We stayed in Mammoth. This is good in some ways (like that it's in the park and near Mammoth), bad in others (like that it's a LONG way from the geyser basin). To make up for this - and my suspicion that even off-season, Yellowstone would be packed, I recommended waking up at 5 am. That way, we'd be at Old Faithful around dawn and could backtrack up the rest of the geyser basin over the course of the day, hopefully seeing most of the main attractions.
JT whined a bit (she is not a morning person), but decided that it was for the best, so long as she didn't have to drive. Anyway, I went to sleep just to be awakened at 5 am by JT and KW...who were both awake, perky, and fully dressed. Apparently they'd woken themselves up at 4:30 am. CRAZY!
Next up on my amazingly fun and extraordinary travels - Yellowstone!
Yellowstone started with a touch of drama. Originally JT and E were supposed to go. But then E couldn't, but B could. But then B dropped out (rather rudely really last minute - like, less than a month before hand, which is less than the cancellation period for the Yellowstone hotels). But then KW joined in, which is awesome, as KW is super athletic, perky, bright, and an all around amazing person, so I think it worked out for the best. (KP was also considering going super last minute, but couldn't make it.)
Anyway, the plan was that we'd drive over, spend three days there, then drive back. It's all rather condensed, especially as its a 12 hour drive from Seattle! Still, most amazing park In The World vs. a long drive? Yeah. I'll take it. ^_^
Before I left Zion, I checked out the "neary by attractions" board since, why not? Maybe there was something cool we could stop at. One, Valley of fire, was near Vegas (and on our way), and looked pretty cool. I mentioned it to E, who also liked the idea. But then, we made it by so late that it was closed.
The next morning, though, we woke up early. We had two choices for the morning. Explore Vegas or explore Valley of Fire. Guess which we chose? ^_^
After several days of hiking, E was quite worn down. I wasn't and really wanted to check out the signature hike of Zion - Angel's Landing! (Well, that or the Narrows, but the Narrows weren't exactly doable since snow melt off had massive flash flood warnings. So there.)
I had this fantasy of checking out Angel's Landing at dawn, so decided I'd wake up early, head out there, catch the morning light, then head back and have breakfast with E. We can all guess how well this went...
The nice part about the drive from the Grand Canyon to Zion is that it's almost all through national park. You head along the south rim, then wind further off until you cross Navajo Bridge (passing by Antelope Canyon and Lee's Ferry along the way). Then you're on the north rim and not far from Zion whatsoever. It's a very scenic drive.
E is hanging out at one of the many stops along the way.
Anyway, let it never be known that I'm sane. Or sensible. Or any of these things. Ahem. E and I decided that we'd do the grand tour from South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel trail head. Because we're crazy like foxes. Or, um, people who randomly jump off buildings for no reason. Your choice.
(I advised getting cool scarves before the descent, because you just never know how hot the canyon will be. I swear, not a double entendre. Anyway, my Mom - mistress of desert hiking - recommended that we soak them over night. We did and...woah were those scarves erect! It's amazing what you find hilarious at 3:45 in the morning as you get ready to get on a bus to get to a trail head to hike. Just, um, saying.) ( Collapse )
After getting into Vegas the night before, E and I woke up very early to buy groceries and make it out to the Grand Canyon. The drive was typical desert loveliness (I think I liked it better than E, although he got to appreciate it towards the end), but nothing too spectacular. It took about four hours, but after that, we made it to the Grand Canyon, parked, and went out to have lunch at Maher point.
So the REI garage sale was today! I hit Redmond first and was pretty disappointed. There were some crappy chairs, some sleeping pads that weren't especially discounted, and other junk I didn't want. I looked at it all, decided no, and was about to leave when I passed by the bikes. I've been wanting a bike for a while. Probably not an REI quality bike (more a beater that I could ride to and from work, or around town if I felt so inclined), but eh, I was here...
As it was, there just happened to be a returned bike for $300 (what I was looking to spend), marked down from $700. I did a test ride and it handled like a dream so...eh, I guess why not? I mean, I wanted a $300 bike...why not get a *really awesome* $300 bike?
Met up with J later in the day to hit the Seattle garage sale. My hopes were none too high. There wasn't much in Redmond...then again, Seattle was the flagship.
J showed up just before I was let in. The place was picked pretty clean, but there were still Nordic skis (my preferred type to buy, since honestly, I kind of prefer Nordic to alpine) as well as boots. I got a set for $100...which is pretty good since rental is like $50/trip. (And buying the whole set new would be more like $400, I think.) J found nothing other than a pair of gloves, which kind of sucked for him.
And yes, I am slowly becoming the little old lady who endlessly searches for sales, but eh. Almost 40. Gotta go with what I've got.
I am worried that I'm allergic to my new pet. Yesterday my eyes were red and itchy. I didn't worry much about it, since eh...whatever. But now it's up to two days and I'm hoping that my adorable new friend isn't the culprit, but it seems plausible he is.
As far as updates, he's now willing to leave his corner and run around the cage, so that's good. I've also observed him eating his hay (not his food, which is on the higher level) and drinking water, so I guess the hunger strike has ended. He still races away when I open the door and cowers from me, but I guess some progress is progress. (And he is adorable when he looks up at me expectantly. Yes, yes, I know he's probably expecting me to eat him, but it's still pretty cute.)
I still haven't named the guy. I'm considering "Boo" (from Minsk and Boo), because it would be pretty hilarious to call him a miniature giant space hamster (even if he's a guinea pig...) and scream, "Go for the eyes, Boo!" from time to time. But we'll see if something better comes to mind. We'll also see if I'm allergic to him. If I am, I may have to give him away, which would suck, but will suck less if I give him away in the next few weeks than it would if I get rid of him after bonding to the guy.