December 16, 2008
The plan, as per usual, is to hammer across the plains and make it to the front range of the Rockies in 48 hours. That’s about as far as the real plan goes.
Getting to the bottom of the Grand Canyon seems like one of those “life list” things that I should do, and strangely enough haven’t done considering all the times I’ve been there. I don’t have any problem trading the insane summer temperatures on the canyon floor for a little winter snow up on the rim. I figure I’ll keep it simple and head down Bright Angel to the Phantom Ranch and back.
If I end up heading north through Denver rather than south through Colorado Springs I might swing by Rocky Mountain National Park and maybe trying to climb something big, or just head up and screw around on a glacier for a bit. That’s going to depend mostly on how gnarly the weather is when I get there and how quickly a flatlander like me can deal with the thin air. I have a feeling this may get bumped to the end of the trip after I’ve had more time to adjust to the altitude.
Colorado’s sand dunes also seem like an interesting place to stop on the way. It’s the wrong season to go there, but sand dunes covered in snow might be cool to see if I’m in the neighborhood. It would definitely make finding water easier. Maybe I’ll wander around the Mojave for a bit instead (I hear there’s a town out there named Zzyzx) or possibly back to Death Valley, which should be more bearable in the winter.
As for Yosemite and the Pacific, I’m not sure if I’m going to make it there this time around. The only way to get across the Sierras between Bakersfield and Sacramento is the Tioga Pass, and that doesn’t usually open for traffic until June. Unless I somehow end up way south or way north I’m just not going to be able to get the car across. Of course that doesn’t mean I can’t try to climb something on the eastern edge of the range. I’ve heard there’s a pretty awesome New Years party on the summit of Mt Whitney. Sounds like another thing for the life list.