My Volunteer Ranger duties are light and I always take time for a nap. My duties start early when I walk half a mile on a gravel road out to open the gate at the entry to the Grand Canyon National Park Tuweep Station at sunrise. My day ends by walking out to close the gate at the entrance. This is in a broad valley and there are no houses, except for the ranger house, my tiny cabin and a large old barn/garage, where my “kitchen” is. This could be the favorite parts of my day, except for cycling six miles out to the Toroweap Overlook of the Grand Canyon. Standing on the very edge, there was s a 3,000 foot drop to the Colorado River. It is breathtaking. Then I have a snack at the picnic table, chat with any visitors, ask if they have permits. I am not enforcement, just informing them of what they need. Then I check that the three toilets are clean and cycle six miles hilly, rocky miles back to my barn/garage. I eat, take a quick shower from the 4 liter solar shower, take a nap. And relax reading, drawing and watching for more visitors to come in. Sometimes I weed out invasive plants of the goat heads. Or weed and clip the Ranger’s small yard.
For water I take the 5 gallon container up to a spigot about 100 feet on the hillside. That water is for the kitchen cooking and drinking in the barn/garage. Another trip to fill my four liter shower bag, for the outdoor shower beside my cabin. And one more trip to fill a bucket for the dish washing station in the “kitchen”. Plus I keep two full 64 ounce water bottles and a extra gallon in my cabin. The water is rainwater, collected into a 10,000 tank, not filtered or purified, and it is delicious!
My Second Culture Shock in Arizona. After seeing the camouflaged, big-bearded man, armed with two pistols at the big grocery store in Colorado City, Arizona, on my first trip to the grocery store, on my next trip to civilization from the Grand Canyon wilderness, I decided to try the Dairy Country Store also on Colorado City, looked like a homey store. Except for the odd sign at the entrance—NO Proselytizing, NO Soliciting, NO Cameras, NO Loitering. Now it was all I hoped for, organic, mostly local products. There are only three well-stocked aisles. Fortunately the sign did not say no gawking, perhaps assuming I had better manners than I do. It was staffed by three women and one similarly dressed customer, Except for three wiggly young boys at the ice cream counter. The women all wore the same pattern dress, in different solid colors, long sleeves, with a puff at the shoulder seam, ankle length, black socks and black sandals, similar to Chacos. No wrists or ankles showing! The women had the most beautiful complexions, like they have never been in the sun. The one and only hairstyle is a French braid, but loosely puffed up in front. They were so sweet, giggly and chatted. I loved them. And asked about their dress. One told me they are FLDS. So later I asked the ranger about them. It is Fundamental Latter Day Saints, a polygamous group. Not a part of the official LDS group. The ranger has a contact with the St. George police, for those who want to leave the sect, they can provide safety and help find a job. Meanwhile their leader, Warren Jeffs, is serving a life sentence for marrying a 14-year old girl to a man more than twice her age. I have gone back shopping a couple of times because they are friendly and lovely. And of course, for a scoop of ice cream.
Today is my 72nd birthday and I am thrilled to get another year older. Hiking up to the petroglyphs on the Mansard Kanab trail in Arizona was a perfect way to greet my next year.
Today I am driving to the Grand Canyon in Arizona where I will be a Volunteer Ranger for SIX months.
Vincent wrote often to his brother, Theo, from his home in southern France. it is part of the Beyond Van Gough exhibit I saw in Portland, Oregon.
It looks s always good to be home again. This is my front door in October, I just love fall here.
The ride was along the Niagara River, flat, through some riverside parks and small neighborhoods. The Canadian Border was still closed, but I did take the Maid of the Mist boat ride to Horseshoe Falls. About 30 miles, and the next day I cycled to a motel near the Buffalo Airport and flew to Seattle in the morning. Had a lovely visit with my daughter and her family before taking the train home to Eugene, Oregon.