Trip Start May 06, 2012
Trip End Oct 17, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Another weekend, another adventure. This time, after a relaxing Monday of easy hiking and a star party, I went to Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course with a group from the rec center to participate in some treetop action.

Going off my new map once more (great idea, right?), I decided to search for some abandoned mines marked near some trails in the woods near Hermit Road. Well, at least I hoped they were mines. The description in the legend for the symbol used on the map was "quarry, mine, mine ruins," so I was hoping for either of the latter two. I was, however, disappointed. The first symbol I found fairly easily, as the map showed a path leading off the main trail to it. The path turned out to be a gravel road leading to a work site. I assume it was a quarry, but I didn't really see anything that indicated work was actually being done there, just a mule corral, some porta-potties, a few picnic tables and some long tent-like shelters with more tables inside. No one was working there so I couldn't ask about it, and it was pretty uninteresting. I walked on.

There were two other symbols on the map I wanted to check out, both down the same section of trail connecting one part of Hermit Road to another, basically cutting off a big loop of the road. I walked to the trail and set off down it. These locations were harder to find because the map showed them just set off the trail a short distance in the woods, with no path or anything else to indicate where they were. I went to where I thought the first one might be, but instead of a mine I found what I believe to be a weather monitoring station. At least, there was a lot of odd looking scientific equipment set up with parts swiveling around and a couple metal towers with more equipment on top, and all the equipment had "property of the U.S. gov." stickers on it. I didn't know what any of it did and, once again, there was no one around even though there was this tiny trailer thing there as well (locked up, of course), so I wandered in the woods nearby for a bit looking for the mine or whatever it was and then continued down the trail.

I had even less luck finding the second site. As I went down the trail, I would duck into the woods on the south side of the trail when I saw a potential spot, like a wide space in the trees or something that looked like humans had put it there, like wood that looked like cross ties for a railroad track or some rebar. But I had no success at all, seeing nothing that looked remotely like a mine or any other building or work site or anything. The map showed a trail branching off north back to Hermit Road shortly after the mine symbol, so I planned on walking the trail until I hit that and then turning back and searching the area before it a bit more thoroughly, but apparently I completely missed the trail during one of my excursions into the woods, because I never saw it. I eventually came out of the woods all the way at Hermit's Rest, the last point on Hermit Road, and just took a shuttle bus back to the village. The hike wasn't a complete waste, though: it was a pretty pleasant walk, and on one of my wood wanderings, I found an elk antler just lying on the ground while I was following some elk tracks. I took it with me, and it is now decorating my cabin.

That night, as I was walking back to my cabin from the rec center, I ran into Lyndsi, Turgut and Bridgette heading in the opposite direction. They were going to this barbeque volleyball thing hosted by Search and Rescue or NPS or something (they weren't very clear themselves on what exactly it was), and they asked if I wanted to go. Always one for spontenaity, I said sure and tagged along. When we got there, it turned out it was this weekly get-together where people played volleyball and brought their own beer and something to throw on a grill. Most of the people there were Park Service employees, like rangers or interpreters, and there were few, if any, other Xanterra employees there other than the four of us. Still, I knew a couple people from around the park, and I was quickly introduced to the rest. We had a good time hanging out and playing some volleyball and ended up being there for a few hours (I missed a star party the rec center had planned at Hopi Point, but I wasn't too disappointed since I was having fun). I'll probably go back whenever I'm not doing stuff on Monday nights, especially since I normally have them off.

Tuesday was, as I said, Flagstaff Extreme! It's hard to type or say that without an exclamation point. It was fun, but I wouldn't call it extreme. There were four courses of progressive difficulty that took about three hours total to get through. It was fairly typical fare as far as ropes courses go: some plank bridges, some rope swings, some zip lines and more. I was disappointed by the last course, Black: the workers talked it up a lot, saying it was ridiculously hard and they were always having to go up and rescue people who couldn't complete it, etc., but when we got there, while it was more difficult than the other courses, it wasn't that hard, and it was also the shortest. Even the people in our group who had the most trouble with it said they were expecting something much harder, and I had about zero trouble with it. Not to say I'm this amazing ropes course expert (although I would say I'm better than average just from experience and other similar activities), but the rest of the group was saying that the mental aspect was as challenging as the physical, and there was no mental aspect for me. When I'm in a harness, I have no fear. I know I'm safe; why would I be afraid of heights or anything? I love stuff like bungee jumping and skydiving, so a ropes course that, at it's highest point, was 60 feet off the ground didn't present much stress for me. So in the end, I had fun, and it was well worth the price: they gave the rec center free passes, so all we had to pay was $15 for the van ride to Flagstaff and back. I don't know if I would pay the full price, about $45: I know I wouldn't pay to do it again, but I might have for the first time. And I think it would probably be worth it, especially for the length of all the courses together.
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sbarber on

Thought I'd break the monotony of "0 comments" by just letting you know I'm reading all your posts. And it's making me REALLY want to see the Grand Canyon. I've never been there.

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