Sometimes the Scientist, Sometimes the Rat

Yesterday someone left an open bag of chips in the break room. According to the unspoken but universally understood rule, this means they're free for the taking, Other treats have been shared in this manner so precedence has been established.

So I grabbed a handful and went back to my desk. I was craving salt and the first chip hit the spot so I ate another. And a few more. But then I became aware of another flavor. Something was off with these chips. They tasted soothing akin to stale but different.

Then the red and green colors of the chips brought on an awful suspicion.

Walking back to the break room, the coloring and design of the bag elevated the suspicion to realization.



The date code confirmed the alarming and mildly disgusting truth: 12/28/11

They were beyond stale and left an icky aftertaste that only got worse.

OK, first, I'm an idiot for not immediately recognizing the red and green chips for their obvious associated holiday.

Second, who puts out a bag of Christmas chips in June?  Could this person really be guileless? This person really didn't notice the chips expired last year, or knew they were expired but thought people might enjoy them anyway? I began to suspect that someone was performing an experiment to see if engineers would eat any food left out. (The answer is, yes.)

Today a coworker went for the bag and I called his attention to the coloring. He asked, really? I nodded and told him to check the date code. He thanked me for the warning and threw them in the trash.

Having been the lab rat, I'm on the lookout for this evil scientist.

Hike Across Grand Canyon, Part 2

Leaving Phantom Ranch, two deer wandered along the trail ahead of us. They were as tame as dogs. Around a bend this third deer didn't care that we walked by so close we could have reached out and touched it.


A short distance further we crossed over the Colorado River on this suspension bridge.



Looking up the river with the suspension bridge in the foreground and second foot bridge (used mostly for the South Kaibab trail) in the background.



Looking down the Colorado. (To me the Vishnu Schist rock at the bottom of the canyon looks like the bowels of hell.)



It was past mid-day and quite hot so we took every opportunity to get wet. Here I am enjoying the first dunking.



Indian Garden was a welcome rest with shade, water and bathrooms. Only 4.9 miles to go.



Above Indian Garden looking back down the trail.



Then came the grueling part. Many, many switchbacks and hundreds of log steps.



 There are two rest stops, 3.0 and 1.5  miles from the rim. We stopped at both. I was getting tired.

But Mark seemed to be feeling fine, and annoyingly chipper, so we hid a rock in his pack that he discovered at the top.

Speak of the top, here's the rim:



We checked into the Yavapai Lodge, showered, went out for dinner then crashed. When I got out of bed in the morning my legs were so sore I almost fell down. I hobbled around like I was 80. I don't think I've ever been so sore.

Mark and I were taking the 1:30 PM shuttle so we had time to check out some of the viewpoints, like this:



The shuttle back to the North Rim took 5 hours, but went pretty quick. We loaded up the car and drove home, I arrived around 1 AM.

Hiking across the Grand Canyon was a good experience. I really liked the North Rim. It's a long hike, but worth doing. And now I've seen the Grand Canyon for the first time.

Hike Across Grand Canyon, Part 1

Last week I hike across the Grand Canyon, from the North Rim to the South Rim.

Mark and I drove down Thursday afternoon. We arrived just before dark, here's what the canyon looked like:



Mark's brother, Paul, drove in from Phoenix and arrived around midnight. We awoke at 4:30, packed up and started down the trail at 5:30 am. Here's the view from the top of the North Kaibab trail:



A little ways down three runners flew past us. Later we learned they were attempting to beat the rim-to-rim record of 3 hours 6 minutes. One of the three was the current record holder. (A new record was set.)

After over an hour of hiking there was still plenty of canyon below us.


Here's Mark and Paul going through the Supai Tunnel.



The trail is fantastic as it makes an improbable route through cliff bands and a very rugged and steep canyon.



The first bridge we crossed - took us from the left to right side of Bright Angel Canyon.



Still going down.  The trail hugs the base of the cliffs on the right.



Like this:



After passing Roaring Springs the canyon becomes a desert.



Ribbon Falls is a short side spur from the main trail and well worth seeing.



The canyon is open for a few miles after Cottonwood camp site then it narrows and meanders for a few miles:



And finally opens up at Phantom Ranch. We stopped for about an hour here to eat lunch, drink lemonade and rest our feet. The bottoms of my feet were tender and it felt really good to have my shoes off.  Even though I dreaded putting my shoes back on, my feet felt much better as we got hiking again.

Yes, it was hot at Phantom Ranch. I'm glad it was a relatively cool day, it had been 120 just a few days before.



Next post I'll talk about the hike up and out.