May 2-4, 2016
Once again snow on the ground when we Rangers left the North Rim headed for training on the South Rim.
After a quick cookie stop at Jacob Lake Inn we headed east off the the Kaibab Plateau under threatening skies which hung over the Vermilion Cliffs.
The further east we got the clouds began to break up a bit and by the time we arrived on the South Rim there was a whole lot of blue sky.
The five gals stayed above the old Verkamps store, now a visitor center, which is suppose to be haunted and has rattily old radiators and pipes. Us two “senior” Rangers got the two bedrooms and the three younger gals brought sleeping pads and bags for the living room floor. The walls are decorated with art from the park’s Artist-in-Residence program, of which I’m the Lead on the North Rim.
After unpacking we toured the museum archives where I’ve been before but could definitely spend days to weeks to months. We saw taxidermy animals, 1000s of years old split-twig figures, a sandal and pottery, millions of years old fossils and rocks, and John Wesley Powell’s pocket watch.
That night the ladies made a stir fry dinner for everyone, the guys went to a different house to stay in, and I went to bed early. Heard a little rattling in the pipes but then fell asleep and wasn’t disturbed until the the alarm clock.
Back to Verkamps for lunch and a bonus condor sighting and even though far away was very exciting. After getting our keys and some office supplies we attended a training about Collaboration and Conflict which was exceedingly helpful considering how weird and crazy last season was.
Then we had the rest of the afternoon to wander so I suggested a ride out to Hermit’s Rest. Because we had a government car and the gate code we avoided using the shuttle for that rim drive. Only stopped at a few overlooks, chatted with some Ravens, and did a quick spin into Hermit’s Rest before heading back to Verkamps for fajita dinner made by the guys.
North Rim from Grand View overlook
View from Desert View Watchtower
First thing the next morning we had to get photos and fingerprints for an ID card to get us logged on to the government computers then headed east out of the park with a stop at Grand View overlook, the Tusayan Museum, and Desert View Watchtower.
And past Echo Cliffs back home to the North Rim.