Posts Tagged ‘canyon’

Time for bed in Somoto Canyon

31st August 2011 by Paul
Camp in Smoto Canyon

Camp in Somoto Canyon

There is no sensation of air at all.  It is utterly still and the temperature is the same as my body. It’s as if all the air has disappeared, the only clue that this is not the case is that I am still breathing.

I’m standing next to our truck, but its faint outline is only just distinguishable against the night sky. Overhead, the sky is ink black, and dotted with a billion stars winking against the thin smudge of the Milky Way.

As my eyes grow more accustomed to the dark, I can just make out the tops of the trees and the crests of the hills that surround us.   Beneath the ragged horizon there is the occasional blink of light as fireflies signal their presence to would-be mates.

But whilst the night is thin on visuals, it’s as if the volume has been turned up on our world.  All around me there is the rhythmic rasp of cicadas.  Occasionally a frog croaks somewhere off near the river, like a creaky door needing oil.  Moths and other unseen insects buzz around my head, attracted by my breath, their tinny sounds approaching and receding like tiny motorcycles buzzing by at high speed. 

Camp in Somoto Canyon

Camp in Somoto Canyon

We are camped at a fork in the river, and so from my left I can hear the gentle rippling sounds of slow moving water against the gentle banks, whilst from my right, there is a more hurried and unsettled rush of water foaming and boiling over small rapids.  Somewhere a fish breaks surface with a splash.

In the near distance a small herd of unseen cows are grazing, and I can just hear the feint rhythm of their chewing and the repetitive tearing of grass from its roots.  And closer, but still unseen, the hooves of a horse, or maybe two, slowly crunch their way to new grazing.  Far off,  a pair of dogs bark – a short lived exchange of aggression, which soon stills.

Suddenly a mule signals its presence in the canyon – its braying sounds like a bellows being worked hard with a rude leak.

I smile.

It’s time for bed in God’s country.

Staying on in Tucson

7th April 2011 by Helen
Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon

After a long weekend at the Overland Expo in Amado just south of Tucson we are currently staying in Tucson.  When we met Heath at Land Rover Marin, he was also there promoting his company rangeroverarmour, who fit luxury accessories to new Range Rovers.  Anyway, Heath kindly volunteered his parents to put us up for a few days and act as tour guides while we are in Arizona!  Fortunately, they were up for the offer and here we are.

Monday was a recovery day – chilling and hoovering some of the Arizona desert out of the car.

Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon

Tuesday Paul & Jean took us for a walk out to Sabino Canyon, where Paul & Jean explained some of the plants of the desert to us.  I learned why some of the sagauro cacti look so battered – woodpeckers make their nest in them!!  The buds are just coming out and the cacti will soon be in full bloom.  Such a rare sight in England where even one flower is celebrated as a miracle!! Paul also saw a real wild snake up close and we all saw a Gila Monster right beside the path.  Young fish were swimming in the little bit of water that is currently running through the canyon, but as the summer continues this water is likely to dry up leaving the fish with nowhere to go.  With the drying of the river the verdant scenery along it’s path will also go.  Much to our surpirse a lone duck was swimming around looking for a mate and food and finding neither.  It really was a very lovely place to go for a walk, although only early in the morning before the temperature gets too hot.

view of just a small part of the airplane boneyard

view of just a small part of the airplane boneyard

On Wednesday Paul & I took a tour of the Pima Air Museum and Airplane Boneyard.  Even though I don’t really understand mechanical stuff too well I’m still fascinated by it.  To me it’s just such an important part of the transformation of society that happened with the Industrial Revolution.  And at the human effort that went into much of the development, such as the millions of rivets in each plane, each one of them put in by hand by armies of women working in the factories.  All of the planes in the ‘boneyard’ fall into one of four categories – flyable storage (temporary for up to six months before going back into flying service), long term storage (may fly again one day), being slowly stripped for spare parts, or awaiting destruction.  Just about everything is recycled in some way and the ‘boneyard’ makes quite a good profit back for the military.  It was a fascinating trip and really good value.

On the way back we stopped off to pick up a new, donated, battery, as one of our original batteries is no longer holding a full charge since it went completely dead in freezing Montana!!  Much appreciated and a weight off our mind for the next part of the Americas leg.

Thursday was back to work again, with Paul getting some of those niggly little jobs done on the car, while I caught up with some more jobs on the laptop – boring stuff like getting the back ups done before we leave the US.

Grand Canyon

9th February 2011 by Helen
View into Grand Canyon

View into Grand Canyon

We’ve been staying at a campsite just outside Flagstaff for a couple of days – however today we took a drive up to the Grand Canyon.  We planned to stay there overnight and spend some more time walking around there but it was so cold (below freezing) even during the day, let alone the overnight forecast, we headed back down south to Flagstaff a bit quick.

We were amazed by the depth of the canyon but it was much  more commercial, even out of season, than where we had been driving already.  Without hiking down to the bottom and back (2-3 day hike) it’s not possible to get as close to the geology of the canyon as in either the Canyonlands or along the roads we had driven as we headed south between the Canyonlands and the Grand Canyon.  The result was that our earlier experiences had spoiled the Grand Canyon for us.  Along with the bitter cold!!