As I sit in my hotel room with my leg up, resting, I am finding it difficult to locate my inspiration to write. Hang on a few minutes and let’s see where this blog goes tonight.
I have turned the act of flying into my own personal physical endurance trials. Since I have been getting around well enough with my cane or one crutch, it never occurred to me to ask for wheelchair assistance when I checked in for my departing flight. I did not take into account the fact that mainland bound flights leave further down the terminal than my normal inter-island flights. By the time I hobbled up to my assigned gate I was drenched in sweat and I guarantee I looked like a hot mess. The flight attendants must’ve known what a disaster I was because at first sight they asked if I would like a wheelchair when we arrive in Las Vegas. I was so tired, I swallowed my pride and agreed without any argument and plopped down in my seat defeated.
Once I get on board a plane I try my best to block out the real world, the sneezers, the coughers and hackers, the crying babies, the seat-kickers, the lean-backers, the wide-hipped-bump-you-every-time-they-walk-by…the whole lot of diseased parasites, pardon me, passengers…I block them out and remain glued to my seat. My bladder can usually survive a five to six hour flight without any issues, but I’m always willing to push my body to its limits. I dozed off in the first few minutes of the flight (I was seriously pooped from my terminal walkabout) which was nice because I missed all the announcements and warnings about
crashes water landings.
Hawaiian Airlines now uses terminal one at McCarran International Airport. They used to use terminal two, which at times seemed closer to the Hoover Dam than to terminal one. As I was being wheeled through the spacious terminal I called the hotel for their complimentary shuttle and waited outside. As I waited I remembered why I no longer live in and around the surface of the Sun..my bad, Phoenix, as it is been known for awhile. “But it’s a dry heat,” kinda like sticking your head in a convection oven. I checked my eyebrows to make sure they were still there and while I was doing that my ass suddenly decided to turn into a sweat filled swamp.
I checked into the hotel just after 10PM Vegas time, set a wake up call for 4:30AM and called it a night. 4:30AM came awfully quick and I caught the shuttle to the rental car facility. I hoped in my Chevrolet Cruze and made a beeline to the nearest Super Wal-Mart to get a cooler, ice, water, fruit and breakfast treats. I made short work of my shopping list and was on the road towards Zion National Park as the sun was lighting up the sky.
I pushed myself fairly hard today at Zion. Using the complimentary tram or shuttle, I rode the first one I got on to the very end of the line. The hike there was a two-mile round trip called “The River Walk”. The trail was fairly flat, paved, with a thin layer of sand covering it in many areas. I took my time and got several stares as people passed me coming and going. One lady walked by, glanced back over her shoulder, gave me a thumbs-up and in broken English simply said, “respect.” I don’t mind when kids stare, but the adults make me wanna say something rude. There were a few hikers with prosthetic legs, so I figured I could hang with the big boys and finish the hike. The Virgin River was flowing fairly slowly and was a muddy brown the entire way. When you get to the end of the River Walk you have to option to get into the river and continue upstream to an area known as “The Narrows.” Unfortunately, I know my limitations well enough to realize that was not going to be a part of my adventurous day today. I’ve seen images from the Narrows and someday I will complete that hike.
After the River Walk I ambitiously decided to attack “Weeping Rock”. According to the guides, this was the easiest and shortest hikes in the park. Unfortunately for me it was a bit steeper than I am used to handling. I made it up to the wall, saw a mule deer stag in the process, but the way down my legs began to get a bit shaky. Nobody else seemed to feel any earthquakes, so I figured I was almost at my breaking point. I took the shuttle down to a museum located in the park and watched a 22 minute documentary on Zion while sitting with my leg up and enjoying the air conditioning.
The most prevalent wildlife in the park seems to be squirrels. I felt like Dug the Dog from the Pixar movie Up with all the bushy tailed rats running around…SQUIRREL! These were good size squirrels who had no fear of humans. Picture a small beaver, or if you live Hawaii, about the size of our rats. There are plenty of signs warning people not to feed the wildlife, as well as a few showing pictures of squirrel bites, but that did not prevent people from making the motion to the squirrels that they had something for them in their hands. Man, I was hoping to be a witness in a police report for a squirrel attack today.
I drove back to St. George and checked into my hotel. I washed the past two days of traveling off of me and had grand plans to find an out-of-the-way place for dinner. Instead I went across the parking lot to a Five Guys Burgers and Fries, where there were only four guys in the restaurant (myself and the three workers).
I had a few technical issues today regarding my camera and memory cards, but I hope to have that cleared up by tomorrow. In order to save weight on these hikes I bring the bare minimum which usually consists of my camera and one lens (already on). Since it always seems to be Murphy’s Law, I wish I had a different lens on or at least with me today to capture some of the wildlife I saw today. I guess that is something I have to come to terms with until I have two good feet under me.
Tomorrow I am headed to Bryce Canyon National Park and staying in Cedar City, Utah. I am expecting to walk a bit more in Bryce since they do not have a shuttle service, but the following day I plan to relax in beautiful Ogden, Utah before heading up to Yellowstone NP.
It feels good to just get in a car and drive. When your home is on a tropical island in the middle of the South Pacific one does not have the luxury of going too far or seeing unique roadside curiosities. I drove in three different states today and put a bit over 200 miles on the rental car. We’ll have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.