’m moving to Fredonia in my head I hear “Hail Fredonia!” from the Marx brother’s movie Duck Soup. Except that Fredonia was in New York. Fredonia, AZ: population 1300.
Many of you know I met Bill almost five months ago while blocking a road on the edge of Kanab Creek wilderness. Hopefully you’ve been following along as he tours me around southern Utah. Nice to have a tour guide instead of always being one. Our friendship/relationship, oh we’re not sure what to call it, continues to grow and flourish. Basically we really enjoy each others company. And that would be hard to do from Yarnell almost eight hours away from Kanab, Utah.
I’m really looking forward to time off so Bill and I can go explore more of the southern Utah slick rock, especially now as the temperatures have cooled down from the summer hundreds and before the winter cold. Of course I am still writing about the last journey after leaving Hovenweep.
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