Saturday, July 25, 2020

The New Normal & Surviving A 600 Foot Drop

July 25, 2020
   My view last night in the dining room of El Tovar.

   This was our official anniversary dinner and we had a grand time. Notice the social distancing. Basically every other table is empty and this has been true in all of the venues we have seen on our trip. Lots of other things have changed since March 13, probably for good, certainly for safety. Coffee makers in rooms. Gone. Available check-in terminals, cut in half.

Maswik Lodge check in spacing

   Notice the clever placement of the tape and poles narrowing the approach to a window with heavy plastic shielding between you and the desk clerk. So, instead of four windows to speed up check in, now there are only two. And here is the view going into the cafeteria at Maswik:

Spacing and Distance at the Grand Canyon

   They have an actual spacing bouncer during peak eating hours and he only allows a few at a time to enter. So, many commercial ventures have had to cut their available money makers in half. Which brings up a good question.

Just Who Is Making Out In This Pandemic?
   "We tried to buy a bike rack and the guy just laughed at us. 'Everyone is a cyclist now,' he told us. No bike racks, no trailer hitches, no campers, no campsite. But the Canyon is clear!"
—Deena Bell Bortscheller

   Other clear winners, besides grocery stores and liquor distributors: anyone who makes protective panels or barriers. Meanwhile, here's a guy who has been making out like a bandit for a very long time:

   On the very first day we were here, a big, fat raven showed up above our room. He walks down the roofline and peers over at each porch, looking for stray food. So we left out part of a banana yesterday and he jumped down and took a bite then left, in disgust. We have named him Craven The Raven.

   Reading the book, "Over The Edge: Death In Grand Canyon" by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers. It is compelling reading and they have done an exhaustive amount of work tabulating all of the deaths in the Canyon from accidental falls to suicides (one crazy dude, stole a car in Florida, drove to the Grand Canyon to end his life, got into a high speed chase with the Canyon police on New Year's Eve (2007) and jumped off a cliff at Thor's Overlook into the dark void and fell hundreds of feet in zero temperature. And lived!) I'll explain his crazy circumstances tomorrow.

   Now, here is a typical drop off. Do you think you would survive this fall?

No thanks.

"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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