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PA to LA: Day 13

June 13, 2003

June 13:

Friday the 13th and so far no bad luck--though really, I don't believe in luck and am seldom superstitous. The everyday horrors of the world are far too real to give any merit to full moons, broken mirrors, or walking under ladders.

What can I say about the Grand Canyon that probably hasn't been said 1,000 times before by better writers and essayists? It is best visited firsthand. No amount of words, photos, or videotaped images can capture the magnificence of the canyon. My best advice is to visit it at least once.

The elevation at the canyon is quite high--about 6,500 feet or so. Those not used to such elevations will find it a bit difficult to breathe. It is highly recommended to bring at least a gallon of water, as the heat quickly causes one to become dehydrated. There are great little warning signs depicting a person falling to his death with a multi-language warning that reads (I'm paraphrasing from memory): People die here all the time. Be extremely careful when climbing on the rocks!

That said, Di and I climbed all over the rocks and, fortunately, lived to tell the tale. At one point Di ventured out far toward the edge of a cliff and proceeded to phone her mom. We were both stunned that the cellular phone would work from so remote an area. During the call a squirrel crawled, unseen, toward her and it was only thanks to the warning of another tourist that kept Di from jumping out of her skin and to certain death. The squirrel simply scampered up to her, circled, and then walked past me and off onto another rock formation. We saw a few lizards on trees, but no snakes.

After a few hours of sight-seeing, we both felt exhausted and headed back to the hotel, anxious for tomorrow's drive to our final destination--Los Angeles...

So what was the Grand Canyon REALLY like? Here's Di's reflections and commentary about the biggest hole on Earth:

It was no big thing. You walk down one side, up the other, then around the rim; if you're in prime physical condition like we are you can do it in about 45 minutes.
They say you need to drink a gallon of water before even attempting the Grand Canyon as a hiker, and you need to wear boots. What sissies. Dave and I drank no water, ate two bags of barbeque chips just before we started down, and went barefoot. We never even cracked a sweat.
I guess we're just natural athletes, born to withstand high temperatures...and love that high altitude air!
We're going to jog down to that big crater that's near here now. It's about a 40-minute drive, so we should be back in an hour...

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