Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Camera in the Wrong Hands

I have yet another confession for you. I am one of those people who likes to take group shots myself. You know, the ones where the faces all jumble up in the frame. Sometimes they come out cute:

Sometimes they come out really bad, like mrp's face is cut off and when it's not you can tell he's over the whole picture thing and then of course we're both squinting because I insisted we take our beautiful portrait with the intense morning sun in our face.

But that's beside the point.

Anyway, we left Vegas and headed out Rt 93. Along 93 happens to be the Hoover Dam.

We immediately noticed how low the water table in Lake Meade is. Oh, and of course how strinkingly beautiful it is too. Can't not mention that! Of course then we needed to do what all tourists do: prove we were there!

First mrp.

Then me.

Then mrp and me. How novel!

And here's a little of mrp's right brain porn: a shot of the under construction bridge for the under construction Rt 93 Hoover Dam bypass. After a few snapshots and ducking and weaving RV driving and tour bus riding tourists, we hit the road for the real prize. And after a lot of staring out the window looking for weird cacti, we finally made it. Unfortunately, it looked like this.

That's a real picture of the sky. Duh. We navigated through the dark and found our lodge. I told the lady at the desk we were there to check-in. She looked for my name and said I wasn't on the list of reservations. "Impossible!" I said as I whipped out my printout. She took a look at it and noted the reservation I made was for the preceding two days. Christ! Remember that thing I was telling you about problems with details. Well, there you go. Luckily they had rooms for our two nights and luckily the rest of the trip was going so smooth mrp and I thought it was freaking hilarious and laughed about it all the way up to the room.

In the morning, after a brief encounter with a lady elk (which is odd for some of us, Meghan).

Then finally mrp spied the Canyon!

I was a little more timid at first.

Note the bar. But then, I relaxed and posed (a little stiffly) seemingly at the edge of the precipice.

And once warmed up, mrp and I tackled quite a bit of the unpaved rim trail even in the snow.

And of course along the way we hammed it up with some buildings.

On our way out mrp and I got to talking about grade school social studies and about how we were both fascinated by the idea of a Painted Desert. We saw on a map in the lodge lobby that we were within 50 miles or so of the Painted Desert. We asked some kid who worked there about it (who was from Nebraska, according to his name tag). We asked him whether it would be a nice drive out to Tuba City. He replied, "I don't know why you'd want to do that. It's just desert." We were sold. And off we went.

About 10 miles outside of the park we came to a roadside scenic overlook. As we walked down we saw a sign that said "Watch for Snakes and Lizards." "Go stand by the sign so I can get a picture," I directed mrp.

As I was fumbling with the camera he gets all excited and says, "Hey, there's a lizard." And there you have it.

We headed off walking down a dusty desert path and climbed down some rocks and suddenly were overtaken by a canyon carved by the Little Colorado River. Beautiful! The Grand Canyon is so immense it is hard to mentally grasp. Perspective is all off and it is just this constant ruddy panorama. But this little canyon was so much more easily grasped that it made it almost equally stunning to us midwesterners.

And speaking of stunning:

Haha. We were the only one's there so I took the opportunity to release my inner cheesecake. And then we climbed back out and headed back to the car.

As we drove we found ourselves deeper and deeper into the Navajo Nation and the beautiful and constantly changing landscape of the Painted Desert. We stopped in Tuba City for cheese burgers (it was later on Sunday so other than fast food not much was open--no fry bread). We decided to keep on going for just a little longer. We headed out another 25 miles or so and it was just beautiful. We decided to turn off the road before turning around just to take in the sights. All of a sudden I noticed some movement off into the distance and then I realized what it was.

Wild mustangs headed our way! Ok, not wild mustangs, but running horses of any ilk are pretty cool.

And then we headed back to our National Park confines and into the sunset.


Meghan said...

Oooh! These are so fun! I wish they were bigger so we could see the deets!

No worries about getting the hotel dates screwed up. I do stuff like that all the time! I once missed my flight home from Hawaii because I was convinced it was at such-and-such a time, and it was really like 6 hours earlier. Whoops.

The first 6 pictures are funny. You're all, "I love taking a million pictures!" and mrp is all, "This was fun for like 4 frames." Cute!

The Grand Canyon looks, so, GRAND! Thanks for sharing!

(Thanks also for the article you linked to me. It's kind of funny. Spitzer linked with a scarab beetle. I chuckled!)

The Salty One said...

Sorry about the pic size. I thought you'd be able to click on them and at least make them a little bigger. It took me so long to get those up, but maybe I'll try to put some bigger ones up for at least some of the shots.

GP said...

What is it about the Southwest that always makes me think about elementary school social studies?

I know it's probably the first place I really learned about it; perhaps I'll shake the exclusive association with my own visit. I'm sure it's so much better than textbooks from the 1980s could ever explain.

Talk about beautiful. And I have to say, as a Web designer, I think your photo/essay layout is gorgeous. She can run and present!

Your self-portraits turned out fabulous. Mine always end up just being my cheek, the sky or someone else's forehead. And I rarely know hat someone else.

Joseph P. Wood said...

Poor MRP's head in the duo photos.

That said, being an Easterner, when I moved to Tucson and say much of the Southwest for 7 years, I was humbled. Time and again, I always asked myself, how the hell did this happen? It just defies human understanding. I always imagined Westerners who moved East must always feel so let down by the landscape.

The Painted Desert is wild. For that matter, most of the Navajo Res is: it's like stepping onto Mars, or how I'd imagine Mars would look.

You and MRP need to try that Rim-to-Rim race!!

The Salty One said...

Hey, those pics aren't bad considering he's almost a foot taller than me!

E-Speed said...

looks like you guys has a blast! How fun, and you guys are too adorable!

Miss Adventurous said...

Social Studies? I always think of science class... Land formations! Mesas and Plateaus!

When we were little I always associated YOU with social studies. No kidding. I think it was because you used to brag about knowing all the state capitals and stuff. And you taught me how to spell Mississippi.

The Salty One said...

I got my first C in social studies. Fourth grade, man. Was never my subject even though I always liked it.

Chelle said...

I got my first C in social studies too! In 6th grade I think...but the teacher was an evil woman. I know you're still out there Ms. Springborn, I haven't forgotten how you tortured me!

Mindi said...

Wow - looks like a great time! Thanks for sharing all the pics too!!