Arizona: driving desert & hiking the Grand Canyon!

Trip Start Oct 30, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, July 8, 2011

The expression, "is it hot enough for you?" to Floridians, should be abolished, swat out as having any comparison to how hot it was in Arizona. 
Outside our car at the state's first gas station, surrounded by distant mountains (essentially thirsty rocks) and, pretty much just orange (everywhere below the sky), the sun reflected off the clay beneath our feet, turning an all natural environment into a blazing sauna. I couldn't be outside standing there for too long -- the sun stinging, sweltering my bare legs and beneath my sandals. 
How do people live in this heat??
Dry heat, this kind of heat, has no comparison in discomfort to the humidity we have in Florida. 
...Sayin' it.
Sat under a lone tree beside a panting dog while parents purchased drinks inside. He roamed the near empty parking lot, greeting each arriving guest as though they may have a treat (food or tender hand), before leading me back here with him. Couldn't imagine him living out here, wondering around all day in this white noise of sunlight and sweltering stale air. 
Arizona's beautiful, it was. But just before crossing the border in from New Mexico, our last stretch looked like everything I'd image Egypt would have if I were standing in the middle of one of their deserts (what I've seen from books and TV, of course). And this was Navajo land, keep in mind. Land Americans shuffled Native Americans onto, telling them, this is where your home will be now. 
Good luck with that.

Aside from a large hospital and a surrounding suburban town, bustling with neighborhood cars -- this one, single exception -- the land was generally scarce of life (you'd see reminents of broken beer bottles along the reservation's fences which the highway cut straight through), occasionally speckled with trailers often featuring a single tree specially aligned before it for shade.

This is when I became the most appreciative and thankful on my trip. I'm going to acknowledge this, because I believe it's too easy to be said (though I'm sorry if reading this you by some CRAZY chance live out there), but I'm lucky to have been born where I am, not out in some stretched out desert baking and wondering what there could be next to do with my life (knowing how restless I get, as there are only so many dry mountains to climb and dust cakes to make). 
You could have it a lot worse.      

We made it to the Grand Canyon just before sunset, taking a few pictures before promising to come back and spend the entire day there tomorrow. 
Here are many photos of that day, and the evening before, exploring the cliff sides by foot with just enough water and wonderfully cool and sturdy hats. 
Wish I could go hiking like that at least once a week. What tremendous, healthy exercise, and absolutely amazing views!

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