In May 2006, We flew to LA and drove a rented Chrysler PT Cruiser to the Grand Canyon. The little car had a tough time on the hills in Arizona, but that might have been because it was tuned for sea level and not for the 7000-foot plateau.

Here is a picture of Gail and Al at Mather Point, where we first arrived at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. You drive up from Williams, AZ, and this view is just steps away from the first parking area inside the park. Awesome! Here's another photo of us in front of the canyon. This is from a different location; I think it is Navaho Point. It was easy to ask people to take our photograph for us, and vice versa. People were there from all over the world... Italy, Germany, Israel, Japan, China, etc.
Gail and me at a lookout at Mather Point. A formation called Choeps Pyramid is to our left. Gail and me at a lookout at Navaho Point.

In this picture you can see all the way down to the river. The Colorado River is the little dark green splotch about halfway between the picture's center and its bottom. The dark grey rock between the river and the reddish formation is about 1000 feet tall.

The changing light conditions kept giving the canyon different appearances. This photo is from the late afternoon.
The Grand Canyon and the river at its bottom Grand Canyon shadows in the late afternoon
Gail and I did hike a little way down into the canyon. Here we are at Ooh! Aah! Point on the Kaibab Trail. It is a full day's hike to get to the bottom and another day's hike to get back to the rim. We were not sure our legs would hold out so we only took the 1.5 hour round trip to this point.

I thought maybe we could go on one of the mule trips into the canyon, but two-month advance planning was too little to get a reservation. Mule trips start taking reservations 18 months in advance.

After leaving the Grand Canyon, we stopped at an overlook for the Little Colorado River. The gorge was impressive, but no contest with the Grand Canyon.

View of the rim from the Kaibab Trail

Next, we visited ruins of Native American pueblos at Wupatki National Monument. This one sits on the rim of small box canyon and dates from around 1200 AD. Two neighboring pueblos are visible behind it. In Arizona, we saw a lot of interesting wildlife - California condors, a big horn sheep, mule deer, western blue birds, ravens, violet-green swallows, and this colorful little Collared Lizard at Wupatki.
Al at a ruined Indian pueblo from around 1200 AD Lizard with colorful collar

When we drove back to California, the temperature was about 109 deg F (43 C) going into Needles.

We went to my college reunion in Pasadena on Friday evening, attended a series of seminars for alumni on Saturday, and then attended an open house at the Jet Propulsion Lab on Sunday. It was quite a change going from Saturday's seminars, where the median age might have been 70, to the open house on Sunday, where the median age was more like 10.

At the end of our trip, we visited with Doug and his girl friend Lori at San Juan Capistrano. Here are the four of us in front of the ruins of the historic stone church at the mission at San Juan Capistrano. The mission was established in 1776, and the church was ruined by an earthquake in 1812.

Gail, Lori, Doug, and Al at San Juan Capistrano

Mission bells at San Juan Capistrano Al, Gail, and Douglas at Laguna Beach
Mission bells hung in alcoves of a wall

Back home again, I took the rest of the week off, doing things like putting this trip report together, while Gail is back to work preparing for the next session, which starts on Tuesday.

Responsible: Albert Holm
Created: 5/26/2006; Updated: 10/21/2018