Thursday, June 19, 2014

Have you hiked the Grand Canyon?

An email from a friend who wants to hike the Canyon has momentarily distracted me from my yard sale preparations.

I lived in "Flag" (Flagstaff) for two years around 1960 in a house across the street from Arizona State College. (Now Northern Arizona University.) The college had a sightseeing caravan for newcomers to acquaint them with local attractions: the San Francisco Peaks, scenic backdrop of the town; Oak Creek Canyon, with walls of evergreens and a road that leads to the red rock formations at Sedona; and Wupatki Indian ruins. But the highlight was the Grand Canyon.
     The view is splendid, truly awesome. Its immensity is breathtaking, the stark beauty beyond description. I had an irresistible desire to know the Canyon.
     I took some courses at the college and became acquainted with Roma Butchart and her husband, Dr. Harvey Butchart, chairman of the math department. It was well known that Harvey spent a lot of time in the Canyon, but that meant little to me aside from its being his "hobby."
     Not until many years later did I learn that Harvey's "hobby" had made him the recognized authority on the Canyon. The Park Service asked him to write the book on the Canyon. His detailed journals were the basis. "Butchart methods" now aid novices as well as veteran hikers.
     When Roma heard that I would move to California at the end of the school year, she offered to hike the Canyon with me, but she had one stipulation: "We must go before the end of April." She had "done" the Canyon six times already. Those who know never go to the bottom from May to October. Why? Because the temperature at the river is the same as that of Phoenix!
     Saturday would be the day. We'd go down the steeper Kaibab Trail and up Bright Angel, a gentler grade with covered rest stops and water fountains. The plan had to be reversed, however, because wild horses were being brought up Kaibab that morning. We descended Bright Angel, trekked along the muddy, swift flowing river, crossed the bridge that spans the river and headed for the Phantom Ranch. Roma figured a swim in the pool at the ranch would be refreshing before our ascent. Another change of plans. The pool had been drained for maintenance. So, after a short rest, we crossed the bridge again and headed for the Kaibab Trail.
     When we reached the rim, it was dark but the moon lighted the trail. Were we tired? Twenty miles in a day? Of course we were, but fatigue was a small payment for my treasured memories. What a simple means of gaining this rare experience--just agree on a date and go.

Now to my friend's email that inspire this reminscence. About a year ago, I read that the Canyon has become an international attraction drawing an unbelievable number of visitors. The Park Service had plans to review the matter. Here is my friend's message:

 I haven't hiked the G C yet....and I want to....but it's complicated! must have a reservation, and you must make it a year in advance...just a pipe dream at the moment.

I didn't realize how privileged I'd been. The world has changed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Have you ever moved?

I'm changing my lodgings. Exciting, right? Well, if you've ever moved you know excitement is only part of the deal. What also happens is facing the reality of your burden of stuff.
     True, I will have more room. But after a trip to my store room, I begin to wonder! As I start to take stock of all the stuff I've acquired, I'm shocked to realize how crammed my storage is with stuff. Where did all this come from?
     Where to begin? How will I judge what has value and what is a throw-away? There are things I've kept for ten or fifteen years but have never used. If I haven't used them for fifteen years, is there a  point in hanging on to them?
     Then there are the surprises--the "I didn't know I still had THAT" reaction. Boxes of supplies and instruction books for scrapbooking, for example. And here are the patterns and rolls of colorful jute I bought for the short-lived macramé craze. I can't see any future interest in either one of those crafts.
     Ah, yes. And here are the boxes that belong to Hazel who asked me to store them "just for NOW." She moved half way across the country. We keep in touch, but there is no hint of "please forward my stuff."
     And what's all this in the corner? Oh, yes, "generous" Linda knew I'd love to have several items she had to leave behind when she ran out of room in her rental truck. I admit I did want them at the time, but they sure slipped my mind. I never even got around to looking at them after stashing them in that corner.
     Ah, but a brilliant idea just came to me: Here is a great opportunity to pass on things to people for whom they'd be a perfect fit. The large linen table cloths I no longer need are just right for Regina, who often entertains. Here's a long-forgotten-but-still-valid gift certificate worth $15; fashionable Alice would enjoy using that. My fancy flower pots should go to Martha; my thumb is black, while Martha's provides a positive aura for plants to thrive.
     OK. That's a good start, I say as I pat myself on the back. That takes care of three items in my quest for perfect recipients. Now there are only--dozens more. This method is NOT the answer to getting rid of stuff. Uh-oh! I see the glimmer of a yard sale.   hmmmmm   That's a separate project in itself. But it gets rid of a lot more stuff all at once.
     So, I'll get the go-ahead for the sale. I'll print up some flyers announcing the event and search out willing folks to lend a hand. And I figure if the proceeds go to the charity that received the money we made on those Franciscan dolls, that will add interest and maybe inspire a few more eager buyers. Do you live near Claremont, CA? Get in touch through the comments below. I'll send you an email with the particulars.
     If you're wondering why I haven't posted anything about Chaucer lately, all of the above is my explanation. Wish me luck. I'll be back when I'm re-settled.
     In the meantime check out my website
You'll find a link to my YouTube presentation. There are naughty and nice papers I've written and connections for the Chaucer books to download. It's worth a look.