Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: Cameron to the Grand Canyon and on to Prescott

Musings about Geocaching

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cameron to the Grand Canyon and on to Prescott

My, what an adventurous day, starting with the fact that when I woke up, the previously-full parking lot was empty . . .

It seemed prudent to get out of there quickly, so I packed up my stuff and hit the highway well before dawn, snacking on some fruit as I drove down Highway 89 to AZ 64 towards the Grand Canyon. That side trip was another impulse decision. I drove right by that road last Spring, but today, I thought, "Why not?" and "When will I have this opportunity again?" As the sun came up, I was at a scenic overlook for the Little Colorado River canyon.

When I got to the the entrance to the Grand Canyon, it was still very early, too early for the rangers to check my pass. The light was beautiful, even if the visibility was not great. However, my pictures came out better than expected. If I had known that, I would have taken more during what turned out to be a quick visit to the park, starting at Desert View, the site of Mary Colter's wonderfully-compatible Watchtower.

After circling around the area where the lodge is located, and where the employees reside, in an effort to figure out how to get to the Virtual caches, I finally realized I would have to take a shuttle bus. The crowded parking lots and large numbers of people walking around in that section of the park overwhelmed me. Waiting around to take a crowded shuttle bus didn't fit with my mood, or my "schedule," so I started south towards Williams, AZ.

At Grand Canyon Village, I followed the arrow on my GPSr to the parking lot behind the National Geographic Information Center. I struck up a conversation with a young man heating water on his camp stove for some hot cocoa. When I told him I was hunting down a Geocache, he said, "I invented that." We talked for a while longer, sharing stories of the road since he was "car camping" like I was.

"Have you found the cache yet?" he asked. I said, "No." He asked, "Can I go with you?"

"Sure," I said, so we set off to walk the 300 feet to the cache. Under the trees my track to GZ was meandering. We arrived above GZ on a little rock outcrop. After turning over several rocks looking for a cache "Buried under rocks," according to the hint, I called it a DNF. It was a beautiful day, but I didn't want to spend any more time looking, at least not until I had my morning coffee.

After going inside the building and getting a cup of coffee, I walked back up the hill, this time by a much more direct route, and this time, I found the cache to the NE of GZ by about 20 feet. With that success, I wanted to share it with my new acquaintance. I wandered around the large building for a while before finding him. I said, "I found it." Of course, he wanted to see it. So, for the third time, I walked up the little hill. Good thing the cache was only a few hundred feet from the parking lot . . .

He signed the logbook as a "converted muggle." After talking some more, we set off separately down the highway. He was headed towards Sedona for some mountain biking, and me . . . well, I didn't know where I was going to land that day.

Before getting to the historic Route 66 town of Williams, I took a little hike around Kaibab Lake to find a classic ammo-can cache.

The walk was about half a mile from where I parked my car, and the last 300 feet to the cache was steep enough that the effort really got my heart pumping, something I needed after all the hours of sitting and driving over the past eleven days. Since the cache was supposed to have several TBs in it which weren't there, it didn't seem like a prudent place to leave the GJTB.

When I got to Williams, AZ, I drove up and down the 15-mph one-way streets taking in the sights along the old Route 66.

After spending some time there, getting the information for the "Eight Cribs" Virtual in town, and taking some pictures for potential Waymarks, I took off down Highway 89 toward Prescott, a town I drove through almost 19 years ago with three horses in my 18-foot-long horse trailer.

At that time, in my "other life," I was on my way to Wickenburg and the Wickenburg Inn guest ranch where I would spend the winter. Back then, I could still recite Gail Gardner's famous poem about the "Sierry Petes," the devil, and Whiskey Row, a poem I first heard recited on my 1985 trip to the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada.

On this trip to Prescott, I wanted to become more familiar with the town that has had a such colorful history.


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