Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Buds in black" the Canyon rim. (Warning: image of "questionable" activity)

One of our newest "buds in black".
Following our short sojourn in the desert, our gracious hosts in Maricopa enthusiastically recommended that we make every effort to get to the Grand Canyon - the relatively short, overnight trip would be well worth the effort! This stunning work of nature is, after all, one of the "Seven Natural Wonders of the World". We knew this was good advice and so set off the next day for the drive north. 

As had been the experience with a friend, 41 years ago (while on a memorable road trip to California), Joan and I approached Flagstaff, in the northern part of the state - in a snow storm. Would access to the Grand Canyon be denied a second time? At close to 7000' in elevation, there's a reason this city, on the edge of the Colorado Plateau, can be cold and snowy in February. Luck was with us, however, the highway to the Canyon was open. Although still icy in places, the snow had been cleared quickly and efficiently.

After fuelling up in Williams, on historic Route 66, we headed up towards the park with the skies clearing and our sense of anticipation heightening. We were not disappointed.

My full-time "bud in black" and very best friend.
As I'm sure is the case with every single person who has ever gazed down, into, and across the vast canyon landscape, it is more than breathtaking. No photographic image could ever do the scene justice - so I've just included these few, including some of my favourite "people" in black.

Oh, you may think the top image is a bird? A raven perhaps? Well, you might be correct, but this marvellous creature acted a lot like a "person". He (she) walked around with us, chattered away to us, enjoyed the view with us, begged to share our sandwich with us, and then attempted to get into our borrowed van with us. Courteously denied entry, he (she) then called for "back up". A second individual, also "disguised" as a raven, arrived on the scene quickly. There was some initial "conversation" between the two, and we had a clear sense of the gist of it. They were discussing strategy. Also denied entry to the inside of the van, the second subject then attempted to delay our departure by removing the driver's side windshield wiper.

Sentry (on right) keeps watch while back up unit (left) checks his "six" 
before attempting to remove the wiper blade.
While this entertaining, but somewhat "questionable" activity was going on, I managed to gain access to the vehicle and slid behind the wheel. Our two "buds in black" then assumed new positions, one the left and the other on the right outside mirrors, staring wistfully inside at the two of we drove off. There being no "seat" belts on either mirror, they were both quickly and gracefully swept up and safely away by the slipstream! Heck, maybe we should have shared some lunch with these engaging characters!

More stories to tell, but perhaps another time. It is enough to say that this place surely is a "natural wonder of the world" - with some very engaging local personalities to meet and greet. :)



  1. I think your full-time bud in black looks much friendlier than those other two....glad you steered clear of them and didn't bring them back with you :)
    Looking forward to seeing more pics...amazing view.

  2. Thanks, Duncan for sharing your trip with us - amazing places you have been. "Blackie" has always been one of my favourite birds. - Sheila

  3. I really enjoyed reading your perspective on this beautiful place and look forward to the next episode. Who ever said those "buds in black" were dumb?

  4. I think they would have liked to have come back with us, L, probably even had current passports!

    They are amazing, birds, Sheila and just as much fun as the Canadian "whisky jacks" that used to accompany us on hikes and cross-country skiing in Banff - also loved to "share / snitch" lunch. :)

    You're right, J, they are pretty smart and they know how to work the visitors! Haha. It's an amazing landscape where you are. Thanks all, appreciate you checking in. Duncan.