Monday, October 5, 2015

Grand Canyon scenes

Some notable times at the Grand Canyon, starting with the lunar eclipse.  Now this is a neat place to watch a Harvest Blood Supermoon eclipse!  We even got a ranger talk out of it, and happily I was awake and walking (enough) after finishing the Stagecoach 100 earlier in the day to go see it.

The start of the eclipse in the eastern sky:

John set up his scope for better viewing:

Digi-scoping with the camera gave us a half-decent shot of the eclipse:

Digi-scoping with John's phone (I didn't even know that was possible) gave us a neat Blood Moon photo:

Then I went to sleep and didn't do anything memorable for a couple days... recovery time!

The next fun event was our 15 year wedding anniversary - 15 years already, how time flies when we're having such great adventures!

We started with a walk out to Shoshone Point, a lesser known spot not far to the east of the visitor center.  It's an easy walk up a dirt road, with the interesting effect of not being able to see the canyon until you are right at it.  Basically how people used to "discover" it, interesting to get a similar experience.

Here's the road, almost to the edge:

And then... there's this!  Can you imagine if you didn't know this was here?  I'm also enjoying seeing more parts of the canyon and from different angles, starting to see specific formations and appreciating different views.

Walking out to the point:

Shoe shot:

The next big adventure was a total splurge, something we almost never do, but it WAS our 15th anniversary, we were at the Grand Canyon (place of our honeymoon!), and once I had the idea I knew it had to be done.  And I managed to keep it a surprise until we were on our way to the airport!

We were about to follow the red line on the map...

... in a helicopter - yes!!

So excited!  Does it look like I'm about to pilot a helicopter?  We were completely lucky to draw the front seats (might have been related to weight distribution?) and that was even more amazing.

Getting ready to get off the ground, hey this thing can hover backwards, whoa...

We started out flying east from Tusayan, skimming the tops of the trees.  I was like a little kid pointing out where I had just run at the end of the Stagecoach race (the Coconino Wash and the Coconino Rim).

And then - are you ready?  Over the edge and suddenly we were suspended in space thousands of feet up.  Talk about dramatic.  Takes my breath away now just thinking about it.  I was so transfixed it took a few minutes to remember to take pictures.

I think John enjoyed it too:

Geology from the air - bends in the layers, super cool:


An even better shoe shot!

Coming up to the north rim:

Aspen patches:

More amazing sights as we started back south (eventually spotting the area where we had been backpacking the previous week):

I enjoyed watching the instrument panel and the pilot's feet working the controls.  The "height above the ground" map is the 2nd large display from the left, and it seems the color black indicates >500 ft, i.e. that's where the canyon drops off below us:

Too much fun:

Needing a bit of support while I recover from that amazing experience!

Thank you John for 15 incredible years!  Love you so much!

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