Feeling settled in even with ups and downs at the North Rim, and I don’t mean hiking in and out of Grand Canyon, although there is a plethora of folks doing just that. With a lousy internet signal for over a month I really missed the interactions with online friends: chatting, emails, Facebook, reading about what you are doing, and of course easily posting on my blog. Yes I’m whining and the rant’s coming. The cell phone bars went up to two and down to nothing.
The season started out with a canyon full of visitors followed by a slight lull even with three tour buses at a time (mostly filled with seniors/boomers visiting for an afternoon or evening while staying in a cabin then off in the early morning). Not my idea of travel but guess it works for some folks. Spring and Fall is the best time to hike rim-to-rim across Grand Canyon when the temperatures are coolest at the bottom. Chilly with snow on top, balmy and beautiful at the bottom, a difference of about 6,000 feet (1829 m). Most through hikers whether camping along the way (the smart way) or going for the entire 23 miles (37 km) in one shot–plus the mile down and up–do plan ahead at least a little. They still might not entirely know what they’re getting themselves into (pun intended) yet will learn along the way.
Day hikers in the canyon typically don’t go more than .07 – 5 miles (.11-8 km), that’s one way with elevation changes between 800 – 3200 feet (244-975 m). Rangers always remind hikers to time themselves down to their chosen stopping place and allow double time back up, on average; take plenty of water and snacks; communicate and stop if anybody is sore or tired. Even the shortest hike off the rim and into the canyon is about the experience. Down is optional and up is mandatory. People are generally happy and excited about seeing Grand Canyon and who can blame them. I never tire of my office view.
I am ecstatic about living and working on the North Rim for six months, BUT…
I rather lost interest in taking photos. Believe me I haven’t lost interest in the Grand Canyon, but feel like I keep seeing, photographing, and sharing the same views. The sun comes up, the sun goes down.
With difficulty finding a signal my interest in blogging also went up and down. Carrying my phone with me everywhere I go but not really using it. Should take more photos with it, but…
May 25, 2016
I get REALLY frustrated when things don’t work. Loose my cool completely, and when stress levels rise high my brain kind of turns off. Every have that happen? I do know this is very unhealthy and unproductive. Sometimes I catch it in time and slow down or stop. Sometimes I don’t. Like Tuesday, when Bill delivered, and I excitedly opened, the new WeBoost. I gathered all the parts, tools, and duct tape and climbed onto the roof to mount the new exterior antenna. Which I’d already convinced myself wouldn’t work. The strangest box antenna I’ve ever seen but the tech said it’s waterproof even though the flimsy excuse for directions suggested mounting it by suction cups to an inside window, 20 feet from the inside antenna. Hmm, my RV home is only 36 feet long. So I hoisted the TV antenna on the roof for the highest access at an appropriate distance and taped it on. At first I tried the existing coaxial cable from said TV antenna which conveniently runs between roof and ceiling to a built in connection. Didn’t work, but the booster kit came with about 50 feet of cable. All this irrelevant when I learned how to check for signal strength with my Smarter-than-me-phone and discovered the weakest signal at –105 dBm 36 asu (whatever that means) where the roof antenna was mounted. All conversations with the techs were spotty and dropped three times. My neighbor has a similar set up with a more real looking antenna tied up in a tree about 30 feet (9 m) and is getting 4G. More parts and a different antenna are coming, at no charge says the tech. And I wait again. Poor Bill calmly put up with my temper tantrum. Thanks for the moral support honey.
We Rangers braced and readied for the holiday weekend, Memorial Day has always been the BBQ beginning of summer in the US.
May 28, 2016
I led the morning 20 minute Geo Glimpse to the rim with about 30 people and identified the rock layers by the environments they were deposited by. Then I roved the Bright Angel Point trail and hung out at the end of the .25 miles (.4 km) answering questions and enjoying the view. I presented the afternoon Geology talk which included about a dozen children working on their Junior Ranger books. Then home to no parts for the booster. Shit way to end a wonderful day, followed by Sunday and Memorial Day with no deliveries. However, when home for lunch sitting at the table instead of my desk I got 4G so decided to set up the laptop there and blazed that night, even getting a post out and a few blogs read. Yet because the phone signal itself was still weak I decided to move the small booster to the other side of the roof the next day after work.
May 29, 2016
Sunday was my Friday and after helping at the busy Visitor Center for a few hours I packed lunch and drove out onto the Walhalla Plateau. The drive didn’t seem crowded although the overlook parking lots were almost full. Only 10 visitors at the 1pm Archaeology talk overlooking the Unkar Delta where Puebloans lived 1000s of years ago. After lunch I roved at Cape Royal at the end of the scenic road and a .4 mile (.6 km) one way walk to see the biggest view of the canyon from the North Rim. The most common question: Where’s the South Rim? Every thing seen on the lower horizon opposite the canyon is the south rim. Yet I know they really want to know where the South Rim Village area is, the developed part with hotels, restaurants, and gift shops. But that area is out of sight, to the west.
Where’s the Colorado River? Only a small section of the river is visible down about 5000 feet (1524 m) to the southeast. It currently flows a deep blue-green yet will change to the muddy color of the rocks upstream once monsoon season begins. A lot of folks are just friendly and want to talk about their park experiences here and other places. They ask general questions about me and my life as a Park Ranger. I’m mostly an open book but don’t share secrets.
May 30, 2016
I am glad to have Monday off work. Holidays are a zoo. And I don’t like to travel on holidays either. Instead a nice lazy day with rather gray skies backing the dim forest. Moving the antenna didn’t help the phone much or keeping a consistent connection but even with only 1x I got some things done online with some much overdue cleaning in between being dropped. Then suddenly I’ve got 4G so I play catch up. I’m getting a little better at this patience thing yet have both computers on and doing different things at each.
May 31, 2016
Bill came up with all the necessary parts to hook up to a very large propane tank so I can stop running to fill the 5th-wheel’s seven gallon tanks. Took a little thinking to get it right but Bill crawled under the built in tanks on the RV and hooked the new hose provided by Amerigas to a pipe leading into the RV. Yippee! For the first time in eight seasons I’m finally getting the “free” propane which is actually part of my rent.
After lunch we tackled the booster using the box antenna that came with the kit and almost 50 feet (15 m) of coaxial cable. Bill brought an extension ladder and measured out from the RV so we’d know which trees to try for signal. I climbed that ladder at three different trees with compass for the best southern shot and cell phone to check for best signal. Then hoisted it up about 20 feet (6 m). And it works!!!!!! I am infinitely happy!!!! I went up that ladder and didn’t fall down. Then after dinner we went to the Lodge for Ranger Perri’s evening program on wilderness.
June 1, 2016
Chores done and everything working so Bill and I went for a drive on the Kaibab National Forest. We took a new to us road FR213, the east side of SR67, and didn’t quite make it to Dog Point. A gorgeous day! The line to get into the park was long as we left.
June 2-5, 2016
Back to work with full days scheduled and the crowds increasing. Without tour buses around the parking lot is the busiest place on the North Rim causing visitors and employees to circle several times in hopes someone leaves so we can park. Plus the temperatures have gone up to almost 90F on the rim and 111F down at the bottom of the canyon. Rather unseasonably warm. The combination of high elevation at 8200 feet (2500 m), 15% humidity, and heat is especially hard on flatlanders. Even I barely drink enough water while reminding everyone to drink more water.
And if that’s not hot enough, for my next two days off I’m going down to Kanab at only 5000 feet (1524 m) and shopping in the 100F+ heat of St. George. I wouldn’t do it but it’s been three weeks since a grocery run. Then back up to the semi-coolness of the North Rim. Hoping the signal ups and downs are over for the season.
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