Saturday, May 31, 2014

Livin' the dream

When I thought about coming to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to work for the summer, I asked about the internet. If you've followed me for a while, you may be familiar with my internet tribulations at Petrified Forest last summer when I used Sprint. I had to sit outside the post office to get online but my constant whining and complaining led the president of the Petrified Forest Museum Association, the friends' group, to put in a booster that eventually let me surf from the comfort of my own home. Then I switched to Verizon and had a decent signal without wifi.

I'm now at the Grand Canyon and can't get anything more than a weak trickle of internet even from our mobile hotspot with an antenna on the roof. I'm on roaming anywhere I go, but fortunately was given a password to the wifi at the Admin building, where I am right now. My HH and I hope to rectify this inconvenience with satellite internet, which is supposed to be installed this Friday. I have all fingers and toes crossed because my name is Kathy and I am an internet junkie. I need my fix on a frequent basis.

We got here Tuesday and I started work Wednesday. My schedule isn't as flexible as it was at Petrified but it's still 32 hours a week with three days in a row off. At Petrified our parking spot gave us an expansive view to the northeast and I had a walking commute of less than five minutes. Here we're parked in the forest with an expansive view of it out our rear and kitchen windows. Our spot is about midway between the Grand Canyon Lodge and the administration complex where I work, maybe 15 to 20 minutes' walking each way. The Lodge sits on the rim of the canyon and gives access to spectacular views.

There are two overlook points below the Lodge; this is looking up from one of them. The bow window is a big open room with leather seating, and the framed view of the canyon through the windows is, of course, spectacular. There are two outdoor terraces, one on each side of the room, where people congregate to watch the changing light and color below.

We went to the Lodge for breakfast our first morning here. It was packed but almost immediately cleared out (after we were seated not at a window) when the buses pulled out. This is from another morning, early, when I went out before work and before most people were up and about.

The views from the trails that rim the canyon - well, what can I say? I'm out of superlatives and adjectives that can't, even so, begin to put into words just how grand, inspiring, humbling, and spiritual this place is.

The elevation here is about 8500 feet, so everything is blooming a little later than down below. I think it's great because that means I got here in time to see the full spectrum. I'm going to need a wildflower identification book.

Lupines are just starting; there are wide areas of them throughout the area I walk every day that will soon be blanketed in blue. This is their leaf cluster.

Tiny, tiny magenta flowers, not much more than a quarter inch across.

New growth at branch tips, bright green and vibrant against the dark of old growth.

Here is the building I work in, at least for now. Yesterday I had the doors wide open and two hummingbirds zipped in and out. A chipmunk wandered in, looked around, and left. When I was sitting on the porch at the admin building before work another hummingbird hovered about three feet in front of me, looking me over. I've seen two western tanagers, birds I've never seen before, and the world's cutest squirrel, the Kaibab squirrel, which has tufted ears, a bright white tail, and a dark body. People who want to spot one are told to look for a white handkerchief fluttering through the treetops. I haven't been quick enough to get photos of the tanagers or squirrels - yet.

I expect to be here until some time in September. There are miles of trails to hike, campsites to overnight at, a brilliant night sky to gaze at, and lots more people to meet. What a life.

Thought of the day:

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. - Oprah Winfrey