Tag Archives: Grand Canyon

The Tourist That Fell Over The Edge At The ‘Grand Canyon’, And Died, Could Very Well Have Been I!

by Anura Guruge


Click to access “Time” original.


Yes, I know. I get told off a LOT. Acadia, Canyon de Chelly, Yosemite, Grand Canyon … I always test the limits. I try to wear good shoes with GRIP. But, I have slipped more than once at Acadia!

My heart goes out to these folks. Yes, we do try to be careful.

Life is but an adventure ….


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by Anura Guruge


The Government Has To STOP Persecuting The Navajos At Canyon de Chelly!

by Anura Guruge


Click IMAGES to ENLARGE.


2015: Navajos permitted to sell on the pavement &
sell art featuring the local stone from the Canyon.


One of the paintings on stone shown above —
which we bought.

Notice the thickness of the stone.


Other example of paintings on stone.


The persecution of the Navajo at Canyon de Chelly by U.S. government authorities, now in the form of the National Park Service, is still happening — on an accelerating basis.

They are getting pushed around. The Navajo Nation is not doing much to protect them. They do not have the skills, experience & the resources to take on the Park Service. Plus, they are petrified of harassment at the personal-level. Being barred from access to the Canyon — chief among them.

It is true that they are no longer being shot, made to undergo ‘Long Walks’ or have their children forcefully send to Christian boarding schools. But, nonetheless, the persecution is cruel and hurtful.

Between our visit in April 2015 and our recent trip at the end of July, THREE very specific attacks have take place.

  1. Navajos can no longer display their wares for sale to the tourists on the ground or on tables. Their displayed good have to be on a parked vehicle. So, if they have a truck they can use the tailgate. Many do NOT have trucks. So, they put towels on the hood and trunk of their cars and display their wares that way.
     …..
  2. Navajos can no longer sell any art featuring stone from the Canyon. They have to use purchased slate.
    ……
  3. The Park Service is threatening to stop them living in the National Monument part of the Canyon.
    …..

This persecution in inane and very distressing.

In the end this is THEIR land. What is left of all the land that used to be theirs by right.

Having them sell their art and jewelry from the ground or tables did NO harm. They did NOT get in the way. This is not the Grand Canyon or Yosemite. The car parks are rarely packed. Plus the Navajos provide a VALUABLE service — since you will never find or see a Park Ranger on the Rims. The Navajos acts as FREE guides and narrators.

As for the stone … What can you say. Yes, I agree that nobody should be allowed to chisel any new stone from the Canyon. But, there are tons of stone lying around. And here is where it gets crazy and very frustrating. There are NO such restrictions re. stone at ‘Monument Valley‘ and that is Navajo land too. Difference, NO Park Service.

They say they want to build a pavilion in which the Navajo can sell their wares. They have one of those at ‘Monument Valley’. It is EMPTY!

Monument Valley. The EMPTY shops in the ‘pavillion’.

 


Related posts:
Search ‘Chelly’ & ‘Navajo’.


by Anura Guruge

The “Acadia National Park” Proposed Traffic Limitation Plan — The OFFICIAL YouTube Videos.

by Anura Guruge



These are ‘National Park Service‘ produced videos. I came across them thanks to Twitter. [As to why they split it into three, I do not know.]

Whether you had heard of the proposed ‘Acadia National Park‘ traffic limitation (in reality mitigation) plan or not, these videos are worth watching. They graphically illustrate the traffic problem that they are trying to deal with.

I can empathize though we typically manage to avoid the traffic.

As regulars here know, we try to make it to Acadia at least twice a year — and have already made one trip in 2018, i.e., in early March. We have visited 10-times since 2013.

We usually go in late June and early September — though we have also been there in July. The June and Sept. times we go are NOT peak-peak. Plus, I now know my way around, am familiar with the back routes and also know when the crowds will be.

I am also aware that Yosemite already has a similar reservation plan. I think that it is kind of inevitable. Maybe, as some had already feared a few years ago, the whole park may become BUS-ONLY (like the Western part of the Grand Canyon).

Not sure how they can partition the ‘Ocean Drive’ section of the ‘Loop Road‘ since it is a one-way.

I can’t say I am opposed to the need for some traffic regulation. But, I am hoping that it won’t impact me too greatly since I am willing to travel off-peak.

Anywho …

You should watch these videos. Well worth it. Well produced.


Related posts:
Category ‘Acadia’.


by Anura Guruge

National Parks 100th Birthday, i.e., Centennial, Is Just For The ‘Park Service’ — Not Any Famous Parks.

by Anura Guruge


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Click to access “National Park Service” (NPS) 100th Birthday celebration page. They do point out correctly that this is all about the August 25, 1916 CREATION of the ‘Park Service’.


And President Obama visited 2 National Parks
to mark the upcoming Centennial.

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Click image to access the original “Voice of America” coverage.


To be fair the National Park Service (NPS), in general, has done a good job pointing out that this 100th Birthday celebrations relate to the CREATION of the Park Service than any of the famous National Parks.

They do, however, as I have already pointed out subscribe to this — THOUGH that is wrong! Acadia only became a National Park in 1919.

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Here is an extract from an Excel spreadsheet I created on when the
current 59 National Parks were officially established.

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Notice that Yellowstone, the first Park to be established, is now 144 years old. Yosemite & Sequoia, both of which we visited in April, are 126s old.

Yes, there are 3 Parks turning 100 this year, but they are not ‘famous’.

2019 will be THE BANNER year — with the Grand Canyon, Zion and Acadia (again).


Related posts:
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Search ‘Parks’ for other related posts.
++++ Check ‘Acadia’ tab/page at top ↑ ↑ for lots of other posts & pictures. 


by Anura Guruge

U.S. Veterans — Shouldn’t They Have Unlimited FREE Admittance To All Our National Parks?

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
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I had never given this any thought until I got the following e-mail this morning.

Wow. U.S. Veterans do NOT automatically have unlimited FREE Admittance to all our National Parks?

Yes, I know that the National Parks need every cent they can get BUT wouldn’t this — i.e., FREE admittance for all veterans — be a GRAND gesture.

I know that Deanna has permanent free access to all the parks because she is officially disabled. So IF we can afford to do this for the disabled, and I know there are other categories that also get free or reduced access, why NOT the veterans. It would appear to be the LEAST we could do.

Look at the millions, if NOT Billions, being spent by the super rich to influence the elections. Couldn’t a few of them band together and give the National Parks $100 M a year (or more) and say this is to provide FREE access to all the veterans.

IF you like this idea run with it.

Here is the e-mail I received this morning — BECAUSE I am registered with ‘Grand Canyon National Park Lodges‘ as somebody who has stayed at the Park.


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Click to ENLARGE and read here.


Taking Selfies My Way.

‘Sandwich Fair’, Oct. 2015 — sunglass stall.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
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++++ Check Category ‘Six Images’ >>>>


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.

At ‘Sandwich Fair’, October 2015 (check post) in a mirror, mounted inside a horse harness, at ‘New Beginnings by Clara Sullivan’, by FAR my favorite stall. I must do a post on her work. I took a ton of pictures. The camera is my Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 and this was its first real outing.

October 22, 2015, my (new) refurbished Canon PowerShot G1 X, taken the second day I had it, using my bathroom mirror.

April 2015, at the ‘Grand Canyon’, Arizona, (check post), using the Canon Rebel T3i (which is now Devanee’s camera). I could NOT afford the fancy headgear though I really took a shine to it. It was SO ME.


Enjoy. Thank YOU.


I Can’t Afford The A7 RII Or Even The RX10 II, So Instead I Bought Sony (SNE) Stock.

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by Anura Guruge


Other Related posts:RX10M2_right_bgwh
** Sony’s
2 new cameras: A7 RII & RX10 II.

>> Search ‘camera’, ‘Panasonic’, ‘Canon’ & ‘Samsung’ for other related posts >>>>


Sony (SNE) stock price chart from “MarketWatch.com”. You could buy SNE on Friday, June 12, 2015 in the $30.40 range.



Both from Sony’s official Website at www.sony.net.


To say that I am drooling over the two new Sony cameras, the Alpha A7 RII and RX10 II, doesn’t even come close to the Siren Call exerted by them. I have, whenever I have a spare second, reading anything and everything I can about them, particularly the RX10 II. The RX10 II could be exactly what I want (if not need) though I will confess that the my latest research has also made me consider the Leica V-Lux which has twice the zoom. Plus a Leica! A magical name for those that really know their optics though you should all know by now my aversion for buying things overtly German.

The RX10 II would make me AGAIN reexamine all the profound camera-related decisions I made last Summer — when I decided after a 3 decade hiatus that it would be really nice to be a camera enthusiast again (though I sometimes regret it because I LOVED the freedom of enjoying and exploring a place, say the Grand Canyon, with Deanna taking all the pictures). Last August I started my new camera journey by buying a refurbished Nikon Coolpix L820, from BuyDig, for $139. I returned it within 24 hours, for a full refund, after taking these pictures at the 2014 Pittsfield, N.H. Balloon Festival. That is when I decided that I really needed to get a full-function, DSLR. So I got the refurbished Canon Rebel T3i from Canon. I think I paid $375 for it. The Canon has served me well BUT in the end it is a tad too ‘low-end’ for what I really would like and I will need to spend more money on lenses IF I am ever going to be happy with it. Plus Devanee thinks it is now HER camera. But, I am realistic enough to admit that interchangeable lens cameras are a PAIN. The April trip to Arizona, horseback riding in Canyon de Chelly and the recent hike up Mount Major, painfully demonstrated that I really do not enjoy lugging around a large camera with two lenses.

I basically want a good quality camera with 5 things: HIGH ISO (given that I do take a LOT of pictures at concerts (without a flash), exceptional image quality, superlative (accurate and fast) autofocus (because my eyes are no longer that good), a decent zoom (200mm) and the option to use Aperture-Priority and Shutter Speed-Priority photography. That is it. Video really isn’t that important though I will occasionally use it. Hence the appeal of the RX10 II — though I realize that it is first and foremost a 4K video camera that shoots still. The IRONY!

But while doing all my reading and research I stumbled upon something I did NOT know. Sony is the world’s largest (and preeminent) CMOS chip maker. These new cameras will make Sony’s CMOS Exmor chips even more attractive to other vendors. Of late, having got burnt (the second time around) with GoPro stock I have had some success with Ambarella (AMBA) & Cirrus Logic (CRUS) stock. SMILE. So much so that I am a believer in chip stocks — especially any chips that go into today’s phones, cameras and DRONES. So what the heck, I can’t afford the RX10 II, so I bought a few SNE shares. Knowing my luck SNE will probably now tank! That is the risk I take everyday. I wish there was a mechanism where I could be an anti-investor of myself, i.e., be able to take the opposite position to every investment move I make. So my anti-investor would short SNE to the same extent that I went long. My anti-investor could be a billionaire so is my skill and luck with stock! Hence why I can’t afford a RX10 II. OK, I don’t want anybody, starting with Deanna, trying to EXPLAIN to me that IF I hadn’t bought a MGB and two Jags — I might be able to afford a used RX 10 (Mk1). I need the Jags to get around in, now that we don’t have the KIA, and the MGB is Devanee’s


Four Impressive (3 Very Good Looking) Diné (Navajo) Folks From Our Stay In The Navajo Nation.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:Canyon de Chelly by Anura Guruge
a. Northern Arizona’s Top 5 
b.
Canyon de Chelly revisited, 2015.

c.
 Grand Canyon experience, 2013.

++++ Search on ‘Arizona‘ for some other posts >>>>


Click to ENLARGE.

[These are RESIZED 396 KB images.]

He was a vendor at ‘Four Corners’. We didn’t buy anything from him, but did so, from his niece, in the stall next door. As soon as I saw him I thought he looked like a movie star Navajo. He agreed, quite graciously, to be photographed. I think he has some classic features.

She worked as a cashier at the “Thunderbird Cafe”, at “Sacred Canyon Lodge”, Canyon de Chelly. I was struck by her looks. Alas most of the Navajo women do not look like this, So she stuck out even more. Even Deanna commented on how pretty she was. She too let me take her picture. She thought it was funny. But she also admitted that people would often comment on her looks. That is good.

Antonio Carroll, Canyon de Chelly — artist, raconteur and ambassador. We met him at the first outlook, on Day 1. He engaged us in a conversation as soon as we stepped out of the car. Very nice guy, very talented. There was no way Deanna was leaving without buying one of his pieces. We ended up with two because he took a liking to Deanna and gave her an offer that even I could not refuse.

Very nice, jewelry maker, who we met on our third day, while touring the northern rim of Canyon de Chelly. Yes, Deanna bought jewelry for herself and the girls from him. He insisted on having his picture taken with us.


The Diné. Lovely people. ‘Navajo’, as at least three of them pointed out to us, quite forcibly, is the ‘Spanish’ or ‘white’ name. They like to be called Diné.

I started spending time in the Indian reservations in Arizona from my very first visit in 1980. When I was 30 pounds heavier than I now am I looked like a Navajo. The first time I visited Canyon de Chelly, in 1986, the locals would often talk to me in Navajo and be surprised when I could not talk back.

Lovely people. I am very fond of them. Deanna took an instant shining to them. We spent a lot of time chatting with them on this trip. We gave rides, on two separate days, to two different female hitchhikers, one old, one young. They hitchhike a lot because many don’t own any transport. In the case of the latter we drove 22 miles out of our way! It was 2pm, it was hot and she was, at best, in her late teens. She didn’t say much. The older lady, a mother of eight, talked non-stop. Told us all sorts of things including stories about rattlers and how one of her sons got bitten by one on a fishing trip.

Just wanted to share these pictures with YOU. Enjoy.


Northern Arizona’s Top 5 Tourist Destinations.

Canyon de Chelly by Anura Guruge.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
a. Canyon de Chelly revisited, 2015.
b.
  Grand Canyon experience, 2013.

++++ Search on ‘Arizona‘ for some other posts >>>>


1. Petrified Forest National Park.
2. Canyon de Chelly National Monument.
3. Four Corners (Navajo) Monument.
4. Monument Valley (Navajo) Monument.
5. Grand Canyon National Park.

Click to ENLARGE.
[These are RESIZED 396 KB images.]

Petrified Forest, Monday, April 27, 2015.

Canyon de Chelly, Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

Four Corners, Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

Monument Valley, Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

Grand Canyon, Friday, May 1, 2015.


This was Devanee’s (14) trip and she wanted to go to Canyon de Chelly, Four Corners and Monument Valley. Petrified Forest, basically on the way to Canyon de Chelly, was a bonus. The Grand Canyon, which we had visited, for 4 days in 2013, was a surprise. I had it all planned but I never let on. Deanna and the kids had no idea until I pulled up at the entrance to the Park. They were delighted.

Though I had driven by it multiple times I had never been to the Petrified Forest National Park. Glad we went. Definitely worth going. We only spent 2 hours but saw most of the ‘landmark’ logs and sights. Got some great pictures.

We stayed at Canyon de Chelly, at the ‘Sacred Canyon Lodge‘ (née ‘Thunderbird Lodge‘), which is inside the ‘Park’, for 4 nights. That was our base for this trip. What can I say about Canyon de Chelly other than that it is my favorite place in the whole wide World! Canyon de Chelly is just magical.

I had never been to Four Corners and doubt whether I will ever go back. It really is in the middle of nowhere. Long, long drive through vast, barren, desolate landscape. I did NOT like it! The spot itself is hemmed in on all four sides by ‘cheap’ concrete vendor stalls — that look like bunkers. It makes the whole place feel cheap and tatty. ‘They’, the Navajo Nation, charges $20 entrance. I do NOT have a problem with that. I also have NO problem with them trying to sell their wares — and we, at various places, including Four Corners, bought a far amount of stuff (as is our wont). I am happy for the Navajo to make as much money as they can. They are entitled. I just wish that they had done this Monument with a bit more decorum and taste. C’est la vie. I will not hold it against them. They are entitled.

I have been to Monument Valley before; definitely once, possibly twice. The first time, in 1986, which was also when I discovered and fell in love with Canyon de Chelly, and I remember, vividly, that I was in a yellow rented Camaro — which was not the best car to drive through the sandy roads at the Valley. But I managed. This time, just because I knew we were going to visit Monument Valley, I rented a SUV — a Chevy Captiva (which was OK, but really was ‘gutless’). I would never buy ‘that’. It was way too underpowered and poorly-geared for my taste (and driving). Monument Valley is monumental. Striking. But it was PACKED. Liked going to Disney World — and this was still April, i.e., not prime season.

The Grand. It was at least my 8th or 9th trip. The second for Deanna and the kids. They just love the Grand. They were so excited, especially since it was a total surprise. The Grand is like no other. It is magnificent. As I was telling a Park Ranger, there were more people at any given stop (on the South Rim) than we encountered during a whole day at Canyon de Chelly. I don’t think we ever encountered more than 24 people at any one spot at de Chelly. Most of the time the car parks were empty or just had one or two Navajo vendors. That is very much a part of the attraction for me. The solitude and serenity. I gather it is ‘packed’ in June and July.

So that was our 5 days in Northern Arizona. 1,409 miles on the Chevy Captiva (from Enterprise), 2 hours on horseback and 4-5 miles of hiking.


Two bonus pictures.

The kids at Spider Rock lookout at sunset on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at Canyon de Chelly.

Anura Guruge April 2015 in his latest headgear.

I am always in the market for new headgear to cover my receding toupée. This might work. At the Grand Canyon.


‘Canyon de Chelly’, The Most Wonderful Place On Earth, Revisited.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
a.  Grand Canyon experience, 2013.

++++ Search on ‘Arizona‘ for some other posts >>>>


Click to ENLARGE.
[These are RESIZED 396 KB images.
I will post a few of the full-size 4.7MB images later.]

Copyright will be enforced.

Canyon de Chelly by Anura Guruge

Anura Guruge and family (4 of 6) at Canyon de Chelly in April 2015.


2 of 5 short, shaky YouTube videos.
Click to access.

Canyon de Chelly video on YouTube by Anura Guruge

horseriding in Canyon de Chelly video on YouTube by Anura Guruge


A montage of the 1,217 pictures taken with my Canon Rebel T3i on this 5 day trip to Arizona in April 2015. I, Anura Guruge, shot 96% of these. Devanee, who intends to acquire this camera soon, used it to take some pictures — though she shot some 600 pictures with her Android smartphone. Deanna took some pictures with this THOUGH she shot 1,640 images with her new Olympus ‘point-and-shoot’ I got her for this trip. Teischan shot quite a few pictures with the $39.90 Nikon S3600 which I bought on a whim in early April. So in total we shot about 4,000 pictures — 800 a day! The joys of digital photography! [I am going to put all 4,000 on one USB stick. Lot to do.]


I have maintained since 1986 [i.e., for 29 years] that Canyon de Chelly National Monument, in Chinle, Arizona, is hands-down my favorite place in the whole world — Fountains Abbey, in Yorkshire, my next. I fell in love with Canyon de Chelly at first sight. This was my 3rd trip and now, in total, I have spent over a week in this majestic, magical place. Just to put some perspective, I though not as widely travelled as some, have in reality bummed around the world more than most. I have lived in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), France, India, Britain (including Wales) and the U.S. and am no stranger to the Grand Canyon (at least x8), Yosemite, Monument Valley (x3), Hawaii (x4), Alaska, Florida (xn), Disney (x2), Blue Ridge (x7), Acadia (x3), San Francisco (xn), Salt Lake City (x3), Switzerland (x3), Italy (xn), Tunisia (x3), Philippines, Sweden (xn), Denmark, Holland, Maldive Islands (x2), Belgium, Spain, Andorra, Portugal etc. etc. So, when I say that Canyon de Chelly is my all time, hands down, favorite place in the world, it does have some gravitas.

Canyon de Chelly is all about synergy and serenity. It is the most serene place that I have ever encountered that, nonetheless, still has paved roads and modern, indoor plumbing. The Grand Canyon (which we also visited, as a bonus, on this trip) is, of course, Grander. So is Yosemite. But neither affords you the intimacy possible with de Chelly. Monument Valley (which we also visited) is now akin to Disney World in terms of the hustle and bustle. You can’t really step back and savor the delight. There is too many people milling around. At Canyon de Chelly, even today, you can, 80% of the time, have it ALL TO YOURSELF. That is magical. That is where the synergy kicks in. Yes, it has beauty and that is complemented with tranquility, history (and did I mention ALL the cliff dwellings), culture and some wonderful Diné (a.k.a. Navajo) people. There is nowhere like it — at least for me.

What was SPECIAL about this trip was that it was Devanee (14) who wanted to go visit Canyon de Chelly! Last year it was Disney, this year it was to be de Chelly and I was NOT the one who made the decision. Devanee has heard me wax lyrical about de Chelly. She also had taken a good look at a souvenir book that I must have bought during my 2001 trip. She loved the Grand Canyon in 2013 and now wanted to check out this other place that Dad claimed was his most favorite place.

It gets BETTER. Deanna and the kids loved it — from the start. Yes, that we, the two kids and I (with Deanna abstaining because of her back), got to go horseback riding, in the Canyon, to see the ‘First Ruin’, for 2 hours, with a genuine Diné elder, named ‘Gabriel’, was the icing on the cake. Just the four of us. Teischan (9), during that ride, said it was better than going to Disney — and we went to Disney on her behest. The kids want to GO BACK — pronto. They want to go back THIS YEAR. They are already working out when we could go. That, to I, is MAGIC. The kids loved it and these vacations are for them. Deanna nor the kids had any idea that I planned to take them to the Grand Canyon AGAIN on Friday — on the way back. Because I took the back roads and never mentioned ‘Grand’ they had NO IDEA that we were going there until I pulled up at the Entrance station! That was great. Deanna and the kids love the Grand and they were so happy and excited. I am glad. I am NOT sure how many times I have been to the Grand. It is at least 8 times. But, I love it too — though de Chelly always has precedent.

OK. Over the coming days I will sort out the pictures and post more. Think of this as just a preview.