Musings of a roaming nature nerd

The Grand Canyon: Week Nine and Beyond…

Day 57: Into the canyon we go! One last weekend romance with our new found rocky, craggy love. Although mere miles from the Bright Angel, the terrain and landscape along the South Kaibab trail provided new perspectives and surprises around every bend. I found myself exclaiming cliches “It’s so amazing!” “We’re so lucky!” “Just look at the colors!” as if I had not been living here for the past two months. The fresh excitement of the experience reminded me of just how little I have really seen of this most magnificent place, and truly how lucky I am to be here at all.

 

Day 58: The Inner Canyon Rocks! (Click below and then click the link a second time in the next window, to watch a short video)

Inner Canyon

 

Day 59: Serenaded by canyon wrens as we walked, our ascent was long and hot and completely awesome. Condors soared high in the sky, ancient ruins hidden above ancient trails beckoned with mystery, and soon ten miles and 4400 feet disappeared behind our laughter and delight at spending another day in this place.

 

Day 60: Beginning of my last week on the job. Back into the distance learning studio to connect with schools around the country. I observed and practiced with my coworkers today, getting back into the groove of high-tech teaching!

 

Day 61: An early morning text from Jason “EVGR near the market!” made me drop everything and race off for some spontaneous birding. Evening Grosbeaks (EVGR) are birds I have been hoping to see since we arrived. Their fantastically brilliant yellow color, their ginormous bill, their gregarious, charismatic behavior and their yet to be explained population decline make these birds intriguing on many levels. Not only did I manage to see (though unfortunately not get great photos of) about a dozen Grosbeaks, but numerous other residents as well. Below is a Mountain Chickadee, Evening Grosbeak (female), Red-naped Sapsucker (female), and Pygmy Nuthatch.

 

Day 62: Back into the studio to connect with schools in North Carolina and on Long Island, NY (of all places!). This grant and donation funded set-up allows for hundreds of students to experience the magic of the canyon and gain important earth science knowledge each week. As much as I love the personal connection which only comes from classroom visits, the kids who join us over the internet are usually bubbling over with enthusiasm and are ready for a memorable and hopefully life-shaping experience!

 

 

Day 63: A farewell lunch and photo-op with my amazing coworkers! While the canyon itself has undoubtedly reached me on a very personal and (I almost hesitate to say it) perhaps even spiritual level, it is always the friends and community which will perhaps be missed the most. Not only have I rediscovered myself as an educator through the help of these wonderful people, but I feel that my life has been enriched through knowing each and every person in this photo. I can only hope that in a small way, the contribution I have made to the canyon and to this incredible team of people has a positive and lasting impact as well.

 

Day 64, 65, 66 and 67: As we packed and cleaned and shared meals with friends and hiked and laughed and bought a few souvenirs, our time began to run faster and faster. Despite the joy, each hour began to feel like a long, painful, drawn out good-bye. If there is nothing else I have discovered over the years, it is that while many aspects of the nomadic lifestyle satisfy me greatly, the transitions become ever more difficult. As I write this from our “new-old home” in hot, sunny southern California, I do realize that every place offers something special and unique and as for the Grand Canyon it is not “Good-bye” but just a simple “See ya later…”  So without dwelling on the bittersweet, I offer the last images from our last days.

 

 

 

 

One Response

  1. Dad

    Great pics as always… but then it’s a great subject, isn’t it? :-) Glad to see the studio shots. Very cool, especially the shot where you are waving at the kids and they are waving back on screen. The snow and mist picture is haunting The opening shot, breath-taking. So glad this all worked out well for both of you! Love you!

    March 17, 2013 at 6:33 am