Week3 – Adventures While Heading Home

After the climbing out of the Grand Canyon, we had a day to do laundry and recuperate in Flagstaff. we took the opportunity to visit Wupakti National Monument nearby. We enjoyed some ancient native pueblos during the sunset hour.

The following day we had a long drive from Flagstaff, AZ to Joshua Tree National park in CA. The time in the park was wonderful we got to camp two nights in developed campgrounds next to wonderful enormous boulders and one night in the backcountry were we were all alone with the giant Joshua trees.

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Palm Springs is only an hour away (but 20 degrees warmer !!) from the park so we hopped over for a drink with my friend Renee.

We were on the way for meeting Rinat (also for a drink), and decided to take a slightly longer drive through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and peek at some giant trees.

We met Rinat at the Viansa Winery in Sonoma.  Scenery was beautiful and the wine tasty as well! My phone camera was in some rapid shot mode that  wish I could replicate as it created these amusing GIFs (double click the images to see the movement).

Our last stop before home was Crater Lake.

And 3 weeks and 4000 Miles:

It was dream trip  and now just about a month since we returned and the whole trip seems like a dream.

Week2 – The Grand Canyon

The main objective of the trip was to get to the Grand Canyon and backpack to the bottom (and back up :)).   I (Ofer) had never been to the GC and was looking forward to seeing it after hearing about it from others for years. As we got closer, I was worried that I could be disappointed due to the high expectations. I am happy to report that the worry was unfounded. The overall trip was all I hoped for. We ended up having the best of luck as you will read below.

To camp in the Grand Canyon, you need a backcountry permit which you need to apply for many months in advance or you can show up for “walk up permits” that are given first come first serve based on availability and may require waiting for a few days until you reach the top of the waiting-list.  We set out willing to wait as long as it would take to get the permit.

While we were driving south-east to the Grand Canyon, Jennifer’s niece India was driving west from New Orleans to meet us for a couple of days on the Rim.

We ended up very lucky with the weather. The day we arrived it was snowing hard until the afternoon, but cleared up towards evening – so we had a good time camping in the snow. The following day and a half were nice weather to tour the south rim of the canyon. We wanted to stay a couple of more nights at the campground, but were told that there was no availability, so we moved to the KOA Campground 40 miles south of the park and India set off back home. At the KOA we stayed in a cabin for two nights which was a stroke of luck as the following days were very windy, snowy and cold. The day we moved we got notice that we received the permit to go down just as the stretch of good weather began.

We did a four-day three night hike. One day to hike a down. A day of rest at the bottom and two days to hike back up. The rim was cold and icy, but the bottom is 15-20 degrees warmer.

We went down 7 miles and 4,700 ft. along the South Kaibab Trail down to Bright Angel Campground. Even though it was downhill, we were very tired and achy the following day and thankful for our day of rest.

On our rest day we walked along the Columbia in the morning and climbed up to Phantom Overlook for a sunset dinner.

Hiking up was broken into two sections each a little over 4 miles with a night at Indian Garden. The first day we climbed a little over 1500ft and the following 3000ft.



Week1 – Getting to the Grand Canyon

Our plan for the first day was to take it easy, only 4ish hours of driving. We arrived at  Emigrant Springs State Park only to be surprised that the ground was covered with snow. It was an easy decision to sleep in the Highlander . We had prepared for sleeping in the car and had purchased a nice folding mattress which we could also use inside the tent. In short we were glamping!!










In Idaho we visited Minidoka Relocation Center,  A WWII internment camp for Japanese Americans. Jennifer knew of this place through a friend whose parents were interned there.

As we progressed we saw more snow.

In Utah at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge we enjoyed the bird songs on the 12  mile auto-tour.

Bird sounds:


Utah brought a variety of weather and scenery:

We spent two days in Bryce Canon which is spectacular at this time of year when the scenery is accented with snow:

Did I mention we were glamping – fine cuisine:

It was so cold that the olive oil became solid and leftovers froze:

Southwest Trip – March/April 2021

Three weeks, 4,000 miles, 6 States, 7 National parks, temperatures ranging from the 20s to the 90’s  – what’s not to like?

The main goal was to get to hike the bottom of the Grand Canyon which we acheived, everything else was an extra – but we got lots of extras: met family and friends, all while staying Covid-19 safe – primarily camping.

I’ll split the trip and photos to into three, as the adventures were many.

WorldJam 45

I participated today in WorldJam, a live show put on by musicians from both sides of the Atlantic. This is my first foray into Pop music. I played on Hallelujah (38:32) and Silly Love Songs (47:05) as the show’s theme was Valentine’s Day. 

The show is put on weekly – it is an amazing live effort done by the community, behind the scenes are a variety of people working: sound and video engineers, backstage managers, a producer and director. Many of these folks also manage to perform on the show in addition to ‘working the show’.