How do they know?


Someone tell me how the dogs know that we're leaving. I mean, yeah, I know that they can tell from body language and all, but, to turn on the "Don't leave us!" cuteness? Gah, it's so painful to leave such cuteness.

On our way!


Okay, we're on our way!

This is the first vacation in a LONG time that's neither ultimate nor family required. I think our honeymoon was the last one of these kinds of trips we've taken, and we know how THAT one turned out (think "missed flights" and "birds pooping on me" and "bladder infections" and you'll be on your way to the joy of that trip).

We're off to raft down the Colorado River from the Bright Angel Trail to some place close to Lake Mead. I had done this trip ten years ago, with Mom and Eric and Guy and Guy's family. It was fun. I'm not 100% sure what possessed me to suggest it again, but a 10 year gap is long enough to have forgotten much of the adventure, and I wasn't writing at that point, so this'll be somewhat new to me. It'll be completely new to Kris and Andy.

In the car to the airport, I wondered out loud if I had enough memory for the camera, as well as enough batteries to make it through the whole trip. I have enough memory for 4700 pictures, and 4.5 batteries, all juiced up (the 0.5 comes from the crappy Lennar camera battery, which seems to last half as long as the Canon camera batteries do). When Andy's dad heard my lamentation, he commented I better start taking pictures.

Andy let him know I already had.

Morning orientation


Started today off at my brother's house. Well, I should say my sister-in-law's house, as she picked us up last night from the train station where the shuttle dropped us off. None of us particularly wanted to arrive at the hotel orientation point at 8:00 am and wait for four hours, so we ended up in a taxi (whose driver couldn't find the house and arrived 45 minutes late - good thing we weren't in a hurry). We still arrived early, so we decided to dump our packs (oh, could I have been any more nervous about that?) and head to the local convenience store for more sunscreen and possibly a second pair of glasses for Andy, who had broken the frames of his current glasses bending over to grab my backpack.

On our way back, we looked for a place for coffee, any coffee, for Kris. I was hoping that this might be a trip where Kris addresses his coffee addiction head on, the way I'm hoping to deal with my sugar cravings by taking a week off from them. My hopes were misplaced (clearly), as Kris definitely needed his caffeine this morning.

For the record, Kris says Wicked AZ has great coffee, if you're in the Flagstaff area. They also allow walk-ups in the drive-through, much to the amusements of the vehicle drivers behind us.

Orientation went smoothly. I was quite entertained by how much I began to recall of my previous trip during the orientation. I recalled the post-river ice cream stop, as well as the rough drive out off the Canyon off the river. I also recalled the nights in the cabins and the showers in the halls instead of the rooms from last time. I also recall staying at Indian Springs, and being thrilled about being able to stop there on the way down to the river.

We all introduced ourselves to the rest of our group. I was about to just start talking and talking and talking, but realized I needed to keep it short. I'm pretty sure I annoyed Kris and Andy when, after their introductions were each about 5 words long, I piped up, "Andy is a World Champion. Kris is a National Champion. I'll let you figure out in what."

Eh, it's not like it's not true.

Kris doesn't think anyone will figure out the "in what" part.

I have faith.

We're on our way up to the Rim now. I left my computer and my internet-enabled cell phone at my brother's house. I am both officially on vacation, and away from the Intarweb™ With that statement, I'd like to point out that Andy is still ON, and unable to give it up.

So, if anyone on Mischief thinks I'm obsessive about my internet connections, you should know that Andy's worse.

Kris is so excited


I think this may become my most favorite picture of Kris of all time.

Hair? Bah.


Ten years ago, I shaved my head. Well, ten years, one month, two days ago I had my hair cut really really short (number 1 guard, for those of the male persuasion who know what that means) at the barber shop at the Bright Angel Lodge located at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

I originally wanted to shave my head and walk the Great Wall of China when I was 29. The whole wall, all 2500 miles of it. Figuring it would take a couple years, I'd be back when my hair had grown out.

Why cut it in the first place?

Because I firmly believe everyone should see what her head looks like bald because she chooses to have no hair, rather than be forced to have no hair because of circumstances of life (same for 'his' and 'he', by the way. I just wanted to emphasize the girl part).

At the end of June ten years ago, I was going to raft down the Grand Canyon with Guy, Eric, Mom and Guy's family. I didn't have any important events coming up, such as weddings or presentations. Honestly, there wasn't any reason not to shave away.

So I did.

Wow, is it liberating to have no hair. Washing it is quick in the morning. No worry about styling it, it was already styled. AND no worries about having a bad hair day. They were all good hair days. My head also felt like Mr. Bauer's fuzzy head. Like that could be bad.

I have a picture around here somewhere that Guy took. It turned out pretty well.

Well, today, Kris, Andy and I are at the top of the Grand Canyon, at Bright Angel Lodge.

I think it's time to shave my head again.

GC Special


Oh, the irony is not lost on me today.

Andy showed me this:

Grand Canyon mug.

Made in China.

Butt Crack Rock


I dub thee "Butt Crack Rock."

Maybe "Cleavage Rock" would work, too.

Andy's first visit


So, I found out today (just this afternoon!) that Andy has never been to the Grand Canyon before. As someone who has been to the Grand Canyon what six? seven times? and hiked down at least three times (whoo, and medivac'd back out as the patient's watcher), I had to admit that Andy was going to have a fabulous first time down the Canyon.

Though, even with those seven times (six?), I've never been to the North Rim. I've been on the north side, but only on the river.

This is Kris and Andy way down on the trail. They said they'd be 100 yards down on the trail. They are over 575 steps down. Assuming 2.5 to 3 feet per step, and they were more than the 100 yards down on the trail.

WHAT? No barber?


Well, crap. Crap, crap, and phooey!

The barber that used to be at the Grand Canyon left "a few years back." She's not at the Bright Angel Lodge any longer. NOW what am I going to do?

Andy says it's fate. That I shouldn't shave (buzz?) my head. Of course, he said that just before offering to cut off all my hair with a 2" scissors.

I said no.

Attack of the 50 foot mouse


Kris, Andy and I were in our Bright Angel Lodge room tonight, starting to unwind. Non of us were particularly tired, it being only about 7:15 or so in the evening. We'll start hiking tomorrow morning at 4:30, and we've agreed to pick up Susan, a fellow traveller, from her room before heading over to the trailhead, which is all of a five minute walk away. The plan is to wake up at 4:00 am (I argued for 4:15, but both Andy and Kris said "No way."), get Susan at 4:20 am, and be at the trailhead on time.

If I'm getting up at 4:00 AM, I can state with certainty now that I won't be able to think clearly at that hour, and I had better pack my stuff up well tonight. I think "take off pajamas, put on hiking shorts, shoes, bra and shirt, brush teeth, pick up pack and walk out the door" is as much as I can expect myself to be able to do at 4:00 am on six hours (maybe, if I'm lucky) sleep.

So, I was packing up my stuff, when I saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. A blur moving very quickly. "Oh my god!" I cried out. "Did you see that?"

"See what?" either Andy or Kris asked. Andy had looked up, and where I was pointing, and had seen a bug (granted, a fairly large bug) flying around the general area where I was pointing. "Great," he thought (I know this, because he told me), "Kitt's afraid of bugs." I'm sure he was thinking I was going to be a PERFECT camping partner at this point.

"A mouse!" I cried out. "A mouse just ran under the dresser!"

Kris leaned over from where he sat on the bed, and looked at the dresser dubiously. He looked back up at me. "No. A mouse can't fit there."

I looked at the side of the dresser and saw a one inch gap between the dresser and the wall. "It did, too! I saw it!"

Neither of them believed me at this point. Andy had seen only a bug. Kris couldn't believe a mouse could fit in the gap. "Fine," I said. "Look under the dresser."

Kris grabbed his light, leaned down, and looked under the dresser.

"Oh my god!"

He jumped back and looked back at me. "There IS a mouse under there!"

"I told you!"

Andy didn't quite believe us and needed to see for himself. Sure enough, there was a mouse under the dresser, I hadn't been just "seeing things" and, hey, maybe I wouldn't be such a bad camping partner.

The next plan was to, of course, get the mouse out of the room before we went to bed. I had foodstuff in my pack, and it would simply suck to wake up to find the mouse had eaten through my pack on the way to the food.

Andy opened the door and the two of them readied to move the dresser. The dresser was pretty heavy, so it took both Andy and Kris to lift it. When they did lift it, the mouse shot out from under it.

Right under my bed.

None of us had seen the mouse go out the door, so we looked around for it, finally finding it under my bed. What proceeded next was fifteen minutes of barricade building and bed shifting and skreeching and general mayhem in the room. The mouse did NOT want to go outside, yet was as frightened of me as I was of it. Each time it ran near me, I squeeked, and it ran the other way. It managed to be under my bed, under Andy's bed, and back under the dresser several times, bypassing the door to the outside world each time.

To an outside party, the activity inside the room must have seemed hilarious, what with bed covers flying and mattresses upended and dressers tipped.

Canyon rules state that you're not supposed to disturb the wildlife. I'm really not sure what the rule is when the wildlife disturbs you.

Andy thought my little tormentor was cute. He wanted to name him. We bantered names around for a bit. Andy decided on "6116" (our room number). I decided "Scotch."

World, meet Scotch: